With her waiting arms open wide, the single mom from Washington Heights gives warm, comforting hugs on a daily basis. She loves snuggling, no matter the position — be it standing up, sitting down or spooning on her plushy queen-sized mattress. “I’m a professional cuddler,” Ella, 48, a former art teacher in NYC public schools-turned-touch therapist for cathartic care company,
For $150 an hour, Ella — who chose not to disclose her last name for privacy purposes — invites patrons into her boudoir, nurturing them with a loving embrace in a myriad of intertwinements, including head-to-chest, face-to-face and bear hugging, as a form of healing relief.
“In a city like New York, there are a lot of lonely and isolated people — even though we’re constantly surrounded by thousands,” explained Ella, who retired from teaching to“My cuddling sessions offer clients a specific type of intimacy and unconditional acceptance that they’re not getting at home, in talk therapy or at a massage parlor,” she said.And although cuddling complete a stranger may sound kooky to cynics, research has found it to be wholesomely effective. headtopics.com
“Professional cuddling is a therapeutic practice which enables both recipients and practitioners to experience a nurturing and relaxing session of mutual non-sexual touch,”on the occupation. The report noted that the unconventional treatment is often touted for enhancing “psychological and physical wellness” that can reduce stress, sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease, as well as boost one’s immune system.
At the onset of the pandemic — when social distancing decrees barred pro-cuddlers from in-person canoodling — patients relying on the skin-to-skin services for physical, mental and emotional support were forced to get creative. Some resorted to hugging themselves, while othersProfessional cuddlers in NYC and California are earning over $150 an hour to snuggle strangers in need of physical touch. headtopics.com