Would you pay for an hour of Nordic Hugging? We gave it a go
Most of us love London, yet the Big Smoke can feel like somewhere you shouldn’t so much as look at a stranger, let alone hug one (unless you’re in a club at 5am). It can make for an occasionally lonely and somewhat discombobulating experience (a bit like still being in said club at 9am), so it’s one of the reasons Nordic Cuddle treatments are enjoying an upward trajectory.
If you’re feeling imbalanced, it’s a place to go to return to calm and serenity. And not since Ronseal’s legendary marketing campaign has another treatment done exactly what it says on the tin: you turn up to the Nordic Cuddle studio in Putney and hug Finnish practitioner Rebekka Mikkola for the best part of an hour. Yes, really.
We’ll level with you – we were a little apprehensive. After all, I’m not sure I’ve cumulatively hugged my wife for an hour across nearly 10 years together, so this was truly out-of-the-comfort-zone stuff. “Even though we interact with people in our daily lives, sometimes it lacks depth of connection,” explains Rebekka. “In a cuddle session, it’s not necessarily only about the touch and the hugs. The big benefit is the actual connection, sharing emotions, showing attention, listening, understanding and being present in the moment. There is a power in that connection that has a profound impact on how you see yourself.”
We start by sitting and holding hands with our eyes closed, before standing and hugging. I can feel my heart racing but, soon enough, my pulse lowers, my shoulders de-tense, my fingers stop trembling and… have I just relaxed? Rebekka says: “I’ve realised that in connecting with others, we can actually relate to ourselves more. In my experience, it can be good for self-actualisation.”
And that certainly is the case. Our breathing regulates, and the experience proves utterly soothing. Next, we sit and hug before lying down and embracing. Rebekka and I have known each other for a matter of minutes, yet there’s now not even a trace of awkwardness. In fact, at one point, I actually nod off. Indeed, in an age where many of us don’t even talk to friends – not when there’s WhatsApp, right guys? – it is refreshing to experience such closeness.
Will it all result in an outbreak of mass stranger embracing across London? Sadly not; you’d still need to go clubbing for that.
From £45 an hour. nordiccuddle.com