Embracing cows, or “koe knuffelen,” is a wholesome pastime that’s sprouted up in rural Holland over the past decade. The hands-on practice is promising practitioners both serenity, stress reduction and perhaps, even a whiff of a cow pie or two.
Cow cuddling is centred on the inherent healing properties of a satisfying human-to-animal snuggle. The experience typically starts with a tour of the farm and continues with a two-to-three-hour cuddle. According to Dutch disciples, the cow’s body temperature, slower heartbeat and mammoth size can make being with them a simply soothing experience. Giving the animal a backrub, reclining against them or even getting licked is all part of the therapeutic encounter which is said to promote positivity and boost oxytocin in humans, the hormone released in social bonding.
Not surprisingly, farms in North America, Rotterdam and Switzerland are opening their own barns to wellness seekers looking to get up close and personal with bovines. Holy cow!
Can’t discover a city with guided groups anymore? Some cities have “sound walks”—recorded strolls that point out what used to be at a certain place in a community, the Guardian reports. Other tours can be done from an armchair, “a vacation for the senses,” such as a meditative swim from cave to city in Crete.