If you watched the season 19 premiere of KUWTK, then you saw Kourt’s latest quest to be more affectionate through human touch—think long hugs and group cuddling. As we already shared, a proper hug should last 15 to 20 seconds to truly release the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. Now on to cuddling…
At the beginning of the year (pre-pandemic) we took a field trip to The Love Dome, a cuddle sanctuary in Venice, California, to learn more about the benefits and the fascinating job of a professional cuddler. Disclaimer: The episode was filmed before COVID-19 hit the states, and we do not recommend group cuddling at the moment given social distancing regulations.
That said, we did have an interesting day learning firsthand how cuddling can boost your mood and push you out of your comfort zone. What is a cuddle sanctuary? Great question. It’s a studio where people pay to be cuddled … yes, by a stranger. Sounds bizarre, because it is, but it’s meant for those needing human touch. Jean Franzblau, the woman who trained us at The Love Dome, shared that most clients live alone or are dealing with touch deprivation and are looking for an outlet to connect with other humans. Not in a sexual way (get your mind out of the gutter), though Jean did say it’s common for clients to get aroused, in which case she adjusts the cuddle position or takes a quick break to allow things to reset. She even recommends thanking your body for functioning properly (an odd but very positive outlook for this unique situation).
Not only are there unexpected benefits of cuddling, but there are several different “professional” positions. We’ll start with the health and mental perks of body-to-body interaction and then do our best to explain the variety of positions.
So what are the benefits of cuddling?
Research has shown that touch can help communicate emotions like sympathy and gratitude, creating a heightened connection with loved ones. Oxytocin is released when you cuddle (hugs count too), which can help form a stronger bond with your friends and family and simply put make you feel good. It can also boost cells responsible for keeping a strong immune system.
If you have high blood pressure, consider adding a cuddle session to your wellness routine, as warm human contact has a relaxing effect and has been connected to better cardiovascular health. For some, cuddling can be very therapeutic and relieve stress and anxiety by increasing your body’s serotonin and dopamine levels.
Aside from traditional positions like spooning, half spoon, and back-to-back cuddling, Jean introduced us to two more moves to add to our cuddling rotation.
The Oxytocin Hug
How to: Sit facing each other with legs crossed and close enough so your thighs are touching. Next, wrap your arms around one another’s neck and then rest your head on the other person’s shoulder. Hold this position for at least 15 to 20 seconds to allow the release of oxytocin.
The Lap of Luxury
How to: The giver will sit up straight with legs relaxed, and the receiver places their head on the giver’s lap for a cozy cuddle session. The giver can even gently stroke the receiver’s hair for added calmness and close connection.
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