A hug costs nothing and makes those who give it and those who receive it feel good. The simplest gesture to express affection, sadness, gratitude, which we have been depriving ourselves of for too long, would have a beneficial effect on health. When we can go back to hugging each other, however, we will know how to do it best.
Back to hug, in safety
In fact, what is the hug that gives more pleasure to those who receive it without embarrassing them? According to researchers from the University of London – that’s about Acta Psycologica two studies conducted both in the laboratory and in the natural environment have dedicated to the subject – the perfect one lasts between 5 and 10 seconds and is the one in which one of the two puts an arm on his shoulder, while the other passes an arm under his. A sort of crossing of the arms, considered “more egalitarian and positive than hugs around the neck or around the waist”.
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by Fiammetta Cupellaro
Today more than ever we have understood how much physical contact and affection can be good for our morale and our physical and mental health. To the point that during the first and second wave of the pandemic due to Covid 19, real hug rooms were set up in some homes for the elderly and in some hospitals in which family members could hug, even if through an anti-plastic sheet. -contagion, loved ones. Indeed, according to researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the Hug Therapy or hug therapy, it helps to overcome anxiety, depression and stress, also helping to make us mentally stronger and happier. “This is one of the most common types of emotional contact found in everyday life. However, little is known about the factors that influence hug assessment and behavior. physical contact can provide emotional support and could act as a stress pad. “
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In fact, studies at the University of London have found that frequent hugging is associated with a decrease in physiological measures of stress, such as lower blood pressure, lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines, or better system response. immune. Thus, this latest study sought to understand in two separate experiments how the emotions aroused by the hug are influenced by the duration of the gesture and the type of ‘grip’.
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From the tests conducted on 150 students, the duration seemed to be the factor that most affects the ability of the hug to arouse emotions, with a fleeting hug, up to 1 second, almost completely ineffective and those between 5 and 10 seconds that reach the maximum pleasure. All this considering that a medium hug (like the one that athletes exchange on the pitch) lasts about 3 seconds.
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As for the grips (the experiment involved 206 people aged between 18 and 43 years subjected to three types of grips) the cross hug proved to be more intense than the one in which both arms are carried around the neck or waist. In fact, the study found that this type of embrace (on which neither emotional closeness nor height difference seems to affect) is the one preferred by males. “Our results – the British researchers write – align with previous studies that reported gender effects on hugs. In practice, males hug each other differently than females”. They consider that kind of closeness less intimate.
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An important gesture but often neglected by adults even in the family environment, while hugs, for example, would stimulate the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of children. The British researchers again write in their study: “Based on our results, we recommend using a 5-second cross hug to model a familiar and enjoyable type of experience.” Not only that, this discovery suggests future research. “While our work says that both 5-second and 10-second hugs are equally enjoyable, 5-second hugs are preferred whenever researchers want to induce a common tactile experience.”