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Why do hugs feel good? Can hugs cure loneliness and depression? Is hugging a tree good for you?What is the optimal length of time to hug for "feel-good" hormones? Can you hug yourself? In this episode Leaf and Elfie talk with Prof. Sebastian Ocklenburg about the science of hugging to find out answers to these questions and understand his research on social touch.Sebastian Ocklenburg, Ph.D., is a professor for research methods in psychology at the Department of Psychology at MSH Medical School, Hamburg, Germany.
In this episode we speak with  the No.1 Laughter Yoga UK Facilitator, Pete Cann. Join along with some laughter exercises, and discover the therapeutic benefits of laughing including:Bonding with family, friends and collegesTechniques to release happy hormones how to laugh when life isn't very funnyFind out more on Pete's website or visit his youtube channel for inspiration.
Virtual reality is more widely used than ever before - from virtual documentaries on social issues to the Metaverse and dance-off simulators. But can it be used to make us more empathetic? In this episode we we speak with Professor Matthew Cotton, Professor of Public Policy at Teesside University, UK. We discuss the use of VR in expanding our own experiences and seeing if the technology could have lasting impact on how we perceive other people. Professor Matthew Cotton is a Lecturer at Teesside University and author of the book Virtual Reality, empathy and ethics 
On this podcast we speak with Kate Howells, who represents The Planetary Society. We discuss defending earth, aliens, other worlds, space exploration and priorities.Kate is the author of Space Is Cool As F***, a science columnist for The Editorial Magazine, and creator, writer, and producer of the digital series Whoa. Kate serves on the Government of Canada's Space Advisory Board and is a trusted media source for expertise and analysis of Canadian space policy. Go to for more information - sign up for the newsletter or/and become a member of The Planetary Society.
Is watching porn bad for you?Free websites and smart phones make it easier than ever to watch porn - and billions of us are doing just that. But some scientists are starting to worry about the consequences and there is a growing movement away from pornography led by young men negativity affected by "the new drug".We talk with experienced sex therapist Mig Bennett to find out some of the side effects of porn addiction. Mig works with individuals  where pornography, online sexual encounters, multiple affairs or use of sex workers is negatively affecting their lives and relationships.To find out more about Mig's work with individuals and couples visit: more information and online support please visit:No Fap Community  www.nofap.comThe Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity 
In this episode Leaf and Elfie meet former Scientology member Chris Shelton and talk about his 30 years of experience in the organisation.Chris now exposes Scientology and the psychology behind destructive cults. Watch chris on Youtube or on his website:
In 2020, animal welfare charity Viva! launched 'Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story'. The documentary film is presented by Jerome Flynn and exposes the harrowing conditions on a Warwickshire pig farm. Their undercover footage ultimately forced big brand like Tesco to rethink their relationship with the company, but only after the animal-loving British public reacted to shocking scenes of abuse. Does the exposé highlight one 'bad apple' in the industry, or does it completely shatter the consumers' idyllic image of farming?In this interview, we meet Viva charity Founder and Director Juliet Gellatley and find out about the UK's factory farming industry. Warning: Contains descriptions of animal cruelty that some listeners may find disturbing. To watch the documentary visit Amazon: Hogwood: A Modern Horror story For vegan recipes, advice and details of Viva's charitable work: Viva website
Brexit, animal welfare, legislation, schools, health - the food choices that we make are political. How does vegetarianism fit in? In this 'Vegetarian Special' podcast interview we speak with longtime animal rights campaigner, vegetarian and Conservative MP Henry Smith about the the challenges facing the UK.How might Brexit impact food standards e.g chlorinated chicken?Should care homes cater for our dietary choices in later life? What are issues around animal welfare legislation? Should dolphins be criminalised for getting high on puffer fish? To follow MP Henry Smith on Twitter:
In this episode Leaf and Elfie talk with Dr Carl Johan Calleman on the subject of Mayan Quantum Science and Psychedelics. Dr Calleman is recognized as a world authority on the Mayan Calendar and his latest book ‘Quantum Science of Psychedelics’ launched this year on worldwide release.We hear his theory that explains how psychedelics interact with the human mind to create altered states that may further the continued evolution of consciousness. Website:  www.callemen.comAmazon book link: Quantum Science and Psychedelics
To overcome anxiety and panic attacks, Ben Aldridge delves into the world of stoicism, Buddhism, CBT and  extreme challenges. Ben's new book, How to be Comfortable with being Uncomfortable, is based on experiences building a resilient mind and body by getting out of his comfort zone in weird and wonderful ways including:Taking ice bathsClimbing mountainsQueuing unnecessarily Inducing vertigo Memorising a deck of cardsHaving an outrageous clothes day We talk to Ben about his 'Anti-bucket List' and learn his tips for overcoming anxiety and living a fuller, more exciting life. Why not get uncomfortable and experience personal growth gained from pushing yourself to the limit? Join Ben's following online for more information. Instagram: @dothingsthatchallengeyouTwitter: @iambenaldridge
It's a sad fact that young men often really struggle in our society.95% of prisoners are men80% of the homeless population is male 13 men every day will commit suicide In this episode we speak with Hugh Newton, who leads the training at award-winning charity 'A Band of Brothers'. The organisation has an unorthodox approach to "re-fathering" young men and takes inspiration from the rites of passage ceremonies in African culture. The charity has been successful in dramatically reducing the reoffending rate of young men and brings along with it a greater sense of community for men of all ages. For more information about the charity visit on Twitter @band_brothersukLike on facebook:
Have a tea break with Leaf & Elfie. We meet Alicia Davison, a comedian with an interesting hobby. Put your feet up and hear about her experiences as a sex toy tester. Contains explicit content. Not suitable for under 18s. 
