Touch Therapy Through Weighted Blankets

Touch Therapy

This trending new product has been on the rise over the past few years. Did you know that weighted gravity blankets have been used for many years as therapeutic treatment for children and adults alike? The advantages of using this type of touch therapy have clearly captured the society’s interest. Let’s explore why people have become intrigued by the use of weighted gravity blankets.

What it is?

A weighted blanket, also referred to as a gravity blanket, is a type of at-home therapy. This therapy focuses on a deep pressure stimulation, which can help to relieve tension from the body. There is a strong, positive correlation of the psychological benefits associated with this type of touch therapy. The main benefit of this blanket is to reduce stress and create a calming effect. We will explore this idea in a bit more detail throughout this article.

Materials such as poly pellets, weighted discs or glass beads, are typical fillings for weighted blankets. The use of these synthetic materials, can classify weighted blankets as unsustainable products. For our environmentally conscious friends, this probably does not sound so good. Not to worry though, there are many brands that create natural and non-toxic weighted blankets, so you don’t have compromise on your health nor the wellbeing of the climate. Essentially the filling inside provides a pressure on the body that feels like a hug. This in theory, helps to soothe the nervous system, giving off that sense of calm.

Weighted blankets can range between 3-30 pounds in weight. Depending on your body weight, the appropriate weight should be selected to maximize the benefits. These blankets can benefit anyone, from children to adults. There should be caution taken if purchasing a weighted blanket for children as there is a potential for harm. If a blanket is too heavy, you may end up reaping more harm than benefits.

Anyone can use a weighted blanket. However not everyone should. Let’s look into who should avoid investing in weighted blankets below. Take note, this article will use weighted blankets and gravity blankets interchangeably.

Who should avoid weighted blankets?

Weighted blankets can be expensive. Before investing in weighted blankets, you should consider other factors. Dr. Cristina Cusin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, suggests people who suffer from sleep apnea, sleep disorders, respiratory issues or other chronic medical conditions should consult their physician first (R). It is possible that the weight of the blanket may cause further discomfort and increase pain. Instead of soothing results the person could end up increasing risk of other health problems. Infants and toddlers should not use weighted blankets as it can cause suffocation due to its heavy nature.

Much like other treatments, the impact varies between individuals. Maintain a realistic approach if you decide to use a weighted blanket. Most companies recommend getting a weighted blanket that scales 10 percent of your body weight. However, if you do not feel comfortable with that weight scale, opt for a blanket that is lighter in weight.

Keeping this in mind, many people find health and wellness related benefits in using a weighted blanket. We talked about at home deep pressure touch therapy. Let’s look further into what deep pressure touch therapy specifically entails.

Touch therapy

Those individuals who suffer from chronic pain have most likely heard of touch therapy. By applying pressure, it relaxes the nervous system. This type of pressure or squeezing helps to reduce tension on the muscles. It also works to improve blood circulation, which results in pain relief.

The general concept behind touch therapy is simple. Apply deep pressure to encourage release of serotonin and dopamine chemicals throughout the body. The release of these chemicals boost your mood, reduce stress and put you in a serene mood.

Using this type of pressure, the weighted blanket follows the same concept. The beads inside the blanket work to soothe the muscles and joints. When experiencing distress, people rely on sensory processes to calm their nerves. Think about a time when you were sad or upset. You probably looked for comfort from someone. To get through that difficult situation, something like a hug, a pat on the back or even a warm beverage helped. Deep pressure therapy like a weighted blanket works in the same way.

In terms of pain management, a weighted blanket is meant to limit movement. If you toss and turn a lot during your sleep, you could experience pain. Slight movement of an injured joint or nerve could increase damage. Due to the weight of the blanket, you reduce movement. It makes it difficult to move around as freely as a regular blanket would allow. Thus you reduce the chance of further damage to an injured or damaged nerve.

So, there are many different types of deep pressure touch therapy. We talked about the ever-trending weighted blankets. Aside from varying in weight, these blankets can vary in their temperature as well.

