Research Shows That Hugs Help Protect Against Stress. Can Hugs Help You Fight a Cold?

Research Shows That Hugs Help Protect Against Stress. Can Hugs Help You Fight a Cold?

I love Thursday nights. On Thursday nights I meet with the group of friends for a Current Events and Hot Topics Discussion Group. We have been meeting for many years so we greet each other with warm welcoming hugs. As I said I love those hugs.  Below is the latest research on the health benefits of hugging.

When I taught body language at Florida State my students called me Dr. Hugs (I had not gotten my PHD) because after my lectures on the benefits of touch they might open up their arms to give or get a hug from myself and fellow students. Today, I fear I might get in trouble for encouraging warm, nonthreatening hugs on campus. That’s a shame as recent research shows that hugs can be beneficial to our health. My original doctoral dissertation was on touch, so I am always searching for and reading the latest research on the benefits of touch and my book SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma  Book Website has a chapter on hugging and has more information on my Website.

Here is the latest research on the health benefits of hugging. 


Date: December 17, 2014
Source: Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Researchers tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting stressed people from getting sick. They found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.



Mother hugging her daughter (stock image). Researchers found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.
Credit: © De Visu / Fotolia
Instead of an apple, could a hug-a-day keep the doctor away? According to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, that may not be that far-fetched of an idea.
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Led by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the researchers tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting stressed people from getting sick. Published in Psychological Science, they found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.
Cohen and his team chose to study hugging as an example of social support because hugs are typically a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person.
"We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses. We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety," said Cohen. "We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection."
In 404 healthy adults, perceived support was assessed by a questionnaire, and frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs were derived from telephone interviews conducted on 14 consecutive evenings. Then, the participants were intentionally exposed to a common cold virus and monitored in quarantine to assess infection and signs of illness.
The results showed that perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts. Hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support. Among infected participants, greater perceived social support and more frequent hugs both resulted in less severe illness symptoms whether or not they experienced conflicts.
"This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress," Cohen said. "The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy."
Cohen added, "Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection."

More articles on Hugs:



Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. The original article was written by Shilo Rea. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:
1.   S. Cohen, D. Janicki-Deverts, R. B. Turner, W. J. Doyle. Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and IllnessPsychological Science, 2014; DOI:10.1177/0956797614559284


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Carnegie Mellon University. "Hugs help protect against stress, infection, say researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2014. .


Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

How Touch Can Trigger Our Emotions and Perhaps Lead Us to Be More Adept Socially. Benefits of Touch

How Touch Can Trigger Our Emotions and
Perhaps Lead Us to be More Adept Socially. 
Benefits of Touch


While touch always involves awareness, it also sometimes involves emotion. Now, scientists describe a system of slowly conducting nerves in the skin that respond to gentle touch. Investigators are beginning to characterize these nerves and to describe the fundamental role they play in our lives as a social species. Professor McGlone believes that possessing an emotional touch system in the skin is as important to well-being and survival as having a system of nerves that protect us from harm. The work also suggests that this soft touch wiring may go awry in disorders such as autism. (By the way if you have not seen the movie about Temple Grandin a fascinating woman with Autism who has revolutionized the way we think about animals in captivity like cows, find it and watch it.)
Here is the research study.

May 21, 2014
Cell Press



The nerves that respond to gentle touch, called c-tactile afferents (CTs), are similar to those that detect pain, but they serve an opposite function: they relay events that are neither threatening nor tissue-damaging but are instead rewarding and pleasant.
Credit: © Piotr Marcinski / Fotolia
While touch always involves awareness, it also sometimes involves emotion. For example, picking up a spoon triggers no real emotion, while feeling a gentle caress often does. Now, scientists in the Cell Press journal Neuron describe a system of slowly conducting nerves in the skin that respond to such gentle touch. Using a range of scientific techniques, investigators are beginning to characterize these nerves and to describe the fundamental role they play in our lives as a social species -- from a nurturing touch to an infant to a reassuring pat on the back. Their work also suggests that this soft touch wiring may go awry in disorders such as autism.

The nerves that respond to gentle touch, called c-tactile afferents (CTs), are similar to those that detect pain, but they serve an opposite function: they relay events that are neither threatening nor tissue-damaging but are instead rewarding and pleasant.
"The evolutionary significance of such a system for a social species is yet to be fully determined," says first author Francis McGlone, PhD, of Liverpool John Moores University in England. "But recent research is finding that people on the autistic spectrum do not process emotional touch normally, leading us to hypothesize that a failure of the CT system during neurodevelopment may impact adversely on the functioning of the social brain and the sense of self."
For some individuals with autism, the light touch of certain fabrics in clothing can cause distress. Temple Grandin, an activist and assistant professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University who has written extensively on her experiences as an individual with autism, has remarked that her lack of empathy in social situations may be partially due to a lack of "comforting tactual input." (By the way if you have not seen the movie about Temple Grandin find it and watch it). Professor McGlone also notes that deficits in nurturing touch during early life could have negative effects on a range of behaviors and psychological states later in life.
Further research on CTs may help investigators develop therapies for autistic patients and individuals who lacked adequate nurturing touch as children. Also, a better understanding of how nerves that relay rewarding sensations interact with those that signal pain could provide insights into new treatments for certain types of pain.
Professor McGlone believes that possessing an emotional touch system in the skin is as important to well-being and survival as having a system of nerves that protect us from harm. "In a world where human touch is becoming more and more of a rarity with the ubiquitous increase in social media leading to non-touch-based communication, and the decreasing opportunity for infants to experience enough nurturing touch from a carer or parent due to the economic pressures of modern living, it is becoming more important to recognize just how vital emotional touch is to all humankind."


Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Cell PressNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:
1.     Francis McGlone, Johan Wessberg, Håkan Olausson. Discriminative and Affective Touch: Sensing and FeelingNeuron, 2014; 82 (4): 737 DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.001


Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

Body Language of Emma Roberts & Evan Peters for Life & Style Magazine, By Body Language Expert, Patti Wood

Body Language Read of Emma Roberts & Evan Peters for Life Style Magazine by Expert Patti Wood







Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

What Your Sleep Position Says About Your Relationship

What Your Sleep Position Says About Your Relationship

I did an interview with Cosmopolitan on peoples' sleep positions.  Below is the article and also the actual link to the article.  At the link below you can see a picture of the couples in each position mentioned in the article.

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/a34764/what-sleep-position-says-about-your-relationship/


Article on sleep positions as it  appeared in Cosmopolitan:
Because your subconscious mind controls the way you sleep with your partner, sleep body language can be an amazingly accurate way to assess what's going on in your relationship — even if you can't or don't articulate those things while you're awake, says Patti Wood, a body language expert with more than 30 years of experience and author of Success Signals, A Guide to Reading Body Language.  
Of course, there are always exceptions — if you are and always have been a sleep kicker, you can't blame your partner for sleeping far away from you. But when your or your partner's sleep position suddenly changes, use these clues to decode what it means: 
You're the little spoon. 
In this position, your partner envelops you in a way that feels simultaneously intimate and secure. Because it involves some serious butt-to-penis contact, "it's a very vulnerable position that's sexual, but says, 'I trust you,'" Wood says
You're the big spoon. 
This says you're protective of your partner and maybe even a bit possessive. 
You spoon a few inches apart. 
New couples tend to have the most physical contact in bed, but when the novelty of bed-sharing wears off, it's common to revert to the positions that make you feel most comfortable and produce the best quality sleep, says Paul Rosenblatt, author of Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing. Sometimes, that means spooning a few inches apart. It's like the big spoon saying, "I've got your back, you can count on me," but it's not as sexual as spooning closer, Woods says. 
Your partner cradles your head on his chest. 
A face-up sleeping position indicates confidence and self-assurance. When your partner sleeps on his back with your head in his arms, it says, "I have the power and I'm using it to protect you," Wood says. When you, in turn, face your partner in a fetal position, it shows you depend on him. If you sleep with your head on his chest and the rest of your body sprawled out, it sends the message that you want to make decisions for yourself, Wood says. 
You face each other.
When you sleep face-to-face, it's an unconscious attempt to look your partner in the eye throughout the night. If your partner suddenly starts facing you, there's a good chance he feels distant and wants to connect, or is hungry for more intimacy — especially if he presses his pelvis against yours. 
You sleep on your stomachs. 
Because sleeping on your stomach protects the front of your body, the position could be a sign of anxiety, vulnerability, and lack of sexual trust, Wood says. Unless there are back or neck issues, people tend to face the bed because they don't want to or are afraid to face their emotions, Wood says. If your partner suddenly starts sleeping face down, you can cozy up to make him feel more protected. 
You sleep on opposite sides of the bed.
This says you're independent or have a desire to be more separate. If you're typically snuggly sleepers though, this position could be a red flag that something isn't right, whether that means stress at work or an untold secret. That said, many people start out snuggling to warm up or show affection, then gravitate toward opposite sides of the bed for a random reason — it could be because your partner  has sharp toenails, kicks in his sleep, or moves around too much, or because you get hot when you sleep skin to skin, Rosenblatt says. Also worth noting: Some couples actually get along better when they stop trying so hard to snuggle all night — probably because it can enable you to sleep more soundly and without interruption, which improves your interactions the next day. If you don't like to touch while you sleep, schedule 15 minutes in the morning or at night  to snuggle up and in turn strengthen your relationship, suggests Wood. 
You sleep facing away from each other with your butts touching. 
This position suggests you're a confident couple that appreciates your own space: The facing away from each other hints at the ability and desire to be independent, while the butt touch shows you still want to stay sexually connected, Wood says. For what it's worth, lots of people prefer to sleep facing the outside of the bed to avoid breathing face-to-face, Rosenblatt says. So this position could mean you're sick and tired of your partner's snoring (not your partner himself).
You sleep with nothing touching but your feet or legs. 
Being far from the brain and the first part of your body to react in the case or a flight or flight response, the feet are the most honest portion of the body, under the least conscious control, Wood says. If your partner plays footsie with you in bed, it means he craves an emotional or sexual connection. 
You sleep with your legs and arms totally entwined.
When you sleep with arms and legs tangled, it's a sign that you can't get enough of each other — even while you sleep. "It means your lives are intertwined, that you function as a pair. You probably finish each other's sentences and take care of each other," Wood says. 
You sleep different distances from the headboard. 
People who sleep closer to the headboard tend to feel more dominant and confident, while those who place their heads further away from it could be more subservient and have lower self-esteem, Wood says. Couples who sleep with their heads at the same level are on the same page. Heads that touch are even better: It's a sign that you have have lower self-esteem, Wood says. Couples who sleep with their heads at the same like minds and know what's going on in each other's heads, Wood says. 

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.