Boredom. We've all experienced it from time to time, but what does it actually do? Can it make us angry? Make us depressed? Slowly kill us? Or does it serve a less clear and more positive function?In this episode we speak to a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscientist and boredom 'expert', James Danckert who aims to answer these and many other boredom related questions in his research at the University of Waterloo. If you have ever wondered:Do animals get bored?How do I make people really, really bored?Am I bored right now?Could I die of boredom?  Then this is the episode for you. James is the co-author of a brilliant new book all about boredom 'Out of my Skull: The Psychology of Boredom' For more information about James' work visit the University of Waterloo 
People are taking up a plant-based diet to improve their health, help the environment or to address animal welfare concerns. Sam Shorkey is a pioneering body builder, fitness coach and first ever vegan World Naturals bikini pro.We catch up with Sam to discuss:Transitioning to a healthy vegan diet (without piling on pounds!)Building muscle and losing fat Highs and lows of bodybuilding bikini competitionsSam also shares her top tips for an instagram envied booty, that you can do at home. Check out Sam's website for her recipes, coaching and podcast.Find her on instagram @samshorkey
Our relationship with machines is changing. Artificial intelligence has changed the way we manufacture, spend our leisure time and gather information - but what does it mean for human intimacy in the future? In this episode we talk to sex tech researcher Eleonor Hancock who has interviewed sex workers, technology pioneers and robot enthusiasts to try to answer the questions:Will sex robots replace humans?What are the risks of artificial intelligence in the sex industry?How might crime and sexual criminal behaviour be mitigated by robots? Can you buy a robot with dishwasher proof attachments? WARNING: Contains sexually explicit content and reference to abuse. Not suitable for under 18s. Eleanor Hancock. LinkedIn Read Eleanor's research paper 'Our Sexual Future with Robots'
The sex toy business is booming during Covid-19 lockdown. Many couples are apart and frankly, we're all in need of a little TLC.In this episode, Leaf and Elfie meet Eleanor Hancock, a researcher from leading sex-tech company Kiiroo to talk about the rise and evolution of "teledildonics". The award winning company has been at the forefront of developing futuristic sex toys from their home in the liberal city of Amsterdam since 2013. Mind-reading dildos powered by brainwaves, virtual reality orgies and pre-programmed blowjobs are all on the menu. Explicit content, please proceed with caution and curiosity! 
Have you ever wanted to read somebody's mind? Reading their body language could be the key to unlocking what they REALLY think!Would it be powerful to know instantly when a person is telling you lies? To know when to push a bit harder in a business negotiation? Or perhaps you just want to know if your crush fancies you...In this episode Leaf and Elfie talk to former military interrogator and body language expert Greg Hartley. Greg's expertise as an interrogator first earned him honors with the United States Army. He's trained with the Defence Intelligence Agency, Navy SEALS, Federal law enforcement agencies and is a regular on TV uncovering celeb and political mischief.Who better than this tough teacher and serial author to share his top body language tips?For more information, visit: www.gregoryhartley.comBuy one of his body language booksOr visit for training courses
Covid-19 has left many people jobless or struggling with a reduced income. It's been a testing and stressful time. In contrast, for some its also been a time to appreciate nature, our families and give the planet a long-overdue rest from some of the pollution that human activities inflict. In this episode Zoe Morrison, award winning eco-blogger and author of the money saving book 'Eco thrifty living' shares her tips for transitioning to a greener and thrifty lifestyle.Her pragmatic approach makes 'going green' more accessible, less daunting and ideal for a budget-conscious family. For more ideas on how to save money and live a more eco-friendly life visit Eco Thrifty Living blog or Zoe's book 'Eco-Thrifty Living'. 
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