Why you need to give more hugs

Why you need to give more hugs

There’s no denying it, hugs are pretty great. There are so many different types – one-armed hugs from your dad, huge warm embraces from your mum and soft, memorable cuddles from your grandma – to name a few! Hugs can make you feel safe, content and most importantly, loved. But would you believe it if I told you that hugs could help to heal sick children? Well, according to new research from The Kimberly-Clark Commission, they can! 

The study found that 99 per cent of nurses and midwives agree that hugs and affection are an important part of the healing process for sick children. Plus, 98 per cent believe that hugs can actually help children recover more quickly during an illness.* Pretty amazing!

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Janet Burke, Head of Child Life Therapy at Sydney Children’s Hospital explains the science behind these claims telling us, “A child develops over 80 per cent of their brain capacity in the first four years and during this crucial period physical touch is fundamental.” According to Janet, hugs have many benefits including:

  • Helping to form attachment with a parent of care giver
  • Reducing heart rate
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Increasing immunity

So, when it comes to the power of hugs to heal, Janet tells us, “In the context of every child’s development hugs are important, but when you think of a child who is sick – the comfort and healing that can come from hugs and touch is crucial.” 

With so many health professionals agreeing that hugs form an important part of the healing and recovery process, it’s no surprise that in Children’s Hospitals, hugs and physical touch are a focus of care because of the physical and emotional effect they have on children. This year, Huggies partnered with Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia to relaunch their Hugs For Healing campaign, which raised $150,000 to fund high priority pieces of medical equipment in children’s hospitals across Australia. If that’s not enough to make you feel like hugging someone then I don’t know what is! So go on, hug your parents, your siblings, your mates or even your pet – it will make you feel better – science says so!

*Kimberly-Clark commissioned independent marketing research firm Edelman Berland to conduct the research. A representative sample of n=100 Australian registered nurses completed an online survey between 16-21 October 2015.

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