Thursday, June 15, 2006

Need A Hug?

A new study from the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin found that the reassurance you received from a spouse or loved one can calm areas of the brain that register alarm. Using sixteen married women in a stressful situation, neuroscientists found that when a friendly volunteer held their hand, scans showed less activity in the parts of the brain that respond to danger. This effect was even greater when the hand belonged to the woman’s spouse. Researchers believe that the mind relaxes because someone is there to help. They also say that other forms of touch, such as a hug or massage, may also help ease anxiety and even reduce the amount of stress hormones that the brain produces.

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