DENVER (KDVR) — Showing and receiving affection is something many look forward to. It can also be beneficial to your health.

Research shows that hugging, kissing, and cuddling can actually increase hormone levels, boost your immune system, and lower your blood pressure.

What are the benefits of showing affection?

Here’s why researchers believe showing affection could be beneficial:

1. Hormones

According to research from Harvard Medical School, showing affection can actually boost oxytocin levels in your body.

“Just the simple act of touch seems boost oxytocin release. Giving someone a massage, cuddling, making love, or giving someone a hug leads to higher levels of this hormone and a greater sense of well-being,” Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch said.

Oxytocin is a hormone that’s produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland, Harvard Medical School said.

2. Improved immune system

Hugging could actually help your immune system. The American Heart Association said that research published in 2014 in Psychological Science explained how.

“More than 400 adults were assessed for their stress levels and how often they received hugs. Then they exposed them to the cold virus. The hug-deprived people got sick more often and more seriously than those who reported lots of hugs,” AHA said.

“When we feel happy and cared for we feel safe and excited about the future, which helps reduce stress and depression which can lead to a weak immune system,” SCL Health’s Intermountain Healthcare said.

3. Lower blood pressure

Along with an improved immune system, hugs can actually reduce your blood pressure, especially for women.

“In a study of 59 women, those who hugged their partners more often had a lower resting blood pressure than the women who rarely engaged in physical touch,” Penn Medicine said.

In an article by the American Heart Association, Dr. Corrin Cross, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles said that hugging can help us feel connected.

“We know from lots of studies that feeling connected does improve your health. It reduces your stress, your blood pressure, your anxiety,” Cross explained.

Happy Valentine’s Day and happy hugging!