Therapeutic & ‘Medical’ Considerations
What medical conditions have weighted blankets been used to support?
For decades, hospitals and clinics have used weighted blankets to help patients suffering from anxiety, including children, as a means to effectively calm their nerves. In our increasingly anxious society, it is not uncommon for everyone to experience some level of anxiety in their daily life. As many as 40 million Americans are affected by more serious and chronic anxiety disorders, many of which require the intervention of a professional or medication. For anyone experiencing any level of anxiety, weighted blankets give the option of a natural way to help ease their symptoms.
Anxiety can strike at any time of day, which is why the flexibility and versatility of weighted blankets is so critical. While medications are necessary and invaluable for many people, weighted blankets do not require a schedule or waiting period. Any time an anxiety attack surfaces, the grounding, calming hug of the weighted blanket is never far away.
One of the most popular uses of weighted blankets outside a clinical setting is reducing and easing insomnia. For those who toss and turn or wake up periodically throughout the night, a weighted blanket provides the same snug comfort that a baby feels when they are swaddled in their crib before drifting off to sleep. The firm but gentle pressure created by a weighted blanket is a signal to the brain to release various neurotransmitters, including melatonin, which is in charge of synchronizing our circadian rhythms. This means it times and regulates our sleep/wake cycles. Using a weighted blanket can help your body adopt a more regular and reliable sleeping schedule, and should ease the strain of insomnia, encouraging your body to give in to sleep. As you start to sleep more routinely and naturally, your overall health can improve greatly, and you should notice more energy in your day-to-day life.
Weighted blankets have also been shown to encourage the production of serotonin, which significantly impacts feelings of tranquility and creates a sense of peace, helping to stabilize mood and calm us down.
Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Issues, ADD/ADHD:
One of the original applications of weighted blankets was calming and soothing children with autism spectrum disorders, and they are still used today. For children experiencing sensory issues, autism spectrum disorders, and ADD/ADHD, a weighted blanket continues to be a popular, natural tool for calming the mind and relaxing the body. World renowned autism researcher Dr. Temple Grandin published a landmark 1999 study about the positive behavioral and physiological effects of deep pressure touch on children with autism. Weighted blankets provide this same deep pressure she talks about.
Good old-fashioned stress from work and life can have enormous effect on our health over time. While stress is a fact of life, the amount and intensity of stress is something we can control. Adding a weighted blanket to your daily routine can help keep stress at bay and dramatically reduce stress levels when they begin to spike. The deep touch pressure calms many high-energy functions of the body, prompting a relaxed heart rate and deep breathing. Just as we would help destress a child with physical touch, we as adults can experience that same cozy feeling under the embrace of a weighted blanket.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with veterans; however, PTSD can stem from any stressful event such as a car wreck or violent assault and effects millions of people. PTSD is comprised of a cluster of issues, many of which are addressed by a weighted blanket. The feelings of security brought on by the weighted hug of the blanket, as well as the release of mood-lifting serotonin, can help soothe and calm sufferers.
As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that can cause serious pain throughout a person's body. Emotional distress typically comes with the condition. Given the low threshold of pain for a person with fibromyalgia, sleep issues can add to the lack of emotional well-being.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but doctors can help their patients manage the symptoms they suffer. That's routinely done with medications and self-management techniques that include exercising and stress management. There's another way of helping to manage fibromyalgia, and that's done naturally with a weighted blanket.
Weighted Blankets have been used by occupational therapists for years. That relaxed feeling results in the body producing serotonin, melatonin and oxytocin. These are what tell your body that it's time for a safe and restful night of sleep.
Depression is a debilitating mental ailment that exhibits itself in many forms. A variety of therapies are available to treat depression. Weighted blankets are not a cure, but they can be a tool to help, as part of a treatment plan formed in partnership with your doctor.
One crucial way to help combat depression is by introducing small changes in your life. Studies have shown that those sleeping with a weighted blanket at night may sleep better and experience fewer symptoms associated with depression than those sleeping without it. Weighted blankets promote relaxation by providing a deep pressure touch. The physical connection can have positive effects on the hormones controlling the nervous system, affecting both moods and depression levels.
Other recent studies have shown that 78% of people preferred weighted blankets as a useful and straightforward technique to aid with depression. Weighted blankets produce deep pressure stimulation that can help mitigate anxiety, a significant contributor to depression.