The right temperature for touch therapy

When dealing with a muscle or joint injury, using a cooling and heating technique helps in alleviating pain. Whether you opt for a cooling or heated weighted blanket is dependent on the type of pain you are experiencing.

A cooling weighted blanket is made out of material that will not retain heat. Glass beads and bamboo fabric are examples of cooling material. A heated weighted blanket is made out of material that can retain heat. Material like fleece or Sherpa are examples of warming material. Electric heated weighted blankets exist as well on the market.

When it comes to  pain management and sleep, heated weighted blankets are the way to go. In this study, researchers found that majority of participants found pain relief after seven days of heat compression therapy (R). Tightened muscles and joints are the main causes of aches and pain. This makes it hard to move around or fall asleep. The warmth from a heated blanket helps to loosen tight muscles. It is great to explore the varying options on the market to find what suits you best.

Touch therapy in the form of weighted blankets helps to calm anxiety and other stresses. Anxiety, back pain, neck pain and other pains are related to the muscle and nerves. Weighted blankets stimulate the nerves and reduce the pain refluxes. Through the use of deep pressure touch therapy, other stresses like gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can also be minimized. Essentially, any pain or discomfort that arises due to stressors on the body can be managed through deep pressure therapy.

If you suffer from other chronic health conditions, consulting a trusted physician is advised. While there are many benefits associated with weighted blankets, there is still much debate regarding the associated clinical advantages.

Possible drawbacks

Regardless of clinical studies, there are many personal accounts that share positive experience associated with the use of weighted blankets. However, weighted blankets are not for everyone. The deep pressure from weighted blankets can cause suffocation, increased pain, and anxiety due to claustrophobia. Consult a trusted physician if you are interested in purchasing a weighted blanket.

Weighted blankets are filled with glass or plastic beads, making them heavier than your average blanket. This might make it difficult for you to travel with your weighted blanket. In comparison to regular blankets, they are also hard to clean. Additionally, weighted blankets are quite expensive. Of course, you should not put a price when it comes to your health. However, be mindful of the pros and cons associated with weighted blankets. This entails conducting your own research before investing in a weighted blanket.

Alright so you have done your research. You have consulted your trust physician or specialist. After confirming that a weighted blanket is suitable for you, here is when to use it.

When to use?

How or when you choose to use a gravity blanket is up to you. Analyze the signals your body is telling you each time you apply this type of touch therapy. Sleeping. Lounging. Sitting. Thinking. Don’t limit the use of a gravity blanket for just nighttime slumber. Feeling nervous or unsettled? Use a gravity blanket. Anytime you feel the need for comfort, reach for your gravity blanket.

When it comes to any type of touch therapy be cautious. Especially for touch therapy that applies deep pressure like the gravity blanket. If you misuse it, you will not experience the benefits.

Celebrity endorsement

Aside from a clinical perspective, others have found great comfort in weighted blankets. The last few years, we have seen many celebrities using weighted blankets. Kourtney Kardashian, Eric Decker and Vanessa Grimaldi are a few to name. Great for reducing stress and promoting a restful slumber, many people have been opting for weighted blankets. These benefits have not gone unseen by our celebrity friends. Although the weight will throw you off the first time you use it, after a while your body will adjust.

Gravity blanket reviews

Weighted blankets, or gravity blankets have been used by occupational therapists to treat patients with sensory disorders. So, using a gravity blanket for therapeutic purposes is nothing new. They help to reduce stress and improve sleep. Additionally, they help those with bad sleeping habits. If you tend to move around a lot when sleeping, the weight of the blanket will limit your movements. This in turn will allow you to experience a more restful night’s sleep.

There are many types of gravity blankets available on the market. They have been around for so many years, that the option are endless. If you are worried about the sustainability of gravity blankets, don’t worry. Eco-friendly companies have come out with their own sustainable version of gravity blankets.

