Toronto and Edmonton residents in need of a cuddle are in luck.
Vancouver-based professional cuddling company, the Cuddlery, is expanding to the cities in coming weeks, offering private cuddling sessions with trained cuddlers.
It may sound a bit strange at first, but the company's owner, Marylen Reid, says a good cuddle can be healing.
“Cuddles can help so many people feel better,” Reid told the Edmonton Sun.
The company offers various cuddling packages. A basic 30-minute cuddle, without massage and skin-to-skin contact, typically costs $35. While a two-hour cuddle, with massage, lightly dressed skin-to-skin contact and crisis mode care can cost up to $260. In times of crisis, the first available cuddler is dispatched to offer emotional support and "a shoulder to cry on," according to the company's website.
While the company offers a range of cuddling services, sexual favours are strictly prohibited, Reid told CBC News.
The Cuddlery services, which can be offered at the cuddler's home, the client's home or in a public place, are always filmed in case of harassment claims.
As it expands, the company is currently hiring cuddlers that are good listeners, affectionate and reliable. All candidates must demonstrate their relaxed cuddling skills via Skype, according to CBC. The Cuddlery also offers a course called "Become an Excellent Cuddler" in Vancouver, which teaches regular folks how to cuddle better in their daily lives.
While Reid says she understands people may be uneasy with the idea of physical contact with a complete stranger, it can help with emotional disturbances.
“I can say in the first minutes people will feel that it’s weird because people are not used to cuddling with strangers,” she told CBC. “But as soon as you start being in someone’s arms, it disappears in two or three minutes.”
Several studies over the years have revealed this to be true.
On such example is a 2012 study by University of California's San Diego School of Medicine. Scientists found the oxytocin released by cuddling is effective in helping to manage depression, reports Prevention.com.
While it may not be for everyone, some no-strings-attached cuddling definitely has its perks. After all, who doesn't need a hug once in a while?
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