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Weighted down by anxiety? Try a weighted blanket.
by cynefin April 2nd 2019, 06:25 PM

Weighed down by anxiety? Try a weighted blanket.
By Cassie (cynefin)



[source]

Weighted blankets are blankets that have evenly distributed weight in them to soothe people who are struggling. These blankets provide deep pressure therapy, or deep touch pressure (DTP). The use of this therapy provides a tactile sense that helps calm children and adults alike. Weighted blankets can simulate a hug or an action that is otherwise comforting. Serotonin and Dopamine are sometimes released. Deep touch pressure is especially helpful to people who are on the autism spectrum, have dementia or fibromyalgia, or for those who have post traumatic stress disorder or other anxieties.

Other weighted objects such as stuffed animals, pillows, vests and lap-pads are also available for purchase and have similar benefits, but this article will focus on weighted blankets.

Weighted blankets have a variety of filling, but a lot of them are filled with glass beads or plastic pellets. Many weighted blankets have quilt-like compartments to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed.

Some blankets are sold with covers, often called minky dot covers for the texture of them. These covers typically tie or snap onto the edge of the blanket to hold it in place. Ties can sometimes be difficult, however, as they can come loose with use, and sometimes the string used unravels over time. Other blankets are sold as just the inserts themselves, and while someone can purchase a cover, it isn't a necessity.

When choosing a weighted blanket, it helps to know what a person's weight is. It is suggested to choose a blanket that weighs a minimum of ten percent of someone's body weight. A 120lb person would need a 12lb blanket, and a 150lb person would need a 15lb blanket, respectively. It is especially important to make sure a blanket is not too heavy as a child or someone who has an illness (such as dementia) may not be able to easily remove it. While it is suggested to choose a weighted blanket that is ten percent of someone's body weight, some people sometimes choose a heavier one for more deep pressure or soothing results.

Among the advantages is the relief it provides for those struggling (as well as any caregivers). Weighted blankets can be used by themselves or with other coping techniques and they often make a big difference for people who use them. People who do not like human contact (such as a hug) especially benefit from weighted blankets. Moreover, there is an opportunity to support small businesses and families when someone purchases one on a website such as Etsy.

Disadvantages can include the price of the blankets and the difficulty in washing them, as well as lack of portability. Weighted blankets do get pricey, especially if purchased commercially. Someone looking to reduce the price can search for blankets on Etsy or look at warehouses. There is a discount warehouse in some of the Eastern states, for instance, that sometimes gets blankets in.

Weighted blankets can also be made at home if one is crafty. DIY fillings (such as bean bags) and colors or fabrics of one's liking can be utilized.

Weighted blankets can present a challenge when they need to be washed. Some companies recommend only washing the cover, while others say that one can wash the blanket but only hang dry it. It may be hard to hang dry such a heavy blanket, though! Be sure to follow all of the care and washing instructions suggested by the crafter or the manufacturer.

The weight of these blankets make the portability decrease. Over time, someone can choose to get another weighted object, or a lighter blanket that they can use in different areas of their home or while traveling.

The benefits people receive from deep touch pressure outweigh the cost and portability, however. A price cannot be put on a calmer mind and body! People looking to purchase or create a blanket of their own can consider the aspects listed above before choosing what is best for them or their families.
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