Ah, there is nothing quite like a kiss! The way it crawls into the core of our heart, many of us find ourselves getting lost daydreaming about that adoring smooch with our significant other. While it’s an incredible way to express or receive affection, researchers discovered puckering up not only strengthens bonding while amplifying happy hormones, but can be a micro-workout in itself (where do we sign up for that job?!).
Practiced among romantic partners in an estimated 90 percent of cultures around the world, kissing isn’t just great for relationships and a totally fun exercise to do (because, come on!). It's also awesome for your health with an extensive range of benefits.
To give you just another excuse to get your kiss on, we share seven of the most amazing health benefits to K-I-S-S-I-N-G that will have you indulging.
As it turns out, our five-year-old self was right all along — cooties are the real deal! Well, sort of. For every 10 seconds we spend kissing our sweetheart, 80 million bacteria pass from swapping spit. Might seem kind of icky, but those shared germs are actually helping to boost our immune system and build defenses. Since research from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses suggests that kissing can actually help ward off future infections, it’s no wonder a pucker a day can really keep the doctor away.
Reduces Pain and Stress
According to author, Andrea Dermijian of Kissing Now a good old make-out session is a fun way to relieve pain stemming from headaches and menstrual cramps. As a natural method to de-stress, passionate kissing has been proven to relieve tension, reduce negative energy and produce a sense of well-being that ultimately lowers your cortisol — also known as that pesky stress hormone!
Makes Us Happier
In addition to improving our mood by increasing the body’s feel-good hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, kissing is a natural relaxant that increases and fortifies the romantic attachment chemical, dopamine. By triggering the same areas of our brain linked to rewards, a sweet kiss on the lips can stimulate the release of sebum through its sensory neurons, which help in the role of bonding.
Tones Facial Muscles
Surprisingly, kissing requires 146 facial muscles that mostly involve the muscles around our mouth also known as the “orbicularis oris.” This just means the more you kiss your partner, the more your cheeks, neck and jawline will stay tight and firm. Talk about sealing youthful skin with a kiss!
Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that passionate kissing not only helps lower your blood pressure, but also gives your heart a healthy workout. By dilating blood vessels, each kiss has the ability to help blood flow with healthy circulation to all your vital organs. In addition to creating adrenaline, which causes our heart to pump more blood around our body, kissing also stabilizes cardiovascular activity and decreases cholesterol.
While you might not burn enough to make the guilt of your favorite fast food treat go away, kissing can burn two to six calories a minute. Sure, it might seem like a little bit — but every little bit counts, right? With a one-minute make-out session being equivalent to burning off a handful of M&Ms or that glass of wine, it doesn’t hurt to make the most of every moment.
Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Besides making you feel appreciated and easing your state of mind, kissing does wonders for self-esteem and confidence. German studies discovered men who got a passionate daily kiss from their wives before leaving for work made more money. Demirjian explains if someone leaves home happy, they’re more inclined to be productive at work because they're not feeling emotionally distressed. Kissing boosts confidence when we feel deeply loved and connected.