Boost Your Immune System with Hugs
Hugs may have healing properties (beyond making you feel warm and fuzzy). This flu season add a hug a day to your regimen--it may help lessen your cold symptoms, according to one study.
Hugs may have healing properties (beyond making you feel warm and fuzzy). This flu season add a hug a day to your regimen--it may help lessen your symptoms should you fall ill, according to one study.
The find was published in Psychological Science and highlighted in Carnegie Mellon University's news by Shilo Rea. Researchers wanted to assess what social support and hugs had on illness. The study singled-out participants that may be more susceptible to a cold's symptoms because of their heightened level of stress in their lives.
The team took 404 adult participants and assessed their perceived level of social support through a questionnaire. Every evening for two weeks, researchers would call participants to inquire about any conflicts in their lives in order to assess their level of stress and how many hugs they received to measure social support. Participants were then intentionally exposed to the common cold and put in quarantine to monitor their symptoms.
The results showed that social support did dictate how bad the symptoms progressed. Those that had a daily helping of hugs had less severe symptoms. Overall, it helped if participants had a great perception of social support and hugs whether or not they were under a great deal of stress. The led by Sheldon Cohen, Professor of Psychology at the Robert E. Doherty University, noted in a press release:
"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. 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."
One other study, published back in 2010 in the journal of Developmental Review, showed that there was a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure with participants who received massage therapy. Researchers also reported a boost in their immune systems, increasing their “natural killer cells,” as well as decreasing their cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress).
It's possible that a dose of hugs may be a more welcome immune booster during the cold and flu season. So, instead of running out to buy a pack of vitamin C, consider giving a friend or loved one a hug. But make sure you're not in a state to pass on any infections in the process.
Read more at Carnegie Mellon University News
Photo Credit: Qihui/Flickr
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Irish president believes students need philosophy.
- President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
- Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
- The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.