As in the mind, so in the body as recent medical research at University of North Carolina found that both blood pressure and levels of Cortisol, the hormone produced when we’re under stress, were significantly lowered (particularly in women) when subjects hugged their partners for at least twenty seconds. Another study that took place in 2000 showed that hugging babies while they were given blood tests made them cry less and kept their heart rates steadier. Other studies suggest a strong link between increased hugs and lower risk of heart disease.
In addition to the clear health benefits, hugging also provides a window into the health of your relationship and offers an easy way to improve it. Hugging Until Relaxed is a therapeutic technique that encourages partners to hold each other while in a standing hug. Ultimately, both partners find stability and comfort in the embrace by achieving equilibrium of balance and closeness while holding each other. This technique, introduced by David Schnarch in Passionate Marriage, allows both partners to open up to a deeply intimate space where both are held and fully relaxed. This technique generally translates into better overall communication and more passionate intimacy. Opening up to being held is a powerful metaphor. A relaxed and full embrace allows us to feel and connect bodies in a way that literally couples us.