New Research Suggests That Hugs, Even From A Robot, Really Help Alleviate Pain And Ease Feelings Of Depression And Anxiety

Wayhome Studio - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Most people enjoy the sensation of hugs, but now, a new study conducted by researchers in Germany has revealed that hugging really does positively impact both mental health and pain management.

Plus, the team found that even a short moment of contact – including one from a robot – can alleviate symptoms of pain and depression.

The researchers, who are from Bochum, Duisburg-Essen, and Amsterdam, analyzed more than 130 international studies – which involved around 10,000 individuals – to determine the impact of touch on human well-being.

Their findings clearly showed that touch can relieve pain, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, the study found that touch doesn’t need to be prolonged or even from another human in order to be effective. In fact, social robots, pillows, and weighted blankets were even found to improve well-being.

“We were aware of the importance of touch as a health intervention. But despite many studies, it remained unclear how to use it optimally, what effects can be expected specifically, and what the influencing factors are,” explained Dr. Julian Packheiser from Ruhr University Bochum.

When it comes to babies, the study indicated that they, too, benefit from hugs on a regular basis. However, they have to be given by the babies’ parents.

“In the case of infants, it’s important that it is the parents who administer the touch. Their touch is more effective than that of a care professional. In adults, however, we found there was no difference between people our volunteers were familiar with and a nursing professional,” detailed Dr. Helena Hartmann from the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Touching someone has the most significant effect on mental health, highlighting touch therapy as a valuable resource for those struggling with mental health issues. Furthermore, the researchers noted that touching can offer minor cardiovascular improvements, like better heart rate and blood pressure.

Perhaps more intriguingly, prolonged touch is not necessary to yield these benefits. Rather, research indicated that extended periods of tough – like 20-minute-long hugs – don’t enhance the positive effects on an individual’s well-being.

Wayhome Studio – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2