“I get really upset some days, and I really just wish I had someone there to cuddle.”
As a therapist, I’m always exploring modalities to provide greater client benefits, particularly for stress relief. I’m especially interested in natural therapies that augment and support the body’s innate healing wisdom. When I discover a therapeutic process that I can teach others to use at home, and thus empower them, I’m even happier. Cuddle therapy ticks all these boxes, and so much more too!
Admittedly, I was initially sceptical of something so intimate, but the innate simplicity of cuddling made perfect sense – after all, I’m a hugger of both people and trees … lol! Once I began cuddling clients, this became the most obvious means of connecting and forging greater bonds almost instantly. In this intimate space, where firm boundaries and codes of conduct are well established, communication naturally begins to flow effortlessly.
Speaking one’s truth becomes much easier when we feel comforted and supported, enabling pain and suffering to be soothed quickly too. Besides this, my clients can receive added benefits too – my skillset includes being an EFT ‘tapping’ practitioner and Stress Consultant with more than a decade’s experience, plus I’m a Hospice trained Caregiver too …
Understandably not everyone is “touchy-feely”, and that’s perfectly OK too. For the “touchy-feely”, Cuddle therapy is a blissful experience with amazing benefits …
What exactly is Cuddle Therapy?
Cuddle Therapy is purely platonic, non-sexual and non-invasive therapeutic process that is not only safe, but very specific to supporting one’s innate need, or cravings, of basic human touch. Being cuddled helps recipients to feel accepted, appreciated, approved of, and at their core, loved. Our strict boundaries and codes of conduct ensure a safe, comfortable space for both client and cuddler alike.
Frequent cuddling helps foster feelings of general wellbeing, safety, security, confidence, joy, happiness and peace of mind too. There’s something deeply comforting, and soothing, about being wrapped in someone’s arms – it’s an enormously gratifying experience too.
Cuddle Therapy Benefits
Cuddling stimulates the production of oxytocin in the pituitary gland. Oxytocin counteracts cortisol, the stress hormone, so frequent cuddles reduces the detrimental effects of stress, while increasing one’s levels of joy and happiness levels, which also naturally counter stress.
Oxytocin is a natural antidepressant, and feel good hormone, also known as the ‘bliss hormone’ or ‘love hormone’. Simultaneously, Cuddle Therapy stimulates the production of three other important feel good chemicals – endorphins (associated with feelings of pleasure, euphoria), serotonin (the mood stabiliser chemical nerve cells produce), and dopamine (the ‘pleasure-reward’ neurotransmitter). The combination of these four essential ‘feel good’ chemicals is what makes Cuddle Therapy pleasurable, and contributes to the many awesome benefits, such as:
- Decreases stress (reduces cortisol, thes tress hormone)
- Calms and relaxes mind and body – it’s that blissful “Ahhhh” feeling
- Mood enhancer, increasing joy and happiness
- Reduces aggression
- Reduces PTSD
- Reduces anxiety, especially social awkwardness
- Boosts affection
- Helps you sleep well, reducing insomnia
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces heart disease risks
- Relieves pain – oxytocin blocks pain signals
- Lowers inflammation
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduces cravings and weight gain
- Strengthens bonding in relationships
- Improves confidence and self esteem
- Improves overall health and wellbeing
Why cuddling helps combat stress
All of the above are the positives benefits of Cuddle Therapy in terms of reducing one’s day to day or chronic stress. It’s a also well-known, people who feel safe and secure within themselves, and in their relationships, tend to cope with stress far more effectively.
Having the comfort of a loving supportive relationship, be it with your parents, siblings or friends is nurturing, which in itself reduces stress – simply knowing someone always has your back, no matter how trying or problematic the situation may be, is deeply reassuring.
Additionally, knowing you’re loved and supported makes one feel courageous enough to take on, and cope with almost any stressful situation. This innate sense of safety and security goes a long way to effectively combating life’s daily or unexpected stresses. Frequent cuddles will undoubtedly reduce the detrimental effects of stress.
Who is Cuddle Therapy suitable for?
Anyone! Seriously … Cuddle Therapy is beneficial for everyone regardless of your age, culture etc. Who doesn’t like to feel great?
