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Woman opens professional cuddling shop and draws 10,000 enquiries within a week

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They say at least eight hugs per day can make you feel happier, decrease blood pressure and reduce stress.

Now an inventive young woman has come up with idea of offering cuddles to people in need of a little TLC...for money. 

Professional cuddler Samantha Hess in Portland, Oregon, is offering hugs in 15-minute sessions at $1 (approximately 64p) a minute for "anyone who is looking for some more hug time in their world," she says. "They can come in and get a hug and time."

The 30-year-old shop owner received up to 10,000 email requests for appointments that include hair strokes, hand-holding and a plethora of different cuddle positions within a week of opening her shop Cuddle Up To Me on 15 November.

Exterior of the 'Cuddle Up To Me' shop

Exterior of the 'Cuddle Up To Me' shop

The store looks like any other gift shop from the front, but contains a cuddle studio with four themed rooms at the back: a forest, beach, zen and universe room.

Hess insists the business isn’t sexual and that it provides lonely people with human contact.

"Professional cuddling is platonic touching, essentially," says Hess.

"We can customise each session depending on your comfort level. So, I have people who will come in and we won’t touch at all. We’ll just sit and read together." 

"We’re not adult-oriented in any way. We just make people feel loved and accepted for who they are," she told Fox 12.

The universe room in Hess' cuddle studio

A universe-themed room in Hess' cuddle studio

Hess currently has three female employees who have undergone a 40-hour training programme to ensure they can guide a hugging session in a safe and professional way.

To ensure safety, the company asks for a copy of identification from customers and sessions are recorded in case of any misbehaviour.

The forest-themed room in Hess' cuddle studio

A forest-themed room in Hess' cuddle studio

The young business woman got the idea for hugging services during a low point in her life. 

"I was at a place where I thought paying someone to hug me and not have ulterior motives sounded like a great idea," she said. "I decided why can't this be a thing that we can easily and safely reach for?"

Samantha Hess, owner of Cuddle Up To Me

Samantha Hess, owner of Cuddle Up To Me

Would you visit a cuddle shop for a dose of human contact? Watch the interview with Cuddle Up To Me founder Samantha Hess and tell us in the comments section below.

Images: Elite Daily and Fox 12

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