By: Tina Novotny

The digital age offers enhanced human connection, but many say we’ve lost the common touch – literally. 

Tara Graves wants to do something about that for National Hug Day on January 21.

On behalf of her touch therapy practice, Affinity Touch, Graves will be at Elpida Café & Roastery giving out free hugs that Tuesday, and the first 100 huggees will receive a complimentary Affinity Touch wristband. 

“Hugs are our social glue and actually benefit our health and wellbeing,” says Graves, echoing the philosophy of the global movement that was started in the United States by Michigan’s Kevin Zaborney in 1986. 


“In today’s world, there are so many no touch policies, but touch is our first language. It’s taken away the good, friendly touch, the hug from the teacher, the pat on the back. We are in a touch deprived society,” says Graves.

That’s why she developed her light touch approach, using her background in reflexology to create a new type of therapy. 

Graves says touching increases serotonin levels and much more. “It releases oxytocin, which is called the bonding hormone.”

Graves says she needs hugs as much as the next person, since she’s had to put away her Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat for the winter – she’s a drag racer too!

So whichever brain chemicals you’re chasing, head to the Elpida Café & Roastery at 14 The Queensway South to celebrate National Hug Day on January 21.

To find out more about Affinity Touch, visit

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