|Benefits of kissing:
* Boosts self-esteem
* Relieves tension
* Burns calories
* May improve dental health
* Increases heart rate
'Tis the season for more kissing.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, the mistletoe will go up and people will pucker up.
Kissing offers more positive physical and psychological benefits than people may realize.
"I'd think the biggest benefit would be the emotional impact of being wanted and loved, and that makes you healthy," said Mary Hill, a certified family nurse practitioner at Hartshorn Health Service.
Kissing can be a form of stress relief, Hill said. It helps relieve tension that can suppress your immune system.
However, Hill warns that kissing is also a fast way to spread mononucleosis, called "the kissing disease," and colds. A person is most contagious when he or she is first coming down with something and has a fever. Once the fever is gone an individual is less likely to spread the illness.
Michael Christian, pen name William Cane, author of "The Art of Kissing" said kissing is a great way to express love for one's partner and that is the best reason to kiss.
"It's very romantic. It keeps people close," Christian said.
After a passionate kiss, such as a French kiss, endorphins stay in the system for up to four hours, he said.
Christian recommends three different types of kisses from the 30 he identifies in his book. He said men's overall favorite kiss is a French kiss and that most women like having their necks and ears kissed the most.
One kiss both sexes enjoy is the "lip-o-suction kiss," which involves the boy kissing the upper lip of the girl while she kisses his bottom lip – then they switch, Christian said.
"You can bite in and kiss in a pulsating action. There is no tongue involved," Christian said.
Kissing also burns an average of 1.6 calories per minute, depending on the intensity of the kiss, and creates an adrenaline rush, he said. Cardiovascular rates increase too.
Nathan Proper, a junior electrical engineering major, said he feels relaxed and euphoric when kissing and his pulse races when he kisses someone that he has feelings for.
He described kissing as a "physical manifestation of good feelings."
H. Chris Yurk, a dentist at the health center, said kissing increases saliva flow. The extra saliva, which contains calcium carbonate, washes over the surface of the teeth and helps strengthen the enamel.
"To make a permanent change in saliva flow it would take a lot of kissing," Yurk said.
Ryan Stucky, junior mechanical engineering major, said the health benefits of kissing are a wonderful thing.
"Here's to health, pucker up," Stucky said.
Free readership service from Michael Christian: Christian will answer any questions free if sent to him on his Web site, www.kissing.com.