Many couples develop stressful relationship problems purely because one or both partner’s basic touch needs aren’t being met. As a result, they don’t feel loved and supported by their partner. Naturally, insecurities and jealousy sets in. This affects their ability to communicate, which ultimately puts the relationship under strain. Sadly, they then run the risk of parting ways. Cuddle Therapy can fulfil this need without putting the relationship under stress, or at risk – there is no third party involvement (i.e. affair). Moreover, an added benefit is that Cuddle Therapy is non-threating to the relationship because either one, or both parties can participate if they so wish.
If required, the couple can both be taught how to cuddle in an emotionally fulfilling way that doesn’t only involve sexual intimacy. Cuddling should’t be associated with foreplay or sex – it can remain a standalone, fulfilling activity for the benefit of both parties without the proverbial ‘happy ending’. For instance, cuddling or snuggling up together before falling asleep is deeply gratifying, especially after a long draining, stressful day where sex feels too arduous, or overwhelming.
If you’re currently in a relationship, encourage your partner to cuddle without any sexual connotations or expectations. Simply lie together, and hold one another in a position that feels comfortable and relaxing. Try spooning. Perhaps wrap arms and legs around each other. Simply holding one another is gratifying. This interconnectedness will stimulate the beneficial release of oxytocin, the bliss hormone as well as the other feel good hormones.
Cuddling doesn’t have to be confined to the bedroom alone – cuddle on the couch, or while lying on a comfortable carpet or rug on the floor, try cuddle outdoors on a blanket in the sunshine or under a shady tree in your garden or the local park. Cuddling can be done anywhere, anytime – in a restaurant, at the cinema, while visiting friends etc.
Couples who cuddle tend to be happier, healthier and less stressed. According to David Klow, a marriage and family therapist in Chicago, “Most people want to feel understood, and communication is the vehicle by which they transmit understanding and empathy. Non-verbal communication can be a very powerful way to say to your partner, ‘I get you.’ Cuddling is a way of saying, ‘I know how you feel.’ It allows us to feel known by our partner in ways that words can’t convey.”
What to expect, and what Cuddle Therapy is not:
Cuddle Therapy is a purely professional, platonic service for anyone over 21 years old. Cuddling is conducted in a strictly non-sexual therapeutic manner and environment, and definitely without the “happy endings” typically associated with sexual orientated services.
All Cuddle clients are advised to wear appropriate loose fitted clothing covering as much of their body as possible i.e. light weight tracksuit pants with a T-shirt or similar long pyjamas with socks. No skimpy, revealing clothes are tolerated. Cuddle Therapy is NEVER conducted naked.
Personal hygiene is paramount. Clients and cuddlists are expected to have had a bath or shower prior to their session to avoid body odour issues, including clean hair and freshly brushed teeth.
Cuddle sessions are typically 1-2 hours, including an explanation to create a safe space. Sessions begin with basic touch (hands and arms) and slowly progress to various cuddle positions to maximise comfort. Group Cuddle Parties are also available, area dependent. (I’m willing to travel around the country if the need warrants the costs – let’s chat)
For all Cuddle Therapy enquiries, contact Bridget Edwards on +27 (0) 83 675 3838 (Cape Town area) or email Bridget@Bridget-Edwards.com
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My Cuddle Testimonials
Received from a private client (after 3 individual sessions): “My job is extremely stressful, and I have to take medication to regulate my high blood pressure. To be honest, I initially felt hesitant and nervous, even reluctant to try Cuddle Therapy (I’m a man!) but I was amazed at how calm and relaxed I felt within minutes. So much so, I briefly fell asleep during my sessions. I was most surprised by how quickly my blood pressure normalised without any medication, and it remained normal for a few hours afterwards. As a man, I avoid therapy … now I’m a converted sceptic – I honestly didn’t expect to feel so comforted and peaceful afterwards – I can feel my PTSD reducing too. Bridget’s Cuddle Therapy sessions are beneficial and definitely recommended.” WH
“Dankie vir vanaand dit was awesome gewees, ek het uintlik nie woorde nie. Dit was n ander tiepe relax . ek het aan die begin gedink ek wil hier uit kom maar later was ek so relax dat dit gevoel het ek kon net daar aan die slaap raak. Thanks Bridget Edwards it was awesome .. “ Lee
“I have attended a group cuddle session with Bridget Edwards which made me feel so relaxed. I only woke up 08h25 the next morning and as an early bird it is very rare for me. Thanks for the space you held so that each individual’s needs could be met.” ✡ IvB
“Thank you for introducing me to Cuddle Therapy.. it was completely out of my comfort zone but it was a good place to be. I slept like a baby last night I was so relaxed thank you thank you 🙏 ” ST
What Clients Say?
