As far as I remember I was always a “huggy guy”.
What I did not know up until a few years ago that there is such a profession and one can become a certified and insured cuddle therapist.
So in 2019… it’s became official in my life as well 🙂
First, back then, it all sounded weird when I started to read about it and saw videos about people offering cuddle therapy sessions.
Then I realised that as a matter of fact… I was jealous: they are doing something I absolutely love to do as well but it would have never occurred to me to take this long time existing inclination – and as it turns out by now, gift as well – to the point of therapeutically offer it to other people… let alone asking money for that.
And then it turns out that cuddle therapy is becoming a trend and it is a more and more sought for tactile therapy: in our touch deprived society – especially after the times of lock down – there is a lack of natural, platonic, nourishing touch.
Combine this with the growing number of research and scientific evidence around how physical touch is necessary during our childhood for developing some of our fundamental coping and emotional skills or how strokes and nourishing touch facilitates and speeds up our healing and recovery process during and after an illness… and bingo, you got this amazing combination of a therapeutical modality that – to put it really, really simple – is enjoyable and efficient at the same time.
And if that would not be enough – a fundamental aspect of cuddle therapy is to enhance our skills in clearly expressing our needs and boundaries, so it is about interpersonal communication as well – learning how to say yes and to mean yes, and how to say no and to mean no. Something I guess none of us would mind to become a bit better at.
And just to make it clear and sum it up: at the heart of cuddle therapy there is this amazing learning and evolving experience of sharing genuine, authentic, intimate connection with another human being in a safe and uplifting way. That is it.
So what does a cuddle therapy session look like from a practical point of view?
Initially we are seated on a sofa and we just talk.
We get to know each other a bit, I explain the framework of a session, and I get to know from you what brought you to the session… and if it is not clear, I will facilitate our conversation to define what that is.
And by the way, sometimes, we just don’t know exactly why we came – and that is fine too. We just know that we had to come and try it. Or do it again.
After our initial chat we just “plunge” into it… of course step by step as this is how a session builds up anyway – one step at a time, there is no rush.
A cuddle therapy session can include eye gazing, breathing together, holding hands or cuddling and we would only move forward and do something if it feels right and natural for both of us.
So yes – as many people, wrongly, think that this is the “essence” of cuddle therapy… – we might end up lying next to each other or spooning, but maybe we just hold each others’ hands or stay seated in a hug for the whole session and chat or keep quiet.
There is no end result or goal we are aiming for: sometimes the biggest learning and the most liberating experience lies in realising that we thought we want something, then trying it out we feel that actually we don’t enjoy it that much, and then it turns and that it is possible and OK to stop and change our mind. Yes! 🙂
In my view the greatest gift of cuddle therapy is the bliss that is coming from the intention of being in the present moment… and being in the present moment… and being in the present moment.
Apparently, this by now cliché of being here and now, combined with the oxytocin released by the nourishing physical contact of two human beings in a safe environment carries in itself the possibility of healing, restoring trust and opening up to a more enjoyable and connected way of expressing ouselves in the world.
We deeply need that… as individuals, also as our society.