What Is Cow Hugging Therapy?

Do you currently feel utterly hopeless? Then you might want to borrow a cow, says Bart Simpson.

You can relax, meditate with cows, hug them, and let go of your worries with the help of cow hugging therapy at The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita. The founder of Gentle Barn, Ellie Laks, aids in rescuing and rehabilitating abused and abandoned animals. According to the owners, six cows are available for hugs, favouring the people who need them the most. Additionally, they claimed that each of their cows had a unique personality.

Numerous farm sanctuaries other than gentle barns also provide the same opportunities for cow cuddling. It is also well-liked in the Netherlands, where the rural provinces have used it for about ten years.

Read More: 5 Things People With Depression Secretly Do Alone.

Cow Therapy: What Is It?

Simply put: It is what it says it is. You can schedule a private session with a cow, cuddle them, or simply hang out with them for an hour at the barn.

You are welcome to bring one additional person if you like. Still, two people are the maximum to avoid overwhelming the cow.

According to The Gentle Barn, this can give you a sense of stability, renewal, and relaxation. They even say it might lessen the effects of compassion fatigue.

And people appear to be enjoying their cow-hug experiences worldwide (and posting them on social media).

Does the cow approve of all of this hugging?

Cows are large animals that can weigh thousands of pounds, so if they don’t like the idea or are currently feeling overly hugged, they could likely kick you and injure you.

You can check with the farm sanctuary staff and caregivers to ensure the cows aren’t overstimulated. You could also inquire as to how to approach the cows most effectively. Cows that don’t mind a lot of human contacts are typically chosen by the farms and sanctuaries that offer this practice.

Cows enjoy massaging certain parts of their bodies, such as their upper back and neck.

Read More: Is Inflation Causing Mental Health Issues For People?

Do cow hugs work?

Although cow hugging is relatively new, a 2011 study by NCBI did find that using farm animals, specifically cows, in animal-assisted therapy helped people with psychiatric disorders feel less depressed. Therefore, the Gentle Barn’s staff may be onto something.

The chemical oxytocin is released when we hug someone, including an animal. This hormone has been linked to:

  • bonding,
  • love,
  • happiness, and
  • less anxiety.

Hugs can also reduce the fear of anxiety and bring warmthness from within.


Cow hugging itself hasn’t been the subject of much peer-reviewed research. Still, there is evidence to support the concept of animal-assisted therapy because it can help reduce stress, ease sadness and depression, and slow your heart rate. And cows, despite their size, can give beautiful hugs when we gently pat them on the back and neck.

Now that you know about cow therapy, know more about other therapies and mental health therapy goals, and to learn more, click here.

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