Why a hug is better than medicine

A hug from a friend 'really can heal', scientists find

When we’re not feeling our best, there’s nothing like a big hug to make us feel better.

Now scientists say there is a good reason why.

Swedish research has found that our skin is teeming with nerve fibres that spring into action when we are cuddled, stroked or gently touched.

They transmit the information back to the brain’s emotional receptors, creating feelings of pleasure and stopping other fibres from delivering messages of pain.

Among other findings, researchers discovered that when skin is heated to a temperature that makes us say ‘Ouch’, the pain can be lessened if you are stroked gently with a brush.

Professor Francis McGlone, of food and beauty company Unilever, whose team discovered the C-fibres, said hugging and grooming such a brushing our hair all play an important role in helping us feel good.

He said instinctive actions such as a mother cuddling a baby or kissing a child’s bruise better were ‘fundamental to nurturing’, the Daily Mail reported.

‘There is research showing that if you touch a patient when you are giving them bad news it makes a lot of difference,’ he said.


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