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Today is National Hugging Day. Actually it's celebrated around the world and was the idea in 1986 of American Kevin Zaborney who happened to know someone who knew someone who could get it into Chase's Calendar of Events, a popular reference for those working in marketing and PR.

Hugging reduces blood pressure and increases oxytocin, which is easy to say but the benefits of that are more complex and anyway, only happen with hugs lasting more than 20 seconds.

A raised oxytocin hormone level increases feelings of bonding with in-group members, improves feelings of trust and attachment and modulates fear and anxiety. However it decreases acceptance of out-group members, increases envy, schadenfreude and speeds the expression of disgust. It has been hypothesised that the hormone may be a factor in xenophobic tendencies .

It also works with your dog, if you have one.

Remember to get consent first.