Professional “cuddlist” offers healing touch to Oakland clients

on October 20, 2016

Cuddling is not recognized by most people as a legitimate profession like law or medicine, or even dog-walking. But it’s starting to turn into a service some people are willing to pay for—$80 an hour in Oakland.

Cuddlist is a new website that connects “professional cuddlers” with clients seeking the human necessity of physical touch, but who can’t get it through their personal relationships. The company—based in New York—started small, but has established providers in major cities across the country.

The service works on an independent contractor model. The cuddlists use the site to book clients. Prior to registering for a session, the clients must agree to a code of conduct, which includes a strict ban on sexual activity and nudity. Both cuddlist and their client must wear at least a tank top and shorts during the cuddling session.

Nikki Huiras, the first certified cuddlist in Oakland, brought the trend to the Bay Area from Chicago, where Huiras received training. Battling depression, Huiras was introduced to a cuddlist about a year ago.

Huiras became certified in Chicago after the cuddling experience seemed to help with depression. “I found it to be a good healing space,” Huiras said.

There aren’t many cuddlists in California; so far only three are listed on the site. But more are being trained in the Bay Area, according to Huiras. Huiras hopes the expanding roster will bring the benefits of cuddling to more people.

Huiras stated that physical touch can be a form of therapy: “This is getting physical touch, which we know eases stress.”

Correction: Location of company is in New York, but training is overseen in Chicago. 10.21.2016

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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