A hug is a form of affection, universal in human communities, in which at least two individuals put their arms around the neck, back, or the waist of each other and holds each other intently.
Physically, hugs relax your muscles and release tension in your neck and shoulders. Mentally, it gives you peace and is like taking a big, deep breath for your well-being.
Scientists from Japan’s Toho University have analyzed what makes the perfect cuddle. Scientists measured the calming impact on infants of hugs of different pressures, and when given by outsiders contrasted with from parents.
By monitoring heart rates for the infant and using pressure sensors on the adult’s hand, the researchers assessed the baby’s reaction to just being held, a hug with medium pressure, and what they called a tight hug. The results suggest that babies were soothed more by a medium-pressure hug than just being held, but the calming effect decreased during a “tight” hug.
Scientists kept the length of the hug to 20 seconds as “it was almost impossible to avoid an infant’s bad mood during a one-minute or longer hold or hug.
Perhaps, for babies older than 125 days, the calming impact was more prominent while accepting an embrace from a parent than from a female stranger.
So, the perfect hug is considered to be medium pressure from a parent, the scientists believe. The infants are not the only ones who feel the benefits of a comforting hug, but parents also exhibited significant signs of calmness while hugging their child.
Scientists said, “It is known that a hormone called oxytocin, sometimes known as the “love hormone,” is released during close physical contact. The time period of their hug experiment was too short for this to play a role.”
This is the first study that measures the physiological impact of hugging infants, Scientists believe that their work should advance knowledge of parent-child bonding and child psychology.
The results of the study are to be published in the journal Cell.