Cuddle Your Way to Better Health. See How!

Cuddle Your Way to Better Health. See How!

We're all looking for ways to stay healthier right now, and in the age of social distancing, you might find it surprising to learn that cuddling can have some positive health benefits.

Whether it is a hug from a friend or a cuddle session with your significant other, there’s a reason why physical touch is one of the biggest ways we show affection to another person.

But why does physical touch elicit so much joy? There’s actually a biochemical reason behind our physical desires. All types of touch, including cuddling and hugs, release the hormone oxytocin from your brain’s pituitary gland. This hormone is also known as the “love” hormone since it the hormone that spikes during orgasm. It is so powerful that it has been shown to increase bonding between couples. But oxytocin does way more than just that. Studies have shown this hormone to have many other powerful health benefits. So let’s examine how getting your cuddle on can improve your health:

Cuddling improves sleep

Many people struggle with sleep apnea. With this condition, breathing starts and stops throughout the night making it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep. Studies have shown that administering oxytocin can improve the quality and amount of sleep, as well as improve cardiorespiratory homeostasis. More research needs to be done to fully understand the exact role oxytocin plays helping sleep apnea. But it’s definitely a good excuse to cuddle up before catching some Zzs!

Physical touch can curb cravings and halt weight gain

Hormone imbalances and many underlying factors play a role in weight gain and the inability to lose weight. However, when it comes to the psychological side of eating and binge eating, oxytocin is powerful in reducing the desire to eat for pleasure. In fact, it can increase the feeling of being satiated which will limit the need for reward-based eating.

Oxytocin eases chronic pain

Low oxytocin levels have been found in people dealing with chronic pain. One study looked at children with recurring stomach pain and compared them to children without stomach pain and found that those with pain had lower oxytocin levels. Studies have shown that oxytocin was able to lower pain in people with cancer, back pain, and IBS.

Cuddling strengthens immunity

Around 75 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. Your gut and brain are inextricably linked through the gut-brain axis. Ever wondered what was behind that feeling of butterflies in your stomach? Look no further than oxytocin – just one more example of how your gut really is your “second brain.” Your T-regulatory cells, which are responsible for keeping your immune system balanced, are boosted when there is an increase in oxytocin.

Cuddling lowers inflammation

In functional medicine, chronic inflammation is one of the main things we look for when assessing a person’s health. Besides just boosting inflammation-fighting T-regulatory cells, oxytocin also works to lower inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-6.

Physical touch reduces anxiety

No one can argue that cuddling is a peaceful activity. Now, science is showing oxytocin’s ability to lower anxiety, even in severe anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Hold your sweetie’s hand to calm your nerves next time you are feeling anxious.

Oxytocin reduces heart disease risk

Stress, anxiety, chronic inflammation, and high blood pressure – all risk factors for heart disease – are lowered when your body releases oxytocin. So, in honor of your health, cuddle away!

Cuddling strengthens relationships

As I said earlier, oxytocin is also known as the “love” hormone for its ability to increase bonding in romantic partners and all other relationships as well! Oxytocin is a hormone closely associated with childbirth. During labor, your body releases oxytocin to help your uterus contract and help ready itself for childbirth. Afterward, it helps strengthen the mother and child bond.

Cuddling leads to sex

When your sex life is lacking, forget starting with foreplay and instead start by cuddling. Physical touch (even non-erotic touch) releases dopamine in the body, which increases energy and sexual desire. More sex is an easy and effective way to get more exercise into your day, which reduces stress, improves overall health, and strengthens your relationship.

Get ready because it’s time to enjoy cuddling with your spouse.

How to Cuddle

Speaking of cuddle positions, these three off-the-beaten-path options can add a little more spice to your next spooning session.

Head-in-lap – This can be a sexy position because it leaves one partner in a uniquely vulnerable situation. Not to mention, it puts either you or him pretty close to a certain pleasure zone. If he’s lying down in your lap, you can make the moment more affectionate and erotic by playing with his hair and delicately tracing his facial features. It’s a perfect position for him to talk and you to just listen.

Verona skeleton snuggle – A quick Google search will reveal that the Verona skeletons, which were two skeletons discovered in Italy that were found locked in an embrace lasting 5,000 years. With this position, you face one another with your arms wrapped around each other and the “little spoon’s” knee bent above the “big spoon’s.”

Pancake cuddle – Perfect for playful moods, the pancake cuddle is when one of you lies down directly on top of the other. It’s not the best long-term cuddle position, but it can actually feel pretty good to get completely decompressed. Bonus points if the top pancake throws in a sensuous back massage!

By understanding the benefits of physical touch and how oxytocin is released in the body, it serves as a reminder that health is not a journey one takes alone. Wellness is about taking time to care for ourselves, our community, and our planet.

It’s now time for you to Cuddle Up.

You have a deep desire to feel loved, to be connected at a deeper level.

It’s time to start doing the little things that make up that big thing called LOVE. Best of all cuddling is free!
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