The Anatomy (+ Importance) of a Hug

Love is about connection and the ways we express it are endless. Verbal, gift giving, quality time, physicality. All of these little ways to connect are also ways to communicate.  Think of a hug–one of the simplest forms of connection. I’m sure you’ve had hugs that speak a thousand words. More weight, gravity, lightness or joy than any language could conjure.


Let’s dive into that more: a hug. A simple gesture. But let’s look at the origin, anatomy, and symbolism of this connection.


The word stems from German and Hungarian words meaning comfort, mind, soul or courage. To me, this makes perfect sense since acting in connection is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and inviting for someone to share in that with you.


In your embrace there’s breadth in the back, a closing of the chest as it touches another’s heart. The connection of your heart chakra to another. (And with the heart chakra as the center point of all the chakras, where the physical and spiritual elements meet, that is some heavy spiritual sh*t.)


Then there’s the throat, an incredibly vulnerable physical place, that finds protection draped over another’s shoulder. Maybe your cheek presses against another’s. Air is closed between you–it’s almost like a connection vacuum, super pure with the capacity of anything to come from it.


The arms circle and squeeze, giving solidarity, continuity. It’s a joining while also being an enveloping, a taking in, a holding close. So much energy exchange goes on here.


Leo Buscaglia, a motivational speaker known as Dr. Love, teaches that we should give and receive 12 hugs a day for optimal health. Mind blowing, but not crazy. I think in my day so far I’ve only given and received four. Noted!


In an age where we can “connect” to people so easily yet in an entirely disconnected way (cough, social media, cough), why not be even more open with our vulnerability? Why not use a hug to say something? Why not connect in a way that might feel uncomfortable at first but could entirely end up shifting your energy?

So, Happy Valentine’s Day, people. Give a hug and spread some love.