Cuddling Our Way Towards Wellness
“We’re wired to be gregarious, bonded creatures.
So the more tactile sensation there is in our world, the better we feel.”
-Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist, Santa Rosa, California
We all understand that certain acts of human touch create deep and often profound feelings. As infants we crave the embrace of our parents, in fact all throughout our lives physical connections bring powerful emotions that transcend the words we have to describe them.
Cuddling as a practice taps into the very real biological acuity that humans possess. There is no ambiguity about how that happens either. This “somatosensory” aspect of our bodies produces chemicals such as oxytocin and these produce a physical sensation of well being. This, in turn, creates mental and emotional well being.
The approach we have developed is based on years of experience in working with mind/body practices put into the hands of very dedicated people that bring elements of focus and individual intention to this work.
The result is a unique space/place where a practitioner and client work together to create those powerful, nurturing and healing feelings. This is what The Cuddlist does… guides a client back to the place where the body becomes a full partner in promoting greater wellness, strength, serenity and resolve.
It is not surprising when we remember how much we have drawn from these connections in times of crisis or celebration. Our reactions are not accidents, they are the faculties we have inherited as part of our humanity and their purpose is to help us respond to the warnings emanating from our bodies and to address our negative emotional conditions.
The other names we use for ”negative emotional conditions” are anxiety, loneliness, depression, and low-self esteem or self criticism. They often follow periods of isolation, grief or in the wake of relationships that fail or expectations that we fail to achieve. Over time these protective responses to stress and dysfunction become in fact the “who we are”. None of this is true, of course, it is simply what we innocently come to believe about ourselves and thereby become stuck in.
These are not timid emotions. To address them The Cuddlist brings the full powers of concentrated awareness and intention. Most of our experiences with the healing power of touch occur spontaneously or instinctively.
The Cuddlist knows however that the practice demands bringing ALL their techniques awareness of our inherent well- being to bear on the present moment when working with a client. The goal technique is to introduce a set of rules and boundaries that empower the client, enlisting their full consent and partnership in the session as it proceeds. The Cuddlist and the client set out on a path towards re-awakening these faculties, to give and receive through the process of touch. To experience our “wellness” with one another. It is simple. It can be profound.
Now The Cuddlist understands that the nature of this practice leads to questions about sexuality. This is branch of human touch that serves a totally different function. Cuddling heads down a unique path that nds expression in the transfer of respect, encouragement and full engagement of our bodies as a source of healing. The Cuddlist knows how to steer keep encounters focused in the direction on the intention of emotional connectivity by not letting not arousal become a distraction or take focus.
From here very different things start to happen. The client is given the validation and respect that is often lacking in their daily lives. The Cuddlist demonstrates that the highest priority of the encounter is to project the strength, support and love we remember from our deepest familial ties and friendships. These are the feelings we were sent out into the world with which to encourage us, protect us, inspire us.
Wellness follows in many directions from these starting places. The science is there, but so too is our deepest sense of memory. Consciously or unconsciously we recall how important our critical connections are and will forever be in helping us arrive at our best.
As we examine our boundaries through this process of consent we learn to trust, and to value our prerogative. We count matter!… and are worthy of this sharing process. We also begin to see ourselves as worthy of the health and wellness we are entitled to and willing to work to achieve it. This is us putting self care into action for ourselves. We are the only ones who can do it, but we achieve this willingness through an encounter with someone who helps us remember what we lost touch with — literally!
We become more compliant in monitoring our overall health, dealing with our issues and relating to the world around us. People become assets not liabilities to be avoided. Intimacy is to be sought after welcomed and allowed not grasped at or pushed away.
But the most basic and critical aspect of what The Cuddlist does is to bring all of their training, skills, self awareness, energy and intention to bear on the client at that key moment of the encounter. This is the when the system responds and produces the physical response that drives towards enhanced wellness.
This wellness that the client experiences in real time, fully present during the session with The Cuddlist, can stay with us. We understand that we can achieve greater well being, more fulfilling lives when we open ourselves to a little risk, and accept the need we all instinctively share, the need to connect.
By Adam Lippin, CEO and Co-Founder of Cuddlist, and Madelon Guinazzo, Director of Training and Co-Founder of Cuddlist.
Additional Studies with Citations
Holt-Lunstad, Julianne; Birmingham, Wendy A.; Light, Kathleen C. Influence of a “Warm Touch” Support Enhancement Intervention Among Married Couples on Ambulatory Blood Pressure, Oxytocin, Alpha Amylase, and Cortisol. Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 70(9). (November/December 2008): pp 976-985. http://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/abstract/2008/11000/influence_of_a__warm_touch__support_ enhancement.4.aspx
Pattison, Joyce E. Effects of touch on self-exploration and the therapeutic relationship. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 40(2). (Apr 1973): 170-175. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/40/2/170/
Kertay, Les; Reviere, Susan L. The use of touch in psychotherapy: Theoretical and ethical considerations. Psychotherapy: Theory,Research,Practice,Training. Vol 30(1), (1993): 32-40.