Cuddle Therapy: A New Way to Feel Connected

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In today’s fast-paced world, many of us are anxious, burned out and lack personal relationships. But there’s a new way to unwind and feel connected. It’s called cuddle therapy and you can get it right here in Connecticut.

“Cuddle Therapy is a healing modality for people to feel connected and to feel intimacy and to receive non-sexual connections,” explained Amanda Ananda, a certified professional “cuddler” with Cuddlist.

Ananda says she’s the first professional cuddler on the east coast.

“Our society is suffering from touch deprivation,” Ananda explained. “Over 50 percent of Americans live alone, live single, and they’re not getting their touch needs met. The way we interact as a society is very keep your hands to yourself.”

That’s where Ananda comes in. Her cuddling sessions often start on the couch.

“The first five to ten minutes I’ll discuss what types of touch do you like or not like, what are your boundaries and your preferences,” she said.

The sessions are client led. They decide what forms of cuddling they are most comfortable with.

“There’s a lot of hand holding and affection in that just light touch,” she explained. “Most people like their heads being touched in some form.”

Research shows cuddling releases oxytocin, the hormone that makes you feel good as well as connected to others.

“Oxytocin reduces your blood pressure and your stress hormone cortisol,” Ananda explained. “As well as boosts your immune system and just has deep relaxation effects on the body.”

For the past year, Damian Paglia has been visiting Ananda for cuddle sessions.

“It’s really nice to have the loving presence of someone else and just receive a heartfelt connection,” he explained. “I generally carry a lot of angst and anxiety, and sometimes have a pretty, pretty low feelings. Overall it’s just a great way to feel just healthier.”

Ananda says she not only offers a comforting touch, but an ear to listen.

“In a lot of ways, I become a good companion and friend for them,” Ananda explained. “I’m just very supportive. Really, it’s an honor to get to know people that deeply and to be able to support them on their journey.”

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