Use of Weighted Blanket as Non Medicinal Anxiety Therapy
Let’s face it, we live in a time and age when it is almost normal to feel like we are in a constant state of unrest. With instant access to everything through handheld electronics, 24/7 news cycles, and information coming at us from every which way, it is understandable that we would be almost uncomfortable in any place other than the middle of nowhere. All of this on its own can cause anxiety from worrying about the next terrible thing the news is going to show, which website to trust, and how to stop getting so much information. But, anxiety is not a joke. It can be a serious, even crippling disorder. In fact, Anxiety Disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States, (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54) according to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
According to WebMd, there are a number of anxiety disorders. From panic disorders to social anxiety disorders to specific phobias to general anxiety disorder, there is no shortage of legitimate psychological reasons for anxiety disorders and feeling anxious every now and then. While everyone has different symptoms and causes of anxiety, according to WebMD, here are some things to look out for if you are unsure if you have a diagnosable disorder. To learn more about how prevalent anxiety is, read this.
- Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Not being able to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
While there are treatments for anxiety from therapy to medication, there is a surprising aide to help quell anxiety: a weighted blanket. In fact, according to the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Journal, “Deep pressure touch stimulation (or DPTS) is a type of therapy that almost anyone can benefit from. Similar to getting a massage, pressure exerted over the body has physical and psychological advantages. According to Temple Grandin, Ph.D., “Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. [sic] Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.” Thus, weighted blankets provide a deep pressure and touch which can quell anxiety. Plus, they can be used to pet or hold to further help with anxiety.
Weighted blankets work to help quell anxiety in the following manner according to the same source. “A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug. The pressure also helps relax the nervous system. It’s a totally safe and effective non-drug therapy for sleep and relaxation naturally. Psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units use weighted blankets to calm a patient’s anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep. In a similar way to swaddling comforting an infant, the weight and pressure on an adult provides comfort and relief.” Imagine being in a warm embrace by someone you trust. This is what a weighted blanket does. And this is not just confined to bed time.
You can use a weighted blanket almost anywhere. From work to watching TV, to sitting in the car as a passenger, this is a versatile solution. And this is not just confined to bed time. Plus, they can be used with children who have anxiety disorders or disorders that cause anxiety as a side effect such as ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). According to Medical Daily, “Studies have shown weighted blankets can help children with ASD fall asleep. The kids benefit not only from the release of serotonin the blankets bring, but also from the decrease in heart rate and blood pressure that result from the calming effect. This allows for more control, and in turn, a better chance of rest.” If a weighted blanket can do this for a child, imagine that it can do the same for an adult.
Native Americans knew all of this well before science proved it to be true, however. The Medical Daily mentions how they used to use heavy blankets to calm newborns “Fussiness.” Now hospitals’ birthing units use heavy blankets too for this reason. But, even for those without a named disorder, weighted blankets help too. In fact, one 2014 study showed that patients who complained of pain, sleep stress, and sleep dysfunction, had a reduction in cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which lead to overall better sleep quality. Plus, according to Medical Daily, “Another paper found that 63 percent of the study participants reported lower anxiety after using a weighted blanket, a benefit that has been verified by subsequent papers.” Weighted blankets work for anxiety as well as general sleep disturbances, pain, and other disorders in children and adults alike.
At Hippo Hug, we specialize in weighted blankets that we custom make. We take your height, body measurements and your use for the blanket, and we make the blanket to those specifications. Thus, you will get a blanket to hug you and make you feel as if you are getting your own massage or deep sensory therapy treatment. Plus, you will get all the benefits a weighted blanket brings for anxiety or any other medical disorder mentioned in this article. Contact us today to help get relief for your anxiety. As with all medical disorders, we do recommend you speak with a doctor and use this as part of your treatment plan. This article is not meant to give medical advice, but only point out the benefits of weighted blankets for anxiety and more. We look forward to helping you relax.