Choosing the right blanket weight is important to ensure that you are reaping in the benefits. There is no harm is purchasing a lighter weight blanket. If you purchase a blanket that is too heavy, you will end up doing more harm than good. The blanket weight ranges from 3 pounds to 30 pounds. Most manufacturers recommend a blanket that is 10% of your body weight. Remember these blankets are meant to be heavy, so choose the right weight.

If you find that you can’t move around under a blanket, that is indication that it is too heavy for you. Oversized blankets sound comfy. In this case though, find a gravity blanket that is just the right size for your body. If the blanket is too large, the pressure will not be distributed evenly on your body.

Where to buy?

Due to their rising popularity, you can search for weighted blankets almost anywhere. Using search terms such as: ‘weighted blanket Amazon’, ‘weighted blanket Walmart’, ‘weight blanket Target’. You will find that all these local retailers sell weighted gravity blankets.

For blankets that are eco-conscious, Luna, Truhugs, Bearby, Baloo and Cariloha sell gravity blankets that are made from materials that are safe for our environment. Glass beads, bamboo, Tencel, hemp fabric are all examples of eco-friendly materials. You will find that many sustainable brands use these materials to produce gravity blankets.

Weighted blankets can be expensive. They can start around $100. Before investing in a blanket for yourself or for someone else, be sure to check it is right for you. If you are using it to help treat a sleep disorder or for pain management, keeping track of your results is great. Keep in mind results will vary. By keeping track, you will be able to identify whether this type of treatment is working for you.

Let’s explore some ways you can keep track of your results.

Keeping track

It can be hard to understand what pain management techniques are working for your body. The CareClinic app is an innovative platform that you can download on your iPhone or Android device to manage your healthcare goals. It allows the user to document and monitor their therapy and activities as well as pain symptoms. This platform allows for the user to be proactive and in charge of their own health. It can help you understand what techniques are right for your pain relief.

Medication, physical activity, symptoms, sleep are a few examples of what a tracker app can do for you. Sometimes we may forget to jot down our symptoms or think that we will be able to remember it. How convenient would it be if you could analyze the affect of your treatments on your treatments? The symptom tracker is an excellent feature to help identify and determine what is affecting your health.

Use the Reports feature on the app to document the aftereffects of a weighted blanket. Be patient though when it comes to using a weighted blanket. Similar to other types of touch therapy, results are usually instant but temporary. Over time you will be able to see how a weighted blanket has helped in managing your pain and that the effects are longer lasting. Keep in mind though if you feel unbearable pain, consult your physician and limit your use of a weighted blanket.

Healthcare management

Tracking your symptoms and therapy is a beneficial tool in examining your health progress. In the Check-in section of the app, there is an Activity feature where you can include the types of pain relief exercises you want to perform. If your physician has recommended certain physical therapies or exercises, this would be a great place to store and remind yourself to keep a routine in check.

Set a reminder on the app so that you never miss out on recording symptoms and factors. This can help you determine the factors that influence your pain. The reports section can illustrate any fluctuations in the level of pain. This way you can work towards reducing those factors. The more you record, the easier it becomes for you to manage your pain.

Concluding remarks

Whether you are looking for a touch therapy to manage pain and help with sleep. Or you are looking for something to help reduce stress. Many people are finding that weighted blankets offer soothing benefits. From anxiety to insomnia to pain, people with these conditions opt for a weighted blanket.

Weighted blankets are essentially the same as swaddling. They give you that warm and comforting feeling due to deep pressure. This releases serotonin which helps ease any pain or stress the body may feel. Weighted blankets have been recommended by occupational therapists to treat sleep and behavioral disorders for some time now. Many people are finding that they help you set good sleeping habits and reduces stress on the body.

After some research you are probably interested in investing in a weighted blanket. If you have found that weighted blankets are a type of touch therapy you want to try, consult a physician first. As mentioned, suffering from other health disorders might make weighted blankets unsuitable for your use.

Educate yourself on the process and implications from using a gravity blanket. Keep track of your health progress. Engage in activities and treatments that help to ease the stress from your body. Monitor your results and take initiative for your own heathy lifestyle.

 

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Viral Pandya