“People want to feel good,” she said. “Fifty percent of us lack the touch factor.”
Phifer, who has a background in medical records, said cuddle therapy is growing in popularity around the nation.
“It is a big thing right now,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot popping up in California and New York.”
The professional cuddler website Cuddlist.com launched in late 2015. The directory lists Ohio locations in Kent and Lakewood near Cleveland.
A 2017 article by Rolling Stone said professional cuddling services saw a spike following the election of Donald Trump.
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Locally, Phifer said human contact is even more important in the wake the Memorial Day tornadoes and Oregon District mass shooting that left 10, including the shooter, dead.
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"We had some devastating blows," Phifer said. "People need hugs and people are traumatized."
Phifer said there will be rules and security safeguards to prevent any inappropriate behavior. She said the experience is not sexual.
Professional cuddlers and their clients are fully clothed during snuggle sessions.
Sessions can be personalized.
“It is whatever the client wants it to be,” she said.
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She said a website and/or Facebook page for the business are coming soon. For questions, please send an email to email@example.com.