by Rifen Gonsalves, 7 December 2022
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What’s the benefit of weighted blankets from Rekhas House of Cotton?
Weighted blankets and other products come in all different shapes and sizes. Weighted blankets are commonly recommended for autistic individuals. There are many blog posts advising on the benefits of weighted blankets and how they can help with anxiety and stress. Sometimes they are recommended for those with ADHD. In this post we explore why weighted products might be recommended and also consider some of the dangers
How do weighted blankets work?
The core idea behind all weighted products is that they provide additional deep touch pressure. We explore deep touch pressure in our post – Everything You Need to Know About the Touch Sense. You may want to read the post first before you continue. For those who really want to understand the neurology behind deep touch pressure, we would recommend our online Sensory Processing Disorder training.
When something touches the skin, the skin receives sensory messages about the touch. This includes how hard or soft the touch was. A feather for example is soft or light touch. Deep touch pressure refers to firmer touch or a squeeze. A good example of this is when you receive a firm hug from someone. That ‘harder’ touch gives the brain different sensory information to a feather.
What are the benefits of weighted blankets?
It is thought that touch pressure, alongside proprioceptive sensory input, is more calming than light touch. Consider for a moment receiving a massage. Usually, the therapist uses a firmer pressure. This is what helps you to relax. If the therapist started to tickle you, you would probably become very alert and the massage would be less enjoyable.
The hypothesised benefit of weighted blankets, pads, animals and vests is that they provide deep touch pressure. The pressure from the weight activates the touch sensors in the same way a massage therapist can. This is why weight can be calming and beneficial for some individuals, including those with autism. The calming effect is thought to help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Do weighted blankets and similar products work?
Honestly, weighted products won’t work for everyone. Like all sensory strategies, they help some people and not others. This is because everyone is different. Sometimes, they are described as the magic bullet for calming and anxiety reduction – the essential solution you have been looking for. But, it’s common for them to make no difference at all.