Do weighted blankets work? Discover how this could be the secret weapon to treat anxiety and other emotional disorders from which you or your family may be suffering.
After learning about them, you may ask yourself, “do weighted blankets work?” and are likely curious how they can help and about their actual benefits. These are all legitimate questions, especially if you are just stepping into familiarity with the subject.
Weighted blankets are, plain and simple, blankets that have been lined with evenly distributed weight made out of plastic poly pellets (think: Beanie Babies), which aims to create a warm and gentle pressure, imitating the feeling of being embraced or hugged.
According to experts on weighted blanket therapy, the use of these blankets can have a positive effect on people’s moods, as it works with our sensorial reactions.
Many may question do weighted blankets work for anxiety as much as they could work for anything else? Research has proven that, indeed, this type of therapy not only helps with anxiety in both children and adults, but they also help to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, sensory processing disorder (SPD), weight gain and even insomnia.
A study published by Occupational Therapy in Mental Health (2008) explained how using a 30-pound weighted blanket resulted in 63% of adult patients reporting lower episodes of anxiety and even panic attacks.
So, why do weighted blankets work and is weighted blanket therapy right for you? The whole concept of this tool is to provide not only a sensorial experience, but one that is comforting, soothing and calming.
Weighted blankets provide a deep pressure touch, which promotes relaxation as it mimics the sensation of being held or softly touched. This, by itself, can be extremely reassuring for someone snuggling with anxiety or ADHD.
Additionally, why do weighted blankets work for anxiety cases, has a lot to do with the resulting production of dopamine and serotonin upon use of the blankets, which are the “feel good” hormones that our brain produces. These hormones fight off stress, anxiety and depression.
On top of all these benefits, weighted blankets are also a great tool for those that suffer from insomnia, because the sensation of the blanket is connected to that of being swaddled, which eases the mind and relaxes the body, thus allowing for that desired sleep to happen with too much struggle.
Doctors and occupational therapies agree that these blankets are also great to manage the symptoms that are related to autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even nervous system stress disorders.
This type of therapy has a positive effect on both children and adults. The key is to select the appropriate weight for each patient. As always, it is recommended to engage in this practice with the guidance and support of your Doctor or Therapist.
As a general rule, however, experts suggest that adults use a blanket that weights the equivalent of 5 to 10% of their own body weight. In the case of children, it is recommended that their blanket weights the equivalent of 10% of their body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds.
Another good rule of thumb is to get blankets that are made with all natural fiber and extra breathable, such as 100% organic cotton, as other materials could be way too hot for patients.
Finally, there are a number of things that need to be considered before you purchase a weighted blanket for you, or for your loved one, such as:
- The existences of a chronic health condition;
- Having circulation problems;
- Suffering from any type of respiratory illness;
- Having temperature regulation problems;
- Whether or not you are going through menopause;
For these and other pre-existing health conditions it is important to have the approval of your doctor and specialist, in order to prevent any situation that could turn into an emergency.
Weighted blankets can be found through several retailers and specialized stores nationwide.