The Hugs they are so important that science has already studied them for various reasons. For example, the characteristics of a perfect hug have been analyzed. Or its benefits. Because yes, although it may not seem like it, hugging someone you love can be very beneficial in certain circumstances. So much so that, according to a study recently published in PLOS ONEthe hug with a loving couple could significantly reduce the stress generated by a subsequent situation. Yes, this effect only seen in women.
Although similar research has been done previously, how a hug affects men’s stress has never been studied. Therefore, in this case the scientists of the Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) took into account people of both genders within a love relationship.
The situation used to measure stress was totally forced in the laboratory. However, the authors of the study believe that it could be extrapolated to more everyday scenarios. Therefore, for some women it might be beneficial to give their partner a hug before exams, important meetings or job interviews.
The importance of hugging to reduce stress
A total of 76 people immersed in romantic relationships. The couples were divided into two groups that had to undergo the same test of stress induction. This consisted of put your hand in a bath of ice water for three minutes, with a camera fixed on his gaze at all times.
The couples were divided into two groups, one in which they were advised to hug each other before the test and one in which they did nothing. In addition, all of them were sampled for saliva before and after. The objective was to measure in it the cortisol levels, a hormone that is closely related to stress. The more stress, the more cortisol and vice versa.
It was observed that women who hugged their partners had a cortisol increase after the test much less pronounced than that of those who did not. That meant they had been less stressed about the test. However, in men the levels were equivalent.
Regarding other parameters associated with stress, such as blood pressure, there were no significant changes in any gender. Still, the fact that the difference in cortisol was so significant indicates that the hug was positively affecting these women.
Is it only valid for loving couples?
It is important to note that this study was carried out with few participants, so it would be appropriate to repeat it with more people. In addition, it has been done with romantic couples, but should be studied with other types of relations. The authors in a statement mention the possibility of obtaining the same results with “platonic love”.
But it could also be observed what happens with the hugs between people loved by non-romantic motifs. Just in case, before a stressful situation, try hugging the closest person you love. Obviously, a hug cannot cure depression or generalized stress disorder. Let’s not fall into the pseudoscientific approach of looking for healing qualities in hugs. But they could help us de-stress on time.
Even if you’re a man, you may appreciate that hug before a stressful situation. Hugs between people who love each other are always positive, even if there is no romantic love between them. And the truth is that no scientific study is needed to corroborate this.