Every day I am reminded why Green Valley, Arizona is such a wonderfully unique place to live and today was no exception.  Today's Green Valley News headline read:  Free Hugs! They Are Giving Them Away At La Posada.  Staring on Monday October 15 from 9-11 you can get your free hug at Posada Java and, according to the article, can continue to get them for as long as there are people willing to be hugged.

We all know that a hug has the power to make us feel better even on the worst day but did you know that it comes with some surprising health benefits as well? 

Hugging reduces the risk of heart diseases.  High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Studies have also shown that hugging lowers blood pressure and with it reduces the risk of heart diseases. For people with weak hearts or high blood pressure, this one is probably the most important one from all the health benefits of hugging.

Hugging relieves stress and makes you feel calmer.  Several studies have shown that hugging makes you happier (what a surprise!). Hugs increase the level of hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is a trigger for bonding and caring responses. This hormone makes you feel calmer and less anxious.

The Free Hugs Campaign is a is phenomenon that is taking the world by storm.   Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten their lives.  He knew, that sometimes all we really need is a hug. 

When Green Valley, AZ resident Skip Roush read an article about Free Hugs he passed it on to his wife who he knew would run with it.  When his wife Mary passed away unexpectedly in August, Skip felt the need to act on her behalf.  He is one of 30 volunteers who will be donning green "free hug" aprons and giving free hugs along with "I've Been Hugged" stickers at Posada Java in Green Valley Valley Arizona.

Who knows, you may decide that what's even better than a cup of java in the morning at Posada Java is the free hug...a potentially life saving embrace is yours for the asking!