For one woman in New York City, snuggling is -- quite literally -- a very serious business.
Her name is Ali C., and she's billed herself as the Big Apple's first-ever "professional cuddler."
"It's a very healing experience,” Ali told the Daily News of the snuggling sessions. “People are very vulnerable during the process.”
Ali, who has reportedly met with more than 30 clients so far, charges $60 for 45 minutes (or $80 for 60 minutes) worth of cuddling. There are also a number of special packages -- like the $200 movie and cuddle package or the $500 "overnight cuddle" package -- to choose from.
The cuddling sessions, Ali explains on her website, can take place on a sofa, the floor or the bed. "Soothing spa music" will be playing softly in the background, she says, while the snuggling takes place.
"The spoon position is very popular and comforting," she writes. "I’ll often lightly stroke your hair/neck/face which many of my clients find extremely relaxing."
According to the cuddling guidelines found on Ali's website, talking during the session is optional, but encouraged; and while sexual arousal is "perfectly normal" and the client would "not be made to feel uncomfortable" about it, sexual contact or behavior is strictly prohibited.
"During your Cuddle session with me, my goal is to create a nurturing, loving energy that is completely free of sexual undertones -- emotional generosity that isn't concerned with getting anything in return," Ali writes on her site, adding that cuddling can be therapeutic.
(Watch Ali in action in the video above.)
Though Ali claims to be the first person in New York City to cuddle professionally, she isn't the only one in the country generating buzz.
In December, USA Today declared Samantha Hess of Portland, Ore., a "one-woman hugging machine." Hess, like Ali, is a self-proclaimed professional cuddler.
"If you could use some one-on-one cuddle time without the complications that life normally brings us, then I am your girl," Hess writes on her website.
Other cuddle businesses can also be found in places like Rochester, N.Y., and San Francisco, Calif. The Bay Area's Cuddle Therapy, for instance, offers a "platonic cuddling service designed to help people with any need for touch or intimacy."