A study at the University of Virginia showed that holding a spouse’s hand can diminish stress set off by a mild electric shock. A total of 16 couples took part; first the wives received the shocks while their brains were monitored via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Next, each woman held the hand of a stranger during the shock--this dampened the stress response seen in the brain. Finally, the women held their husbands’ hands during the shock and the fMRIs showed that the reduction in stress was even greater.
The Cuddle Hormone
Women who get the most hugs from their partner have the highest levels of oxytocin, a hormone sometimes called the “cuddle hormone,” University of North Carolina researchers reported.
Oxytocin is believed to play a role in social bonding and has a powerful effect on the cardiovascular systems. In the study, the frequent huggers had lower blood pressure. So there you have it, love is good for almost everything. The only exception: it doesn’t help you lose weight.