“I have to recommend this service to all. I was a Cargo Manager at the Johannesburg International Airport, where in the early hours of the morning my staff fell victim to an armed robbery. They were very traumatized and one had to be admitted to hospital after being assaulted by one of the perpetrators. I got in touch with Bridget who came to give counselling to the staff. she was great and the feedback from her and the staff was amazing. It wasn't costly and did not require a follow up session as the staff were in a good space after the first session. If you find yourself or your staff in need of counselling, don't hesitate to contact Bridget.”
“A few years ago I was really struggling with public speaking fears - I know this is career limiting but couldn't help myself. My fears, anxiety and the stress really got the better of me one evening at an event. Bridget saw my distress, and offered to help. I couldn't believe how quickly she helped, within minutes I felt absolutely calm and relaxed. I've subsequently delivered many presentations with ease, even enjoying it. I MC'd my friend's wedding with ease too. I highly recommend Bridget to help you overcome your fears and phobias - she's excellent.”
“Bridget is sharply observant of the source of one's stresses and strains and is immensely enthusiastic and motivational in helping one deal with challenges in all arenas of life. So glad she is a consultation away #gratitude.”
“Bridget was my life line when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. The anti stress techniques she taught me were invaluable and she was a text away anytime i needed her. I’m so grateful to know I have you on speed dial.”
“I could have never imagined that a powerful tool like this existed. From one session, I had a life changing experience where anxiety, stress and fear was a normal part of my daily routine to a clam clear and collected way of conducting my day. Even more amazing was that EFT was not a temporary solution but a lasting feeling that I still have a week later. EFT has empowered me to take control of so many aspects of my life with confidence and make life so much more enjoyable!”
“Hi Bridget, all is indeed well on my side – thanks to you! I still tap and my baby actually reacts to my tapping now! It’s so amazing and I am so grateful to have made the choice to keep him despite the turmoil in my life. I have amazing friends who support me and I am so excited for my son’s birth on 15 September. Will send you a picture as soon as I can OK? Take care and once again, thank you for calming the waters for me. Lots of love”
“This message serves to say THANK YOU for contributing in my success as a person. You've made me aware of the things I was not aware of. Since then I use some of your principles in my life on a daily basis. You've also answered some of my long awaiting questions in life and I really appreciate it. Be blessed and I thank you.”
“My life got turned around in one afternoon, it’s as if you cleared years of blockages in one sitting, and I can be sceptical of certain alternative healing methods. I still can’t believe that such a simple, non invasive healing can have such dramatic results. I can’t wait to tap again with you and see what else I have been burying deep inside my stubborn brain … if only everyone knew about this! Best wishes.”
“Thank you so much for the session I had with you. It did wonders for me. It helped me get past my fear of public speaking to a point where I actually enjoy standing up there now. I still get a bit nervous, and then I do some tapping and it helps tremendously. Thanks again.”
“EFT is all about letting go. We destroy our present and our future by nurturing our personal traumas - whatever they may be. Sometimes what we thought was the problem isn’t - Bridget helped me to ‘sort’ through the self imposed fog I found myself in. I went to see her once and the result was immediate and life changing. I learnt to be objective and distance myself and see my value and move into my true space. THANK YOU Bridget XXX (You DID change my life Bridget. So grateful. Want you to help lots more people).”
“Being in the complimentary health profession myself, I have come to recognise the importance of releasing emotional ‘baggage’ that keeps us from being whole. The Emotional Freedom Technique helped me to shift some deep-seated behavioural patterns that I was oblivious to as it had become so much a part of who I was. Bridget has a keen sense of guiding the process to those deep layers that we keep hidden from ourselves and she does this gently and with a great deal of compassion. What I found so beneficial is that once the emotion was revealed, it was not necessary to spend days picking at old wounds like one would do in conventional therapy. Instead I acknowledged the emotion and then moved on swiftly and elegantly without having to dwell on all the unpleasantness. I would recommend EFT to anyone who wishes to expand their consciousness.”
“I have suffered from depression and been on medication for many years (since about 1990). I have always wanted to get off the medication because of the many side effects. This seemed impossible until I met Bridget and learnt about EFT. One session gave me the tools to work with EFT and enabled me to get through difficult times. I am now no longer on medication! I use EFT when troubled and find that within a few minutes I am once again able to cope. And it really works!!!! My thanks to you.”
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Clients Bridget has worked with