Besides being a martyr for love, Valentine was actually one of the first to understand the psychology of human emotions. This young priest knew that men who were about to face danger and possible death could only be brave hearts if they went off to war with a hug from the girl they left behind.
Everyone knows that Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, but most people don’t know why we celebrate it in the first place. Valentine was a Roman priest who is believed to have lived around 270 A.D. during the reign of Claudius II.
Emperor Claudius spent a lot of his time thinking up strategies to create the perfect army. One of his most famous was outlawing marriage for young men because he believed that bachelors made better soldiers than married men because they had less distractions. Valentine didn’t agree with Claudius’ opinion, and he continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies in spite of the fact that it was against the law.
Eventually the Romans got wind of what Valentine was doing, and they put him to death.
Some 1,700 years later, researchers at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill would prove Valentine was right on target.
There’s an underlying scientific explanation for the seemingly magical qualities of a hug that these researchers uncovered. Each time we hug, we increase the level of oxytocin in the blood. This hormone is known as the bonding hormone because it triggers a “caring” response in both men and women. Oxytocin stimulates contractions of the uterus during labor and the release of milk during breast-feeding, so we literally learn to depend on it in the womb.
As adults, that daily dose of oxytocin-laced hugging protects us from heart disease. And while it works for both sexes, women seem to be the greater benefactors..
In a world that has become increasingly more intricate and convoluted, more demanding on our hearts as well as our minds , there is still one simple gift left. And..hey..it’s free. The power of touch.
So many, especially in our society, (where touching is so much more taboo than in Europe), actually suffer from touch deprivation, and affection hunger.
By touching and being touched we connect with others, we bond, we belong.
We call companies and get voice activated machines.
We get menus.
We get …alienation.
Hugging or transacting with a human instead of a machine is not just about sentimentality..it’s about our very humanity.
Warm words and a sweet hug can offer kindness, reassurance, tenderness, support, healing, security , but above of all, a sense of belonging.
Touch has always been used traditionally to help medical as well as psychiatric patients. It has been used to relieve physical pain, as well as depression ,anxiety, even to the extent of bolstering a patient’s will to live.
Premature babies who have been deprived of touch, were specifically touched in their incubators to help them grow and thrive.
Human beings are not machines.
We have the power to be both compassionate and passionate.
Once upon a time, before the sexual revolution and subsequent universal decadence…doctors and nurses touched patients somewhat freely.
Teachers and school nurses hugged students, patted their heads, even held their hands when crossing the street.
Now…..Condoms and contraceptives can be handed out in school.
But hugs can’t.
Hugs are Nature’s healing. Theyr’e organic, theyv’e got no pesticides, no preservatives, and hey………no artificial ingredients.
But..the most crucial aspect of all sweet friends.
Hugs have been known to slow down aging and help curb appetite.
Get skinny and stay young?
So, hey..Who have you hugged lately?
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