How many hugs do you share a day?

We all know that giving or receiving a hug feels good. Whether its for a hello, goodbye or an “I love you”.

Most of us have heard the quote by the  psychotherapist Virginia Satir that says, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

So how many do you give or receive? Children? Friends? Family? Pet?

With children we often give them throughout the day – before school, at drop off, at collection, bedtime. Children can also spontaneously give you hugs – which is a most wonderful thing. Maybe they can sense we low on hugs for survival!

If you did baby massage or story massage, then you’ll know that the feel good hormone oxytocin is released though touch for both the baby/child and parent or carer. A perfect bonding opportunity where both have the “love” hormone flowing in their own bodies, building on the positive caring bonding.

The power of touch is expanded when it becomes a hug. The average hug is thought to be just 3 seconds. But the best hugs are 20 seconds, this is the time it takes the oxytocin to be released and start pumping through the bodies and for its therapeutic value to be fully felt. Oxytocin is a positive hormone for the mind and body, it reduces stress, reduces anxiety, brings calm to the mind and body,to feel cared for and possibly loved.

When Oxytocin is released by the pituitary gland, our heart rate slows and the stress hormone cortisol is no reduced (stress hormone, blood pressure & eases the heart).

Another hormone that is released through hugs is dopamine. This hormone is a pleasure hormone and can bring a sense of motivation, positive sensations. A low dopamine can affect us with mood swings, depression and also neurological conditions.

Seratonin and endorphins are also hormones released through hugs.They also create a positive sensation, which can lift sensations of pain and sadness.

All these positive hormones have a wonderful lifting effect on the body – moving us closer to happiness from sadness, pain or stress.

So how many hugs do you have a day? How many do your children?

Ways to include more touch:

  • Holding hands (my 10 yo son won’t hold my hand into school but will on the way out!)
  • Do a story massage on your child’s back – a nursery rhyme is perfect – or see my videos
  • Apply essential oils to feet at bedtime
  • Cuddles when reading books together
  • Don’t limit them to “hug and make up”
  • Spontaneous hugs to your child (they will start to reciprocate at the right time for you!)
  • Show by example – hug your partner when they come home, or when you see them first thing in the morning. If you won’t hug your parents/ inlaws then why do you think the kids will voluntarily hug their grandparents?!

Here is a story massage video: