What Is Cow Cuddling Therapy? This Adorable Form of Stress Reduction, Explained

Cows and humans can benefit from a little extra snuggling.

Lauren Wellbank - Author
By

May 28 2024, Published 12:42 p.m. ET

Cow cuddling therapy
Source: gracechorneyko/TikTok

There are tons of different options available for people looking for a little help with their mental health, including a variety of different medications and therapies. While some folks benefit more from certain treatments than others, there is one therapy that seems especially geared towards those who need a little extra physical contact in their lives: cow cuddling therapy.

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Humans may not be the only ones who benefit from this type of treatment. This emotionally soothing activity may have serve a higher purpose for the cows doing the cuddling as well. Continue reading to learn more about cow cuddling therapy, including where you can try it for yourself.

Cow cuddling therapy
Source: dumblefarm/TikTok
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What is cow cuddling?

While cow cuddling therapy (or cow hugging, as it's known in some places) is billed as a snuggly retreat, the experience doesn't only involve hugging the bovines.

In addition to hugging, people can choose to sit with them, gently groom them, and even mediate alongside them during their therapy session, which typically lasts around an hour. These sessions target a whole array of senses, and people will often experience different sensations, smells, sights, and sounds during their visits.

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What are the benefits of cow cuddling therapy?

According to Psychology Today, there are plenty of benefits to this type of therapy, which include stress reduction. This happens thanks to the body's oxytocin response. Oxytocin — often called the "love hormone" or "cuddle hormone" — does more than just reduce stress, though. It's also responsible for creating an overall sense of well-being.

In addition to the body's chemical response, people may also achieve a heightened state of mindfulness during their session. And experts believe that those who have experienced issues with their mental health or emotional trauma may especially benefit from the emotional support provided by the cows during these moments of unguarded affection.

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How much does cow cuddling cost?

If you're curious about cow cuddling and want to know how much you can expect to pay, you're likely to get a few different answers depending on where you look. I checked prices online and saw some farms charge as little as $10 for an hour, while others charge $150 for the experience. If you're hoping to give this a try without breaking the bank, I suggest shopping around for the best deal in your area — ideally at an animal sanctuary, rather than a farm.

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A study in May 2024 determined that cows may prefer to be cuddled by women over men.

While people of all genders can enjoy their cow cuddling therapy sessions, a 2024 study published in the New Scientist says that cows may prefer having women in their company. That could have more to do with how openly affectionate the women are with the cows though since the researchers noted that they were twice as likely to kiss the cows than the men who took part in the study.

It does seem like the cows are enjoying the extra attention as much as the people do, as many of the cows involved in these services are often rescued or in need of rehabilitation. With how many benefits this unusual therapy seems to provide, it stands to reason that a lot more people are going to want to get in on the trend.

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