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Mystic Mantra: The healing effects of hugging

Amrit Sadhana is in the management team of Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune. She facilitates meditation workshops around the country and abroad.
Published : Jul 1, 2019, 12:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 1, 2019, 12:06 am IST

There is an emotional need to touch somebody or be touched by them.


Clambering up the career and stepping up ladders can be exhausting. It is not only exhausting, but it is also isolating as well. Nowadays people relate to each other as workers, demanding results, and there is no time for nourishing human aspects. It is said that we need four hugs a day for survival and eight hugs a day for maintenance.

There was wide research in England and it was found that people at least should get eight sincere hugs a day for their health and well being. Brits were found to be missing out on 2,808 hugs a year — 54 per week — and it could be damaging their health.

What is true in England is true for all hardworking people in big cities. People are so engrossed in achieving their targets that they have forgotten that they have a heart — not the physical one but an emotional reservoir. There is an emotional need to touch somebody or be touched by them.

Now this research says, forget a balanced diet, regular exercise and health checks. As well as our five daily portions of fruits and vegetables, we should be getting at least eight hugs a day to ensure the release of the feel-good hormone Oxytocin. Something about that warm-and-fuzzy feeling when giving or getting a cuddle promotes feelings of happiness and well being.

Of course, it won’t end global conflicts but it’s simple, non-threatening behaviour that can cross all sorts of cultural and language barriers.

It was Osho who first started hugging people generously way back in the sixties, and was heavily criticised for it because of the sexual connotation of touching the body. But Osho always has an original way of looking at things. He says: “Analysis is the way of the mind — hugging is the way of the heart. The mind is the cause of all diseases, and the heart is the source of all healing... Man needs to be needed. It is one of the most fundamental needs of human beings. Hence love is the greatest therapy there is. The world needs therapy because the world is missing love. In a really loving world, no therapy will be needed at all — love will be enough, more than enough. Hugging is only a gesture of love, of warmth, of caring. The very feel of the warmth flowing from the other person melts many illnesses in you, melts the ice-like cold ego. It makes you again a child.”

Another insightful point is that if you hug somebody with warmth and love, immediately you come into contact with the (inner) child, with the innocent child hidden in the person. And the innocent child, surfacing even for a single moment, makes a tremendous difference because the innocence of the child is always healthy and whole. You have reached the innermost virgin core of the person where no corruption has ever entered. Just making the virgin core throb again with life is enough — you have started a process of healing.

Tags: mystic mantra, osho