Need a new way to lower your stress levels? Have you tried hugging a cow? Now, we’re not suggesting you go hop a fence at someone’s pasture and give their cows a squeeze, but it turns out, cow-hugging therapy is a legit thing. According to Source: Good Morning America, a California-based nonprofit is using it to help people cope with stress.
Ellie Laks founded The Gentle Barn in the middle of the San Fernando Valley back in 1999, but she says it was a lifelong goal of hers. “The Gentle Barn was my dream since I was seven years old,” she explains, “as animals saved and healed me throughout my childhood,” Ellie says animals are candid, loyal companions that can give humans emotional support during challenging times. She majored in special education and psychology and says cow-hugging therapy can help with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and “compassion fatigue.”
“If someone needs healing, the cows wrap them in a really good hug with their necks,” Ellie explains to GMA. “Cows are very centered, grounded, and immersed in the present time and they help us do the same.”
- The CDC even backs up Ellie’s idea, noting that close interaction with animals can help increase happiness and reduce stress.
- Anyone can book an hour-long therapy session at The Gentle Barn with a cow to hug and meditate with them.
- In addition to cow-hugging, The Gentle Barn also serves as a sanctuary and Ellie says they’ve saved thousands of animals.
- The nonprofit has expanded to add locations in Nashville and St. Louis and they hope to open one in every state.
- Ellie explains, “The cows are very intuitive, affectionate, and knowledgeable of their guests’ needs.”
Source: Good Morning America