Health Benefits of Cuddling on Web MD

I found this article on WebMD and thought I would pass it on. 8 Health Benefits of Cuddling, a good cuddle can lower your blood pressure, ease pain, and even help fight off that cold virus.



  • Everyone knows the feelings you receive from a cuddle and to have the medical profession back it up a good thing. This article is from the point of view by a medical professional and I thought I would pass it on.

  • edited December 2019

    Tests have shown that a person's pain threshold is increased by holding the hand of their significant other, or looking at a photo of them, or even just thinking about them. "Significant", would presumably include a cuddle partner.

  • edited December 2019

    @geoff1000 That is due to distraction, not cuddling . DId a similar experiment in my highschool psych class where we submerged our hands in ice to see how long could last, then submerged in ice while talking to a classmate. It is all about what your brain is focused on,

  • @pmvines
    Isn't cuddling, distracting ? I struggle to think of much else.

  • It is, i am just saying it is not that cuddling reduces pain, It is the act that is distracting the brain at the time. Same can be said for cooking, listening to music, or talking on the phone. I just dont want people to make the parallel that cuddling reduces pain, That would not be accurate.

  • @pmvines
    I absolutely agree. There is also some success with Virtual Reality, or being engrossed in a "normal" movie, or even a book.
    Some people can put themselves in that state of mind, by simply thinking about it.
    At the risk of being criticised, if those of the Catholic faith can believe in transubstantiation ( that the bread and wine, actually become the body and blood of Chrst ) ; why can't someone believe that an inanimate object, becomes temporarily a generic or specific flesh and blood cuddle partner ? The sex doll industry is based on that.
    Perhaps real-life cuddling is only needed, by those who cannot convincingly imagine it.

  • @ejh1949 WHAT A FABULOUS ARTICLE!!!! There are so many benefits to cuddling.... (the absolute specifics can sometimes be debated... thank you gentlemen. :) ) Welcome to the Website!! It is a beautiful community of people here. Thank you so much for sharing!!! Cuddling is THE perfect distraction!! I was just talking to @brotothenight17 about that. Distractions from cuddling are the BEST!! Happy Holidays and again, thank you for sharing. <3

  • Cuddling lowering blood pressure . I would say don’t depend on it . You want Stress management , diet and excersise .

  • It will lower your BP for the time you are cuddling and a short period after in the same way that calming and relaxing activities do such as sleep, meditation, playing with a puppy, etc. Which is great, I just dont want people to think that they will not stand a chance of reducing BP unless they are cuddling someone, or think that this is somehow a cure to high BP because it isnt. Again, use common sense, as an adult, and dont make cuddling into something it isnt or give more power to it than it has.

  • I would agree that it could .... but I still wouldn’t depend on that. The suggestion , implies that the activity will never fail .
    And I have never seen a pet shop or mattress store suggesting their products lower BP

  • I think that cuddling with the wrong person would be very stressful.

  • edited December 2019

    If cuddling had proven health benefits, it would probably be covered by health insurance. And I agree with @geoff1000 that cuddling with the wrong person could be a negative experience.

  • @pmvines I have a hunch that what ails many of us is heightened baseline cortisol levels as a result of trauma, adverse childhood experiences, or chronic exposure to stress without means of adequately processing same.
    In these cases, couldn’t cuddling rationally be prescribed as a course of treatment (not just for symptom relief, but for remedying the underlying disorder)?

  • edited December 2019

    @HoldenCaulfield Honestly no, and i say this because even if people had heightened cortisol due to any of the above it is not necessarily something that cuddling would reverse or control. And for those cases where it did, it would not be different than other sources of stress relief. So i wouldnt say it could rationally be prescribed anymore than being prescribed a vacation, a nap, exercise, watching kitten videos, sex, meditation, or spending time with loved ones. Mind you not everyone is going to have the same things that decrease their stress levels, what works for some doesnt work for all. We are on this site so obviously cuddling works for us but we dont represent the world at large. Not everybody processes trauma the same, nor does this necessarily mean you will have heightened cortisol from it, nor does it mean that cuddling would lower your cortisol. Not everybody responds to touch the same either, and it can actually be more harmful than helpful depending on the person, their situation, their history with touch, their type of trauma, and their response to touch. Especially if the cuddler is not a trained trauma informed mental health therapist which 99.9 percent cuddlers are not. Also when you factor in how some people are very touch starved, not good with boundaries, have interpersonal relationship issues, are financially in the lower income bracket (for those who hire pros), and have emotional issues, cuddling can indeed cause more harm in some cases than not.

