ST. CLOUD -- A Minneapolis base group has found a way to enhance communication, respect boundaries and improve health through cuddling.

Cuddle Parties have been growing in popularity in Wisconsin, Chicago and the Twin Cities as a unique way to relieve stress.

Candessa Hadsall is the facilitator for Minneapolis' Cuddle Party Chapter. She says the program is not a dating service but instead meant as a way to share nurturing, non-sexualized touch.

"It's a facilitated time spent with communication skills and boundary setting workshops where we help everyone feel comfortable, get to know each other and learn the rules of cuddling," says Hadsall.

Touching and being touched has benefits for everyone's health, including the release of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, which reduces blood pressure and stress.

Hadsall says each session is designed to teach valuable social skills and create an environment where you can practice meeting people in a safe environment.

"People come for a variety of reasons, and once they have been to a cuddle party or two they see how the skills they learned here, are used in daily life. So it really has a far reaching effect for a lot of people," says Hadsall.

Everyone who attends is expected to follow several rules such as no clothing comes off, no sexual touching and you must ask for permission before you can touch someone.

Hadsall says while there are no cuddle party organizations in St. Cloud, she would be willing to facilitate a class if people were interested.