Happy National Hugging Day! Today is a day that honors and promotes sharing hugs — a snuggle, a cuddle or “squeezie,” as we call them in our family. At Pouchie Pals we celebrate this small act of embracing every day knowing that one simple hug can change your mood, raise your spirits and make you feel loved.
Why is this small gesture so powerful?
There is true science behind the power of a hug. Research has shown that social connectedness results in lower mortality rates and has many other health benefits. Hugs specifically have been researched and shown to:
Relieve stress for both the giver and receiver of the hug
Alleviate fears such as worries about death, even if the cuddle is with a Teddy Bear!
Reduce the levels of cortisol (“stress hormone”) in our bodies, release tension and send “calming messages to the brain”
Release the chemical oxytocin, which is also nicknamed the "cuddle hormone", as it increases our trust and bonding behaviors with one another
My family witnessed the “healing power of touch” first-hand. When my son was born early, we spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital. I was encouraged to cuddle with him and hold ("hug") him, as much as possible even though he was being closely monitored. We were told it would help him feel comforted, facilitate feedings and possibly even help us bring him home sooner.
I will never forget holding my new baby and realizing how lucky we were since so many of the tiny babies in the NICU would be there for weeks or months and their parents would be unable to come regularly because of work, illness, distance, etc. But, I also remember seeing and admiring the volunteers, who had been trained for the sole purpose of helping to soothe those premature babies. “Volunteer Cuddlers,” they were called. These specially designed programs in NICU’s at many leading hospitals are based on the research and premise that touch is incredibly important in the early stages of life and can lead to improved vital signs, increased pain tolerance, weight gain and in the case of babies in a NICU, possibly earlier discharge home.
I continue to be amazed at what a simple hug can do!
As my children have grown, we’ve found that the power of the hug as “medicine” — to help heal bumps and bruises, belly aches, bad moods, and hard days — is undeniable. We use this kind of “medicine” on a daily basis.
Our Pouchie Pals’ gift box is aptly nicknamed the “Hug in a Box” precisely for this reason. It is the closest we have come to boxing up the power of a loved one’s embrace with added benefit of enhanced soothing from the Pals. It’s the perfect long-lasting get-well or feel-good gift for every child. On National Hugging Day (and every day!) we encourage you to give your children extra hugs and to extend your embrace with Pouchie Pals.