  • Thanks for your reply, @pmvines. I don’t fault you for opinion. But I will fault you for offering such a decisive opinion but then qualifying it to an absurd degree. First you say “honestly, no.” (cuddling could not rationally be prescribed.) But then you add “no more than ... exercise.
    Like... are you stating a doctor who prescribed exercise would be, by definition, irrational?

  • @ejh1949
    Thanks for posting the link to the article.

    I’m aware of volunteer programs at hospitals that find people to cuddle newborn babies. It has positive health benefits for the newborns - and as most volunteers are retirees - it gives them social and psychological fulfillment by being helpful.

    Those of us on this website also benefit from cuddling through the social interaction it provides. The internet age has created more physical isolation for some, and cuddling is a great way to reverse the trend. Many studies have shown that by far one of the most beneficial things we can do to improve our health and increase our lifespan is to maintain a social network.

    I myself have benefited from the cuddle parties I have attended and I’m always seeking new experiences and things I can learn from others. I think cuddling is a great way to interact with another like-minded individual. It isn’t for everyone, but for those whose love language is primarily rooted in physical touch, it is therapeutic.

  • I made the comparison as being something that you would not likely be prescribed by a doctor no more than would be prescribed a nap , or video games , or sex , etc , pretty much any other stress reducing activity .

  • If I can be destressed equally by an hour on a Pacific beach or an hour of cuddling, the latter may be a lot easier to arrange. Most doctors say that the ill health caused by a lack of sleep, can be cured by more sleep, but that isn't much help.

  • If someone asks “are there health benefits to cuddling?” And your answer amounts to, “no, the health benefits are no greater than the benefits of exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends...” then you are, in fact, acknowledging that there are indeed health benefits to cuddling.

  • edited December 2019

    Here’s a link to an Indian Journal of Psychiatry article focusing on the health benefits associated with fighting loneliness. In short, if you feel lonely and disconnected, and cuddling helps reduce that feeling, then you are likely to live a longer, happier, and healthier life if you add cuddling to your self-care regimen.

  • I believe the effects are short term and are not specific to cuddling as there are some short term health benefits to many forms of stress reduction . I also don't foresee something like this being prescribed as a practical modality of treatment for a medical issue , as has been posed by you @HoldenCaulfield . I am not into splitting hairs , so I will just say that my thoughts on this remains . And it does not change my thoughts on cuddling being an amazing thing to be done as frequently as possible

  • As frequently as possible!!!!! @pmvines tell me you’ve already booked a flight!!!

  • If the only thing cuddling does is relieve the psychological symptoms, I'd say that's worth having. Painkillers don't kill pain, they just make the patient less bothered by it, but they are prescribed all the time. Doctors can do their best to fix what's broken, but what child has not had their mother "kiss better" a bruise ?
    Looking for a dock leaf, is what relieves the sting of a nettle.

  • @sillysassy on my way like the Expedia gnome !!

  • edited December 2019

    Expedia gnome. 😂😂😂 good one!!
    I will take a few hours of distracting myself from the troubles of life with cuddles any day!!!
    BTW @pmvines I really do appreciate what you are trying to express here. I know you work in the medical field and you’ve been on the website for many years. You are certainly an OG cuddle comfort guy. You have seen a LOT of people come and go. I do think it’s easy for people to get extremely “hung up” on cuddles. Whether they are able to connect with people or NOT connect. I hear you when you’re trying to help people understand that it’s not a cure for anything just a beautiful distraction. Connection as a society comes in so many forms. If we try to “fix our problems” of feeling sad, lonely, anxious or depressed with any substance or action outside of ourselves we never get to the root of the problem and therefore can never find true healing. Cuddling is a beautiful thing to add to our lives but it won’t bring us happiness if we don’t already have joy in our souls. (Well if you believe in souls 😂😂😂)

  • @pmvines if you get here between the 5th and 7th, you can snuggle both of us before I head back to the bay!

  • Thankd @sillysassy !! Take that @HoldenCaulfield 😂 (seriously please understand I am purely joking and being sarcastic here , I don't take things that seriously and I am not literally trying to start a form beef !!)

  • @littermate if only !!! I am actually doing a work thing in Denver at some point likely in the spring so maybe raincheck til then ??🙂

  • Yes, I'm back mid-March! We can have a little party us three. :D <3

  • edited December 2019

    A group cuddle sounds fun, being the middle spoon is something on my bucket list

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