Contributed by Tina Balesteri
It is about time that professional cuddling has finally grabbed hold in the 49th state. With 47 other states already enjoying the warmth from professional cuddling while Alaska was left out, alone and in the cold. 2B Cuddled brought vital professional cuddling, which is also known as platonic companionship and alternative touch therapy, to Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley in April of 2017.
Professional cuddling helps individuals with symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and loneliness through the healing power of platonic companionship and alternative touch therapy. Most people don’t get the amount of human touch wanted or needed on a regular basis and professional cuddling can be the solution.
People seem to look a little confused and wonder if professional cuddling is just another cover for the illegal sex trade. “I can’t speak for other companies, but respectable cuddling companies require sessions to be entirely clothed and no “funny business” is allowed which also means there is no kissing. Many people equate cuddling to sex or intercourse, but that is not the service respectable professional cuddling companies offer. What we offer is so much more important and essential to our well-being as humans,” explains Tina Baleseteri, Owner of 2B Cuddled.
Ms. Balesteri explains that some of her clients are people that may have gone through a divorce or a loss of their romantic partner and aren’t ready to enter a new relationship or the responsibilities that come with one, or even wanting to dip their toe into the scary dating world but are still starved for affection. “Just because our mind isn’t ready to be in a relationship, our body doesn’t care and doesn’t stop our biological need for touch and affection.”
Others may not have room in their busy professional life for someone else, which makes creating and maintaining a healthy relationship almost impossible. Ms. Balesteri’s responds to that growing issue with, “What are they to do because they still are hungry for attention? Professionals that work 60, 70, 80+ hour weeks and slopers that are gone for weeks at a time are just a few that benefit from professionally cuddling services that are a safe and viable solution to their problem.”
Clients that may be in the direst need for a platonic touch service like professional cuddling are individuals that were sexually assaulted or are veterans with PTSD, both may recoil at the feeling of touch because it causes flashbacks or triggers a “Fight or Flight” response. “To allow an alternative to conventional therapy that allows for a “reprograming” of touch so that the mind and body can be reminded that the client is safe and that touch, itself, can be safe again, is such an amazing thing,” says Ms. Balesteri when explaining what the alternative touch therapy part of professional cuddling means and what it can help with.
Respectable professional cuddling companies are often not ran by licensed psychologists or psychiatrists and do not claim to be able to treat or heal people, but rather that they can help based on research that has been conducted over more than fifty years around the world. These establishments are operated by people that have an overabundance of love to give and an understanding of the importance of touch.
Research has been showing that, “People who regularly receive affection are advantaged in almost every way compared to people who receive little affection; they are happier, more self-confident, less stressed, less likely to be depressed, more likely to engage in social activity and are in better general mental health.” (Guerrero, Andersen & Afifi, Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships, 2014) The Close Encounters also states that, “When people gave or received affection, adrenal hormones associated with stress tended to decrease, while oxytocin tended to increase and other health benefits of affection include lower resting blood pressure, lower blood sugar, lower heart rate, a less exaggerated hormonal response to stress and healthier changes in cortisol levels.”
Articles about professional cuddling have been found in publications like The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Maxim. Segments have been produced on CNN, TLC, FusionTV and BuzzFeed. One cuddler in Oregon has done over 400 interviews about professional cuddling and the importance of touch. Cuddle Cafés have opened in Japan where people go on their lunch to simply take a nap with someone and then go back to work. Professional cuddling has seemed to take hold all over the United States and world.
We Alaskans, may be a little late in the game to have professional cuddling available to us but we can now finally benefit from it and no longer be out in the cold - alone, affection-starved and attention-hungry.