The power of touch. Affection in a relationship isn't only good for the unit its also good for your health. So how often should you hug and kiss?
There’s actually a formula for that, devised by Psychotherapist Virginia Satir: "We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth."
This is because when you hug or are hugged, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which reduces cortisol (the hormone released when we are stressed). In short, the more oxytocin you have, the better you can handle the stresses of life.
One study found that after men are hugged, they have lower blood pressure, and other studies have proved that a 10-second hug will not only reduce stress, but boost your immune system, fight fatigue and infections, and ease depression.
Hugging a dog or cat can induce the same benefits if you’re single.
When it comes to kissing, Duke Warren says you need to kiss your partner every day for maximum relationship benefits, and three of those kisses need to be an extended passionate kiss. Researchers have found that seven seconds is optimal kissing time for a healthy relationship.
Children who are deprived of hugs face learning difficulties, and scientists believe this is because touch has a positive effect on a child’s development and IQ. Premature babies who are regularly touched fare better than those who aren’t, and cuddling aids in a child’s self esteem and their ability to project self-love as an adult. Why? Touch as a child makes us feel special and loved, and those associations are imprinted on to us at a cellular level. So when we’re touched as adults, those “cell memories” are stimulated and our sense of self-worth elevated.