National Hugging Day is celebrated on January 21 annually. It was created by Kevin Zaborney, a pastor, to encourage people to express affection and care towards each other more often through simple acts like hugs.


Hug is a universal form of endearment that accompanies various emotions. Whether during moments of nervousness, sadness, or excitement, a hug provides comfort and reassurance. However, beyond the comfort that comes with hugs, scientific studies have highlighted numerous health benefits associated with this heartfelt gesture.

Without further ado, here are the health benefits of getting a hug.

  • Boosts heart health

Physical touch, including hugging, has been linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate.


The calming effect you get after a hug can improve your heart health. In a study involving over 200 participants, it was found that getting a 20-second hug can help greatly in the reduction of blood pressure levels and heart rate.

Another study further explains that the body releases oxytocin, the chemical also called the love hormone, when hugged. Meanwhile, oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure.

  • Reduces stress

There is no doubt hug reduces stress, right? That is why you tend to give or want to receive a hug when you are stressed.


A study involving heterosexual couples found that a hug does not reduce stress in just the person being hugged but also the giver.

When you comfort someone by giving him/her a hug, you also comfort yourself. So why not do it often?

  • Improved immune function

Surprised? Hugging may contribute to better immune function, giving your body more ability to fend off illnesses.

It doesn’t mean you would never get sick again when you hug frequently.


In a study of 406 adults, it was proven that hugging may reduce the chance a person will get sick. The participants with social support were less likely to get sick when exposed to a virus. And even when they did get sick, they had less severe symptoms than those with little or no support.

  • Reduces anxiety

A hug can help reduce fear and anxiety, particularly in people with low self-esteem.

A study found that touch including hugs can help reduce fear, and existential anxiety and maintain social connectedness in people with low self-esteem.

It was also found that touching/hugging does not have to be with humans. It can also be an inanimate object like a teddy bear.

  • Pain relief

Some form of touch like a hug is capable of reducing pain. Hugging can trigger the release of endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers.

In a study, people with fibromyalgia had six therapeutic touch treatments that involved light touching on the skin. After the treatment, there was an increase in quality of life and reduced pain in the participants.

Embracing the health benefits of hugging on World Hug Day can be a simple yet impactful way to enhance overall well-being. So, hug a loved one today.


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