New Carmel business aims to ease stress through cuddling

CIC DOUGH 0214 Pro Cuddler
Lisa Meece, right, cuddles with a client during a session. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Bavender

There’s something to be said for the power of touch. It can soothe a crying baby, comfort a grieving child or offer support through the touch of a hand. A Carmel woman hopes her new business, Holding Space, will harness that strength to support and comfort clients.

“Studies, many conducted by the Touch Research Institute in Miami, have shown touch reduces the level of cortisol in the body,” said Lisa Meece, owner of Holding Space. “Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, destroys immune cells. Touch also releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) in your system and creates a sense of trust and comfort.”

Meece opened Holding Space in early February in the Kirby building just off the Monon Trail, 1033 3rd Ave SW, Suite 104. While the most common model for professional snugglers is to meet in their home or the client’s home, Meece’s vision is a bit different.

“(It’s) much like people benefit from going to a yoga studio to practice, even though it’s entirely possible to practice at home,” she said. “Having a dedicated environment helps to increase the relaxation.”

Meece also offers the cuddling service at Carmel Senior Living and wants to expand to other retirement communities.

A certified Martha Beck Life Coach since 2014 and a yoga instructor for 15 years, Meece has plenty of experience helping others learn how to be comfortable not only in their bodies, but also their minds.

“We create a lot of stress for ourselves with our thoughts. I help my clients unwind the part of that stress that is unnecessary and unhelpful,” she said.

So how does professional cuddling work? The answer depends on the client.

“The form that takes varies a great deal from client to client. Some people want the physical comfort of being held, or having their hair stroked,” Meece said. “Others are more comfortable with side-by-side conversation or holding hands. Still others are simply looking for a coach to help them find and shed the thoughts that are keeping them back.”

Sessions range between 15 minutes to four hours. The cost is $80 an hour with a discount for multiple hours purchased at the same time. For more, visit, email [email protected] or call 317-626-2163.