Cow Cuddling Is the New Wellness Trend for Stress Relief

Cuffing season is canceled. We're cuddling cows now.

hugging cows
A farmer hugs a cow in the Russian village of Dubrovskoye.
Artyom Geodakyan\TASS via Getty Images

If you, like many of us, cannot remember the last time you unclenched your jaw and have discovered heights of anxiety you never knew existed over the past several months, nature has a solution: cows — specifically, hugging them.

According to BBC, cow hugging is the latest wellness trend, one many people are embracing as the demand for COVID-era coping mechanisms increases. The practice, which reportedly comes from the Netherlands, supposedly reduces stress in humans by releasing social bonding hormone oxytocin. Cows, specifically, make good cuddling partners thanks to their warm body temperatures and calming presence.

“Cows are very relaxed animals, they don’t fight, they don’t get in trouble,” a farm owner told the outlet, adding that farms even offer “special hugging cows” for those seeking stress release. “People think it’s very relaxing.”

Farms in the U.S. have adopted the fad, called “koe knuffelen” in the Netherlands. Cow cuddlers can visit a farm and take a tour before cuddling up to a cow for two to three hours, according to BBC. Personally, I think this sounds a little invasive. If I were a cow, I wouldn’t be thrilled by the idea of some random stranger lying down with me and trying to absorb my calm cow serenity.

However, there’s reason to believe the cows like it too. According to a 2007 study in the Applied Animal Behavior Science journal, cows also experience relaxation and pleasure from human contact.

So if you’re looking for a reprieve from the daily nightmare of existence, maybe seek out a cow friend to cling to in the end days.

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