Sunday, August 29, 2010

Amazing Effects of Cuddling

I am prompted to upload this post (after a relatively long period of silence) on finding a report today in the leading Indian news paper, The New Indian Express. The report titled Mum’s cuddle brings new-born to life describes how an Australian mother cuddled her premature baby back to life even though doctors had told her he was dead. The unfortunate mother had given birth to premature twins after just 27 weeks of pregnancy. Her baby girl survived; but the baby boy was declared dead by the medical staff who tried hard to save him. The mother then un-wrapped him from his blanket and held him on her chest in contact with her skin. After two hours he began showing signs of life. He started breathing regularly and opened his eyes. He is now a healthy five month baby, the report says.

It is a known fact that physical skin to skin contact has a profound effect on the individuals. Hugging increases the level of oxytocin (which is sometimes called the ‘cuddle hormone’) in the body and makes you feel good. This is because of the consequent decrease in the amount of cortisol, the hormone produced by the adrenal gland, which is directly related to the amount of stress. Increased oxytocin level in the body can reduce blood pressure as well as the risk of heart diseases and other stress related complications.

The reason behind the effects of cuddling (hugging) has been a topic of much debate and research in this area is still going on. The physics behind the transmission of energy during skin to skin contact needs to be studied to put the effect to significant use. The new report titled ‘Mum’s cuddle brings new-born to life’ should certainly attract the attention of researchers in this field. In addition to medicines and prayers cuddling also may find a significant role in treating patients.


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