We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth
—Virginia Satir, family therapist

~~~~~

Hugging comes naturally to Kajal Basu, a 37-year-old journalist. "It loosens you up and breaks the bonds of body as well as of society. The more ritualistic ways of greeting people, handshakes and namastes, are designed to keep us apart rather than bring us together," he argues.

Sensing the need, many people are creating their own personal growth courses for children. First-time entrants include Excel Training Forum and Sankalp, both run by retired defense personnel in Delhi, India.

R. Chandran, a reiki master based in Mumbai, India, says that hugging is a tool of transformation. "Hugging brings people closer to each other. If your relationship with somebody is not working, try hugging him 20 times a day and there will be a significant difference," he guarantees. Comparing hugging to reiki, the currently popular touch therapy based on the transfer of energy, he says the area of touch is much larger in the case of hugging and the contact is much more intimate, so the effects are subtler.

Chandran's reiki initiates remember the tight, prolonged embraces he gives them on meeting! Or parting. "My intention in the act is also to transfer energy. The effect is so distinct that people feel the difference," he says.

Indeed, many spiritual gurus, such as Mata Amritanandmayi, hug their disciples a lot, perhaps to pass on the divine energy.

Touch has come full circle in the West this century. Time was when parents and hospitals were advised to leave a crying baby alone. Today the pediatricians and psychologists tell us to pick up and cuddle our children. Toys, even teddy bears, whose use has been increasing in the recent decades, are a poor substitute for the human contact needed by children.

~~~~~~~

The Hug

No moving parts, no batteries.

No monthly payments and no fees;

Inflation proof, non-taxable,

In fact, it's quite relaxable.

It can't be stolen, won't pollute,

One size fits all, do not dilute.

It uses little energy,

But yields results enormously.

~~~~~

Relieves your tension and your stress,

Invigorates your happiness;

Combats depression, makes you beam,

And elevates your self-esteem!

Your circulation it corrects

Without unpleasant side effects.

It is, I think, the perfect drug.

May I prescribe, my friend....the hug!

(and of course, fully returnable!) 

~~~~~

My Cyber Friend

I haven't ever seen you,
But I know you are really there;
I click you into reality
Like magic from the air.
Your voice is like an angel,
Though I really do not hear;
Your hug as warm as any
Of loved ones I hold dear.
You are always there for comfort,
Or a word of cheer;
Though you are very far away,
I always have you near.
You are a very special friend,
Like none I have ever known;
As long as you are in cyberspace
I will never be alone.

~~~~~

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