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A Hug a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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When’s the last time you’ve gotten, or given, a hug? If it’s been awhile, committing to more hugging is a simple way to not only feel happier but also be physically healthier. Human touch is a complex phenomenon, one that’s linked to the release of feel-good hormones and other physiological reactions in your body.

Hugging is just one example, and it’s a powerful one. Even on particularly trying days, such as when you’re embroiled in relationship problems, a hug can improve your mood by increasing positive feelings and decreasing negative ones. This isn’t just hearsay; a recent study published in PLOS One revealed this intriguing fact after a study of more than 400 adults.1

Each was interviewed nightly for two weeks and asked about mood, any relationship conflicts and whether or not they’d received a hug. As expected, relationship conflict was associated with an increase in negative feelings while the opposite held true for hugs.

However, on days when the participants were in conflict but also received a hug, they reported more positive feelings than days when they did not get a hug — and the positive effect even continued on to the next day.

Study coauthor Michael Murphy, a postdoctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease, told Time, “A very simple, straightforward behavior — hugging — might be an effective way of supporting both men and women who are experiencing conflict in their relationships.”2

Hugging Reduces Stress

The reason behind hugs’ feel-good prowess isn’t entirely known, but the Carnegie Mellon researchers suggest one valuable facet is their ability to buffer against stressors. Specifically, hugs “increase perceptions of social support availability by tangibly conveying care and empathy without communicating to receivers that the receivers are ineffective.”3

In other words, wrapping your arms around somebody shows them physically that you care and are there for them, thereby reducing stress levels. Further, both the giver and the receiver of the hug may benefit. In a study of 20 romantic couples, one partner received a medical scan while the partner stood nearby receiving electric shocks.

When support giving, such as holding a partner’s arm while they’re in pain, occurred, activity increased in the brain’s ventral striatum, a reward-related region also involved in maternal behavior, as well as in the septal area, which is associated with maternal behavior and fear attenuation.4

This suggests that even the person doing the physical supporting experienced benefits akin with reduced stress. A 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, also reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. This makes sense, since hugging is known to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

In fact, when such “warm partner contact” occurred prior to a stressful public speaking task, participants had lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who received no such contact.

“These findings suggest that affectionate relationships with a supportive partner may contribute to lower reactivity to stressful life events and may partially mediate the benefit of marital support on better cardiovascular health,” researchers noted.5

Hugging Is Good for Your Heart

January 21 is National Hugging Day, an event created by Kevin Zaborney of Caro, Michigan, reportedly to increase public displays of emotion. Zaborney believed that hugging could help facilitate human communication,6 although it’s also known to boost heart health.

In addition to lowering heart rate, “the positive emotional experience [of hugging] gives rise to biochemical and physiological reactions, such as a higher magnitude of plasma oxytocin, norepinephrine, cortisol and changes in blood pressure.”7

Research presented at the 2004 annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society also found that when couples spoke privately for five minutes, watched a romantic video and hugged, women had higher levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin along with lower levels of the stress hormone norepinhephrine and blood pressure.

“It may well be … that oxytocin triggers physiologic changes that help to protect women’s hearts,” the editor of Critical Care Nurse explained.8 Indeed, still other research has revealed that, among postmenopausal women, frequent hugs between partners are associated with lower blood pressure and heart rate and higher levels of oxytocin.9

Hugging Might Boost Your Immune System, Help Prevent Colds

Hugging may increase production of feel-good endorphins in your body, which in turn strengthen your immune system.10 Further, they may also lower your risk of infection by buffering the effects of stress that, left unchecked, will increase your susceptibility to disease.

Typically, if you’re under stress (including that induced from conflicts in relationships), you’re at an increased risk of contracting illnesses like the common cold. However, when stressed participants were exposed to a cold virus, perceived social support and hugs were found to buffer the effects of stress, protecting against the expected rise in infection risk.

As revealed in one study, hugging provided 32 percent of the beneficial effect. The study’s lead researcher said:11

“This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress …

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy … Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”

The pressure of a hug may also stimulate your thymus gland, which is responsible for the regulation and balance of your white blood cells,12 another way in which hugging may support your immune system.

Touching Helps Keep You Happy

Whether it be hugging, cuddling, massage therapy or even a pat on the back or a touch on the arm, human touch is an integral part of well-being. Massage, for instance, affects your nervous system through nerve endings in your skin, stimulating the release of endorphins and inducing relaxation and a sense of well-being, relieving pain and reducing levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline.

This, in turn, may slow heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lower raised blood pressure. Even less involved touching, like a pat on the back, may have benefits, helping to instill trust and spread goodwill. Among National Basketball Association (NBA) players, teams that touched more had improved performance, even after accounting for player status and early season performance.

“Tactile communication, or physical touch, promotes cooperation between people, communicates distinct emotions, soothes in times of stress, and is used to make inferences of warmth and trust,” researchers wrote in the journal Emotion. “Consistent with hypotheses, early season touch predicted greater performance for individuals as well as teams later in the season.”13

Touch is even described as a universal language that can communicate distinct emotions with startling accuracy. One study found that touch alone can reveal emotions including anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude and sympathy, with accuracy rates of up to 83 percent.14

Are You Touch Deprived and ‘Skin Hungry’?

It’s well-known that infants raised without enough physical touch experience problems with development and are at increased risk of behavioral, emotional and social problems in adulthood. Yet, physical touch may be a need that continues throughout all life stages.

People with a deprivation of affection suffer from negative effects in areas of health, happiness, social support and relationship satisfaction. It’s also associated with loneliness, depression, stress and mood and anxiety disorders.15 Certain populations are more at risk than others, with men and the elderly at the high end of the spectrum.

Research by Kory Floyd, Ph.D. of the University of Arizona, even suggests we’re experiencing a “crisis of skin hunger.” Not only do more Americans live alone than ever before but 1 in 4 lack a close confidante with whom to talk about important issues. Further, he writes, 3 out of 4 adults agrees with the statement, “Americans suffer from skin hunger.” Floyd continues:16

“We normally associate hunger with food, of course — but we don’t feel hunger simply because we want food. We feel hunger because we need food, just as we feel thirsty because we need water, and tired because we need sleep.

Our bodies know what they require to function properly, and research suggests that affection belongs on that list, right behind food, water and rest. Just as lack of food, water and rest have their detrimental effects, so too does the lack of affection.”

In addition to the health risks noted above, people with skin hunger are also more likely to have trouble expressing and interpreting emotion, a condition known as alexithymia. They’re also less likely to form secure attachments with others.

How to Get More Hugs

Many people can secure more hugs in their life simply by making a concerted effort to be more affectionate with family members and friends. Remember, giving hugs is as beneficial as receiving them, so make a point to initiate hugs often with your partner and other loved ones. If you live alone and don’t have someone to hug on a daily basis, there are other options to get more touch in your life.

Professional cuddle centers have popped up in some cities, which let you pay for a nonsexual hug or cuddle. Getting a massage or making an appointment with a chiropractor or reiki master are other viable options.

You can also make a habit of greeting your friends with a hug. Hugs of the nonhuman variety, given to your dog or cat, for example, can also be gratifying, and if that’s not an option, even hugging a teddy bear may help.

Ultimately, the more physical affection you receive, the happier and healthier you’re likely to be. Your body needs hugs and other forms of touch just like it needs food and water, so make an effort to get more hugs daily.

If you’re wondering how many hugs is ideal, the late psychotherapist Virginia Satir famously said, “We need [four] hugs a day for survival. We need [eight] hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”17



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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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