Dr. Howard Peiper

By Doctor Howard Peiper

What is a Hug?

     A hug is a form of nonverbal communication and is the most common way to express love and affection. Everyone needs physical contact to survive, and hugging is an act of giving and receiving the support and love people need. The type of hug shared between two people can speak volumes about their relationship and can also stregthen bonds. Contrarily, a lack of hugs and other forms of physical affection can diminish the quality of romantic relationships and make some people experience increased emotional stress.

     Hugging as a form of greeting is usually highly ritualized, with prescribed action and timings. These vary significantly with culture and can include variations such as:

·      Initial throwing hands wide, with eye contact and friendly facial expressions that signal    the impending hug.

·      One – or two-handed hug.

·      Back-slapping or rubbing (typically two or three times).

·      Squeezing and lifting as expressions of delight.

·      Words of greeting at the same time.

·      Cheek kissing or touching (one, two or three times, on alternating sides).

·      Holding, patting, and eye contact while disengaging.

     Hugs may be used both in meeting and leaving, with different rules for how each is executed.


     Hugs are sometimes given to comfort a distressed person, such as when a parent hugs a crying child or when a friend hugs another who is upset over a social matter. Comfort hugs are often longer and may continue until the other person has calmed down. The signal for disengagement may well come from the other person, typically by loosening their grip or pulling slightly away.


     Hugs may be used to develop trust and create an emotional and identiity forming bond with the other person. In coming close together we effectively ‘become one’, joining identities for a few moments.


     Hugging is often used between friends. Touching signals trust and reaffirms the bond. If we can hug a person without worrying about whether they will mind and without conscious concern as to whether this will upset them, we are likely to be showing affection. Like greeting hugs, affection hugs are often done in a prescried format, with a single quick squeeze and a cheek press.


     Hugging is a key part of any romantic relationship and a first hug, often given as a sign of simple affection, is a step away from a first kiss, which significantly deepens the romance. Hugging in romantic relationships is often far more frequent and of much longer duration that affection hugs. The hug is more likely to involve full body toucching and may, in the appropriate setting, lead to further actions such as kissing, caressing and so on.

Tips that Apply to Any Kind of Hug

·       Hug only when the person we want to hug extends his or her arms. If the person doesn’t look like he or she is preparing to hug us, then we may want to back off.

·      Be welcoming when we hug. If either of us requested the hug, then make the person we are hugging feel safe. Act as though the two of us are the only people who matter at the moment.

·      Avoid hugging the person too tightly. The best way to judge how tightly or loosely to hug is to let whomever we are hugging indicate what they want by how hard they squeeze. If they are soft, be soft back, if they like bear hugs and squeeze tightly, hug back the same way.

·      Hold the hug for a moment before letting go. A hug is a powerful way to communicate that we care for another person, as it can feel great and improve the other person’s mood. Ending the hug too early may make both of us feel awkward.

·      Know when to give a long, loving hug, especially if the person is feeling upset or down. If we feel comfortable, go along with it and hug until the other person let’s go or loosens his or her hold.

As a dear friend would often say, “we give hugs around here”.

Dr. Howard Peiper

Dr. Howard Peiper

Dr. Howard  Peiper is a nationally recognized expert in the holistic counseling field. His healing, healthcare and natural professional credentials extend over a thirty year period and include those of naturopath, author, lecturer, magazine consultant, radio personality and host of a television show, Partners in Healing. Visit his website https://drhowardpeiper.wordpress.com

Howard, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written numerous books on nutrition and natural health including 12 best sellers.

Create a Miracle with Hexagonal Water
New Hope for Serious Diseases
The A.D.D. & A.D.H. Diet
Zeolite Nature's Heavy Metal Detoxifier
Viral Immunity with Humic Acid
The Secrets of Staying Young
Nutritional Leverage For Great Golf
All Natural High Performance Diet
Natural Solutions For Sexual Enhancement
Super Nutrition for Dogs and Cats

Books can be ordered at:
Safe Goods Publishing.

Dr. Peiper is co-host of the award winning Television show, Partners in Healing. They feature guest in the alternative healing field including such names as Harvey Diamond, Dr. John Upledger, Dr. Bernard Jensen, Gary Null and Dr. Marshall Mandell.

Dr. Howard Peiper

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