Mrs. Eugenia Del Carmen Díaz Saavedra

If you have the chance to visit our school you´ll see a sign at the entrance that says: I invite you to give us a hug instead of a jab (of course it makes a perfect rhyme in Spanish). The sign was placed to encourage students to stop violence and live in harmony. Also to inspire them to create new signs to be read by all the students and visitors, as it were for me. It led me to learn more about hugs and their effects on people´s emotions.

In my research I found out that there is a movement called Free Hugs Campaign, created in 2004. The purpose is to offer hugs to strangers in order to give affection trying to release them from their mistrust and problems.

Free Hugs Campaign is a practical part of the concept of

Transactional Analysis proposed by Claude M.

Steiner. It is a theory of personality

and a systematic psychotherapy of personal growth

and personal change.  It is described in Steiner´s

book, A Warm Fuzzy Tale.


The Free Hugs Campaign was started by an Australian man known by the pseudonym of “Juan Mann” .There is also a music video on YouTube by the Australian band Sick Puppies, which made this campaign become internationally famous in 2006. The video has been viewed over 73 million times.

Did you know that physical affection can help the brain, the heart and other body systems you might never have imagined? The response to love and affection is a hormone called oxytocin, and it is mostly made in the brain area called hypothalamus. Some is released into our bloodstream, but its effect is thought to reside in the brain. This hormone makes us feel good when we´re close to our loved ones including pets and family members. It also lowers the levels of stress, reduces blood pressure, improves our mood, increases tolerance to pain, and even speeds wounds to heal. This effect acts through the dopamine reward system and is responsible of helping us perceive pleasure. Problems in this system can lead to serious depression or mental illness.