People are heading back to the farm, but for a reason that may surprise you. One of the latest trends for stress relief is cow cuddling. 

Yep. People are replacing the herbal teas or goat yoga with a chance to love on a cow. 

Using animals for self-care is well established. Animals provide positive effects for their humans. Pets can keep you active and happy, but they also seem to just understand when you need their loving attention. The benefits are apparent enough that some animals are going into therapy as therapy animals. You can find these animals in schools, hospitals and even the office to calm you when the day becomes too much. 

So how does this relate to cows? 

Southeast Dairy Association - Calves in field

Well, cows are big animals. Like other animals, cows should make good therapy animals if trained. After all, when pictures of freshly fluffed cows appear online, the comments are full of those wanting to hug them. Though they aren’t official therapy animals, some dairy farmers have decided to provide cow love as a service. 

People drive to the farm for a session with the cows. Cows which have shown themselves as very comfortable around people (and people’s affection) are brought to a field where cuddles ensue. The guests can simply cuddle the cows or help take care of one for an hour. Prices vary for the experience, with a farm in upstate New York is making the news for charging anywhere from $75 to $300 for the cuddle session, depending on the chosen package.  

Why is this successful? Perhaps it’s because of those big eyes. Cows have been likened to big dogs during play and how they read body language, so maybe they’re designed as the better therapy dogs. For a firmer answer, though, maybe it’s because a cow’s body temperature is around 101.5 °F, which is higher than the average 98.6 °F temperature in humans. Soft, clean hair and a warm body draws people to them, who then focus in on a cow’s slower heartbeat. These three characteristics provide a calming effect that makes the experience so amazing that the cuddling experience is expanding to other farms. 

Though you might not see a cow in an official therapy vest anytime soon, some old-fashioned cow loving could help you reduce stress and relax. Are you in? 

To see some cows up close, find a dairy farmer near you. You can’t cuddle, but you can at least say hello.