Did you know hugging helps lower our stress throughout the day? It also gives our immune system a healthy boost and might even play an effective role in lowering heart rates and blood pressure. But would you want to reap these benefits by hugging a cow? Apparently, the world is opening its arms to the idea (pun intended) and is all about ‘cow cuddling’! This new global wellness craze is being relied on to help reduce stress, increase positivity, and rapidly gaining popularity across the world. Also known as Koe Knuffelen, the process involves heading out into the countryside, touring local farms, and spending up to three hours hugging cows. This time last year, Airbnb came up with something similar called ‘Animal Experiences’ where one goes beyond petting your pet pooch; the program involved doing yoga with goats or hiking with penguins, and co-existing with animals to enjoy their existence, attributes, and nature. Cow hugging or “Koe Knuffelen” originated in the rural town of Reuver, The Netherlands and is now being observed in farms from Switzerland and even the United States is now offering the new form of therapy to visitors. For those wondering why cows are the chosen ones for this process, it is because thanks to a cow’s soft thick fur, it’s believed oxytocin levels are boosted when we hug them. The calming effects of curling up with a pet or emotional support animal is heightened when cuddling with larger animals.
José van Stralen, who runs Farmsurvival in the Netherlands, started offering cow hugging sessions six years ago. In his opinion, “It’s a positive energy exchange. The person cuddling the cow becomes relaxed by being next to the cow’s warmer body and sometimes even manages to follow their heartbeat. It’s a win-win situation and a great experience for both”. Similarly, Mountain Horse Farm in New York is spread across 33 acres of sprawling space and offers guests cow and horse cuddling therapy sessions costing $75 an hour.
[Via: Country Living]