Tourette’s syndrome is a brain-based neurodevelopmental disorder that causes involuntary movements and sounds known as tics, which range from mild to extreme. It is a genetic condition that usually reveals itself in early childhood. Simple motor tics include movements such as blinking, shoulder shrugs, and jerking or tilting of the head. Complex motor tics can include jumping, spinning, and touching. Simple vocal tics may incorporate sniffing, stuttering, humming, and grunting. Complex vocal tics can include repeating phrases or words and uttering obscenities.
It’s more than embarrassing. Tourette’s can cause physical pain due to repeated unexpected movements. It can also carry a serious negative stigma, which leads to low self-esteem and mental health issues. Outsiders may view a person with Tourette’s as uncontrollable and poorly behaved, and those with Tourette’s are often subjected to teasing and bullying.
A weighted blanket for Tourette’s syndrome may be an option if you or a loved one has been diagnosed. In fact, weighted blankets are beneficial for a number of different conditions, including anxiety, dementia, chronic pain, and PTSD.
How do weighted blankets work?
Weighted blankets were first used to assist with sensory processing disorder, which is a condition where the brain has difficulty handling and responding to all the differing types of information coming in through the senses. Symptoms may be over-reactions to loud noises, being hypersensitive to light and becoming very ill when certain smells are present. Even fabrics can cause severe reactions, as certain types may chafe or aggravate the skin. Just one of these reactions can be overwhelming and extremely uncomfortable.
The constant, even pressure provided by a Hippo Hug weighted blanket helps the body feel comfortable and secure, quite a lot like receiving a warm embrace. The feeling can ease anxiety by facilitating relaxation and deterring unwelcome and undesirable thoughts. Although a weighted blanket will not cure sensory processing disorder, they do help lessen the negative affects of symptoms by encouraging relaxation, calming the brain, and allowing the user to be more present and able to process information in a more cohesive manner.
More common than may be thought, WebMD reports that Tourette’s is diagnosed in three in 1,000 children under the age of 17, and it is three times more likely to be found in boys than girls. Medical professionals theorize that Tourette’s may stem from neurological differences that inhibit the part of the brain that acts as a brake for unwanted movements and sounds. Cognitive behavioural therapy combined with traditional habit reversal techniques may assist in reducing tics, as well as some medications
A weighted blanket for Tourette’s syndrome works the same way it does for those with sensory processing disorder and those who have been diagnosed with anxiety, dementia, ADHD/ADD, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and more. “Here’s How Weighted Blankets are Helping People With Anxiety,” describes weighted blankets as, “… like a baby being swaddled — the weight and pressure work to comfort and provide much-needed relief, encouraging the production of serotonin in order to uplift your mood.” Weighted blankets generate a calming affect, which can decrease heart rates and reduce blood pressure. They are totally natural and safe for all ages; in fact, weighted blankets are often used in psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units.
How to choose your weighted blanket
Since Tourette’s generally first appears while children are young, it will likely be up to a parent to choose their weighted blanket. They are safe for all ages over three years unless recommended otherwise by a health care professional. Hippo Hug weighted blankets are currently in use at several hospitals, assisted living facilities, the federal psychiatric correctional facility in Regina, and are being trialed for use in the pediatric ICU at McMaster University Hospital.
At Hippo Hug, we handcraft our weighted blankets using specially designed weighted disks that are slim and unobtrusive, meaning your blanket will look just like any other. The disks will also not dislodge or come loose, as they are carefully secured in their pocket by three extra-strong seams.
We make blankets in several different sizes and weights. In order to be most effective, a weighted blanket should be between 5 to15% of your body weight. In our experience, many choose too little weight to start. That’s why we’re pleased to be able to lend you a blanket so you can test what will work best for you. We also have dozens of fabric choices to choose from that will match any décor. We carry soft cotton, cuddle textiles, organic cotton and liquid resistant fabrics in a number of different patterns.
Hippo Hug also makes shoulder wraps and lap pads to help produce a calming effect during the day.