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Hug for Health!

Dec 31, 2014 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Here’s a story to love: Hugs may keep you healthier!

Previously reported studies have found a link between strong social ties and the prevention of psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh took the premise a step further to see if physiological ills might also be affected by human closeness. Bingo! It did.

More than 400 healthy adults were asked about frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs. These subjects were then put in quarantine and intentionally exposed to a common cold virus. (Hope they were paid well.)

Researchers studied the participants’ signs of illness and found that “perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts.” Hugs counted for about a third of the perceived support. Those who perceived greater social support and got more hugs showed less severe symptoms of illness.

This news is perfectly timed for New Year’s. Try holding back on some the kissing, but hug everyone in sight!

--Sarah Hagerty
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