Physical contact is one of the things we often neglect in our daily lives but without this, we can fall into depression and a number of other mental health issues.
To meet her need, a mother of three from Australia has become a “hug therapist” and currently earns about $58,000 a year.
Jessica O’Neill says her hugs can help those who suffer from loneliness, depression or low self-esteem.
She did not enter this strange career overnight but originally, Jessica was a massage therapist and counsellor, quite ordinary professions.
She noticed that when she hugged her clients during the sessions, they dropped their guards and opened the door for her.
“I could see their anxiety and their tension disappearing. I could then go to the heart of their personality and do what I can to heal them,” O’Neill said.
A typical session begins with meditation; Jessica thinks it helps the client and her to connect to a “spiritual level”.
Then, they will briefly discuss why the client spoke to her: “Everyone has a totally different story. But the most common factors are loneliness, depression, isolation and anxiety. All just want to connect with someone”.
You may think that this kind of business will attract all kinds of strange customers, but Jessica says the majority of her clients are just ordinary people.
The majority of her clients are men, but she also has a surprising number of women. Although there have been some “difficult experiences” since she started her business, Jessica believes that the vast majority of her clients only respect the limits she sets.
Although many people think she must be crazy to do this kind of work, Jessica is convinced that she made the right choice: “It’s so much more rewarding than just a massage or counselling. I feel that’s why I was created. ”
So why did Jessica O’Neill’s hugs get so much success?
Well, despite the unprecedented interdependence of the digital age, many people are, ironically, lonelier and more isolated than ever before.
For people whose lives are devoid of physical interaction, hug therapy can have an effect on mental well-being, as most psychologists agree that physical contact with other humans is important for mental health.
It is interesting to note that hug therapy has been around for a number of years.