A daily dose of vitamin C and regular handwashing are both good methods to boost our immune system. Those simple and effective ways to keep us healthy are important, especially during cold and flu season when we need extra help to fight the spread of illness.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh may have uncovered the simplest and most accessible way to strengthen our immune system – a hug! A good, old-fashioned embrace with a friend or loved one can work wonders. It’s been shown to counteract the effects of stress, which makes us more susceptible to getting sick.

If this isn’t a feel-good message for the New Year, nothing is…

Hug it out for immunity

The research, published in Psychological Science, is based on the notion that hugging provides social support, tightens relationships and reduces stress. Researchers examined questionnaire responses from 404 adults which asked participants to evaluate their perceptions of social support. Participants also took part in 14 consecutive evening telephone interviews to discuss their conflicts with others and hugs they had received that day.
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