Cuddling is a great way to feel connected and nurtured. For most of us, we probably only get cuddles from our partner, or possibly from family and close friends. And we’ll often be thinking about the other person’s experience as well as our own. We might be wondering how they’re feeling, if they’re comfortable, or what they’re thinking about whilst we cuddle them.
But what if you didn’t need to think about any of those things? What if you could be cuddled by someone and not have to cuddle them back? What if you knew the other person was there purely to cuddle you and make you feel safe and nurtured?
What is cuddle therapy?
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what I experienced when I tried cuddle therapy for the first time this month. Lindsay Meadows recently started practising cuddle therapy at About Balance in Brighton, where I also offer Thai massage. One of the great things about being a practitioner there is we get to swap treatments and classes with other practitioners in the ‘trade bank’. So this month I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about and give cuddle therapy a go.
From reading the description, I knew a session could include talking, touching or cuddling, or a combination of all three. As a person-centred counsellor, Lindsay is guided by the client and what feels right at the time. So I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how the session would go. A few months prior to this I had been feeling pretty down and quite lonely and a good cuddle back then probably would have really helped me. But I was feeling much more positive in myself when I went to see Lindsay, so I didn’t know how beneficial the session would be.
What to expect in cuddle therapy
I was very pleasantly surprised. When I entered the room, there was a futon mattress on the floor and soft music playing in the background. After we’d exchanged pleasantries and I’d taken off my shoes, Lindsay invited me to sit on the futon and asked what I hoped to get from the session. We talked for a bit and I told her something of where I was in my life and that I was mainly curious about cuddle therapy and what it was like.
Lindsay explained that the session was very flexible depending on my needs and how I was feeling. At every stage she checked in with me to make sure I was comfortable and relaxed. She asked if she could hold my hand and we then lay down side by side on the futon. She guided us through a breathing exercise, which helped me to focus and relax. And after a while she invited me to rest my head on her shoulder as we moved into a full cuddle!
The power of human touch
We lay cuddling like this for the rest of the session, with Lindsay stroking my arms, back and hair and giving me the odd squeeze now and then. She kept checking in to make sure I was comfortable and we adjusted our position when I wasn’t. We chatted from time to time, most of which was led by me and whether I felt like talking or not. I asked Lindsay a few questions, as I was so intrigued by this type of cuddle therapy. And at some point, our talking naturally went a little deeper. I started talking about a past relationship and how it was still affecting me, and Lindsay listened deeply and offered some valuable insights. She helped me see what I was still holding onto and shared a useful analogy for letting it go.
One of the things I realised while we were cuddling is that I’ve never been in such a long and deep embrace with a woman before. As a heterosexual, I’m used to this type of cuddling being reserved for my male partners only. I know that some people are very tactile and affectionate with their close friends and family members but that’s not necessarily the case for me. So, to be given permission to be in such close physical contact with another person for an extended amount of time, I found very therapeutic. And because she was a woman it had a very nourishing, almost maternal quality to it. It felt very natural and I didn’t feel at all self-conscious.
Cuddling as a form of therapy
One of the things Lindsay was interested in was how the experience might differ if you were single vs. attached. But I actually don’t think it makes a difference. Whether you’re craving human contact or you already have a lot of it in your life, I think anyone can benefit from cuddle therapy. It’s a very different thing to cuddling a lover or partner. I would say it’s more akin to therapy because it’s time out that’s purely for you. It’s a safe space where you can be yourself, say anything in confidence and totally relax. You don’t have to think about the other person; you can just allow yourself to be held, to feel nurtured, to be cuddled to your heart’s content!
The ultimate form of self-love
At the end of the session, we moved slowly and gradually out of the cuddle, just like at the end of a massage. In fact I had a similar, slightly “spaced out” feeling. After I left I realised I was in a really good place. I felt happy, calm and totally blissed out. Those endorphins were flowing like I’d never experienced before and I felt so pleased I’d given cuddle therapy a try – it felt like the ultimate form of self-love! ❤️
If you’d like to try cuddle therapy with Lindsay, you can get in touch with her here. She’s currently offering the first session free.
What’s your experience of cuddling?
Were you cuddled a lot as a child? Do you crave more physical contact in your life right now? How do you think you’d find cuddling as a form of therapy? Are you willing to give it a try?! Let me know in the comments section below, I always love hearing from you.