Weighted blankets — also sometimes known as anxiety blankets — have become quite popular in recent years, which might lead you to believe they're a relatively new product. However, weighted blankets — and the therapy behind them — have been around for much longer.
Let’s break down some weighted blanket myths — and how they work in the first place.
What Is an Anxiety Blanket?
When you shop for an anxiety blanket, you’ll most often hear them referred to as weighted blankets. This is because weighted blankets are for much more than just anxiety (although they can be great for that, too).
Made to be just about 10 percent of a person’s body weight, anxiety blankets are designed to deliver a type of therapy called deep pressure touch stimulation. Used by occupational therapists, this therapy involves firm but gentle hugging, squeezing and pressure on the body. When it’s done right, deep pressure touch stimulation can cause the body to release dopamine and serotonin — the neurotransmitters that help regulate moods and make people feel happier.
How an Anxiety Blanket May Help You (or a Loved One)
At Luna, we hear from people who say their weighted blanket helps with a wide variety of health conditions. Here are just a few ways a weighted blanket may help you, your child or a loved one:
Anxiety and Panic Disorder - Some research has shown that firm, gentle pressure can help reduce anxiety and ease the symptoms of panic disorder. You can read more about what science has to say about the effectiveness of weighted blankets in Weighted Blankets for Adults with Anxiety and Panic Disorder.
Insomnia - If you’re one of the 1 in 3 people who suffer from insomnia, a weighted blanket may help you sleep better at night. For more information, check out Insomnia? Try a Weighted Blanket for Sleep.
PTSD - Post-traumatic stress disorder affects about 5.2 million people. Fortunately, weighted blankets have been shown to help manage the anxiety and other symptoms of PTSD. Take a look at Weighted Blankets for Anxiety and PTSD to learn more.
Fibromyalgia - Frequently misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed, fibromyalgia can severely limit a sufferer’s quality of life. The good news is that deep pressure touch therapy may help reduce symptoms. See: Can a Weighted Blanket Help with Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
Anxiety in Pets - Our four-legged, furry family members can experience anxiety, too. Although specialty products like tight-fitting shirts are available, not all pets like to wear them. Many of our customers have had great success using a weighted blanket for their dog. To learn more, read Have an Anxious Pet? How Weighted Blankets for Dogs Might Help.
Sensory Processing Disorder - Sensory processing disorder can affect both children and adults. Researchers describe it as a traffic jam in the brain. A weighted blanket may provide the sensory input sufferers need to focus and calm down. Check out Weighted Blankets and Sensory Processing Disorder What You Need to Know.
ADHD - Do you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? You’re certainly not alone. It affects 6.4 million children and around 4 percent of adults. Studies have shown that weighted blankets can help people with ADHD feel less anxious and more centered, so they can concentrate on one task at a time. Check out: Do Weighted Blankets Help with ADHD?
- Autism - Research shows that children with autism also frequently suffer with anxiety. They may also experience sleep difficulties, as well as challenges processing sensory input. We explain how weighted blankets may help ease these symptoms in our post: How to Find the Best Weighted Blanket for Autism.
Don’t see your specific health concern? Here are 20 more benefits of weighted blanket therapy.
Why Weighted Blankets for Anxiety Are Here to Stay
Studies have shown that deep pressure touch stimulation therapy works. Noted autism researcher Dr. Temple Grandin published her findings with the therapy in 1992. Since then, occupational therapists have used Dr. Grandin’s “squeeze machine” for decades.
While squeeze machines do work, they are bulky, heavy and quite costly. The majority of people can’t afford thousands of dollars to put one in their home. Fortunately, weighted blankets are affordable and portable. They can travel with the user, with many children taking them to school, in the car or on vacation.
Over time, people have discovered that weighted blankets can help ease the symptoms of a range of health concerns. Parents have ordered them for their kids, only to find out the weighted blanket helps them, too.
As with any popular product, there are always startup companies and online entrepreneurs looking to pump out a low-quality product at an inflated price. There are a handful of weighted blanket manufacturers that outsource their production overseas, offer a limited selection of options and offer zero customization.
There are cheap imitators, and then there are high-quality weighted blankets made with care and attention to ensure the user receives the therapeutic benefits. At Luna, we take our work seriously because we know what the research says about why anxiety blankets work and how they can help people.
Far from being a fad, weighted blankets are changing the way people sleep, rest and relax. Ready to order yours?