The Single-Person’s Hug

Some people just want to be held, but there isn’t anyone who can do it justice. Why not use the world’s technology advantage and make a machine that does the hugging a person just can’t. The Bio-hug is a battery-powered vest that is designed to trigger the release of the hormone “oxytocin”, which lowers your blood pressure, calms you down, and reduces your stress levels, specifically cortisol levels. It has pre-programmed settings to give hugs at specific intervals and parts of the body, in order to hit those specific nerves.

Tested in North Carolina, patients who wore the vest for only ten seconds had their levels of oxytocin raised and their cortisol levels lowered, with a 10-point reduction in diastolic and systolic pressure.

From the successful of the first test in North Carolina, an additional two trials will be done. The first will consist of 40 patients with chronic pain at the Ichilov Hospital in Israel. Half of the people will wear the vest and the other half will solely be in their medication. Then, the second trial will be with 100 patients, from the same hospital, testing in the same way. Both will last for six months, using the vest for 20 minutes a day.

William Platt, the lead clinician for pain medicine at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, questions, “whether artificial hugs provided by this vest, without the compassion and empathy shown by an individual, can produce the same soothing and comforting result.” A good thought to think about. But, this, for a fact, is simple yet highly effective to say the least.