If you find yourself a bit stressed out these days and are looking to relieve that stress, consider cow cuddling. That's right, From goat yoga to sound baths, the world is full of wellness trends designed to soothe and calm both body and spirit. Now, a self-care practice hailing from the Netherlands is promising practitioners serenity as well as a smile.
It's called “koe knuffelen” in Dutch (literally “cow hugging”), the practice is centered on the inherent healing properties of a good human-to-animal snuggle. Cow cuddlers typically start by taking a tour of a farm before resting against one of the cows for two to three hours. The cow’s warmer body temperature, slower heartbeat, and mammoth size can make hugging them an incredibly soothing experience, and giving the animal a backrub, laying against them, or even getting licked is all part of the therapeutic experience.
People in rural Dutch provinces started this practice more than a decade ago, and it's now part of a wider movement to bring people closer to nature and country life. Today, farms in Rotterdam, Switzerland, and even the United States are offering cow-hugging sessions and promoting the activity’s joy-inducing, stress-busting properties.