Relationships change with age and as you get older, you may feel increasingly isolated. Incorporating human touch through cuddling can help you live a longer, healthier life.
In the United States, one third of people ages 65 and up live alone. If you live by yourself, you may be missing out on all the hugging, kissing and touching that comes from spending time with others. This is a problem because touch not only feels great, it’s also mentally and emotionally fulfilling. If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate touch into your life, consider cuddling.
What Is Cuddling?
Merriam Webster defines cuddling as “to hold close for warmth or comfort or in affection.” But cuddling can also mean spooning, or snuggling up close with a partner or friend.
Who Should Cuddle?
Everyone can benefit from the healing powers of touch! If you are lonely, in a relationship or suffering from high levels of stress, you will find cuddling to be an especially useful method of coping.
Why Should You Cuddle?
When you’re feeling stressed, your body responds by producing a steroid hormone called cortisol. The more cortisol your body emits, the harder it is for you to fight off viruses and inflammation. When cortisol activates, it also shuts down non-essential systems, like your immune system.
When you experience touch, your brain releases a hormone called oxytocin (otherwise known as the “cuddle hormone.”) As your oxytocin levels increase, the amount of cortisol in your body decreases, making it easier for you to fight off infection.
Increasing immune health isn’t the only way cuddling can improve your quality of life. Here are some other important benefits of cuddling:
- Touch is proven to help you battle diseases like fibromyalgia and arthritis
- Scientists believe that spooning your partner can lead to a better night’s sleep – the more you cuddle, the more oxytocin your body releases, allowing you to relax and drift off to dreamland
- When you experience touch, your brain produces hormones like serotonin and dopamine. These hormones boost your mood, lessen feelings of depression and help your body feel amazing
Cuddling Is The Perfect Cure For Couples
Not only does touch have the capacity to transform the human body, it can also heal your romantic relationships. In one month-long study, researchers observed couples and found that partners who touched each other three times a week for at least thirty minutes had lower levels of stress than couples who did not have any physical contact.
And cuddling does much more than just decrease your levels of stress and anxiety:
- Cuddling helps you maintain intimate, healthy relationships – 94% of couples that spoon say they are happy in their relationship, as opposed to the 68% who do not touch
- Hugging your partner can lower their blood pressure
- Giving your partner a 10-minute back and shoulder massage can help slow their heart rate, allowing them to relax
- Physical intimacy during the day is thought to improve a couple’s sleep patterns at night. And the more you and your partner sleep, the less you fight
Help! You Don’t Have Anyone to Cuddle With
That’s okay! Just because you live alone or enjoy a solitary lifestyle does not mean you are excluded from enjoying the healing benefits of touch. Here are some alternative ways of incorporating touch into your life:
- Pay for a massage
- Stroke an animal
- Hug or hold hands with a friend
- Ask someone to brush your hair or scratch your back
- Get a haircut (make sure to ask your stylist for a scalp massage)
- Utilize online cuddling services like Cuddlist.com
What is Cuddlist.com?
Cuddlist is an online service that allows you to book an appointment with a certified professional cuddler who will help guide you through the process of experimenting with non-sexual touch. You are encouraged to work directly with your cuddlist to determine your preferred level of contact.
Unsure if cuddling is right for you? Give it a try – Cuddlist is now offering 50% off a Cuddle session. Go to Cuddlist.com, select a cuddlist, request a session and when prompted, enter the promo code, “Age Brilliantly”.
Now that you know all about the healing benefits of cuddling, we want to hear from you! Have you been in a situation where touch helped your mental or physical health? Tell us about it in the comments below!