(NewsNation) — You may have heard of goat yoga, but cow hugging?
It’s one of the more popular activities at The Gentle Barn and involves just that, hugging a cow.
The Gentle Barn is a nonprofit that provides sanctuary for abused animals, which in turn play a role in therapy sessions for humans going through tough times.
Ellie Laks, who founded The Gentle Barn in 1999, discussed the organization’s unique approach to healing during an appearance on “Morning in America”.
“Sometimes humans are going through hard times where they don’t want to talk,” Laks said. “They don’t want to be vulnerable. They don’t want to be open. Or sometimes there are just are no words because you’re in too much pain.”
With locations in Santa Clarita, Calif., Dittmer, Mo., and Christiana, Tenn., animals at the sanctuaries have helped hundreds of people to feel more love.
“For those that don’t respond to traditional therapy, or in tandem with traditional therapy, people can come to The Gentle Barn and hug cows,” Laks said.
Hugging cows works to match our heart rates, according to Laks.
“It calms us down and centers us,” she said. “It grounds us and heals us.”
Laks said rubbing the tummies of pigs and cuddling with turkeys also helps humans deal with stress. Both of which are activities offered at their sanctuaries.
“I think any interaction with animals makes us feel the best versions of ourselves,” she said.
People have traveled from hours away to participate in the animal sessions, according to Laks.
As people are under stress and searching for alternative therapies, Laks touts the “magic of The Gentle Barn” — especially for animal lovers.
You can learn more about The Gentle Barn on their website.
Watch the full interview with Ellie Laks in the video player at the top of the page.