Mother and daughter at home

Admit it: A hug can give you warmth and comfort.

But aside from making us feel loved and protected, this touching gesture can also add so much to our well being. When we hug someone, oxytocin - the cuddle hormone - promotes an emotional lift, lowers blood pressure, especially in pre-menopausal women and alleviates our fears. It's a form of communication, especially for people who are hurting.

Hugging can be good for our hearts. In a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill scientific study, folks who didn't have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got a hug.

Adults benefit the most because hugs are a natural stress reliever. However, babies that are well hugged become less stressed as grownups. You can say hugs are like vitamins for the soul.

Studies show that hugs really do have authentic health benefits that may lower your risk of infections after being exposed to the common cold virus. Who knew that a cuddle could keep you sniffle-free? And finally, Terry Orbuch, Ph.D., a relationship expert, and author of "5 Simple Steps To Take Your Marriage From Good To Great," says hugs will improve your marriage.

Do you think the same holds true for "Radio Hugs?"

(Editor's Note: Phil Paleologos is the morning host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6-10 a.m. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.)

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