Once, there was a thing, a device called the hug machine. Also known as a hug box or squeezebox it was a huge device intended to “hug” a person performing deep-pressure touch. Similar to a human hug, the pressure from the machine was intended to calm hypersensitive individuals by squeezing their whole body with the right amount of pressure.
Just imagine the size of it!
Scientific facts prove what is universal for all humans – a hug has a therapeutic power to calm down and relax a person. The hug machine was a great solution for calming down patients with autism, anxiety, stress disorders, that are too hypersensitive to benefit from a human hug.
Enjoying the benefits of the deep touch pressure stimulation, humans worked on developing a more practical therapeutic tool than a device of that size and maintenance. Well, they came up with a great alternative, the weighted blanket.
Weighted Blanket- a powerful therapeutic tool
Being well-aware of the efficiency of the hug machine, psychiatrist designed better therapeutic tool to calm down their patients. Initially, filled with stones or corn, they designed a blanket that would weight just enough to calm down the patient.
Today, weighted blankets are sophisticated products intended for mainstream use. They can be manufactured from any kind of fabric, size and weight. The additional weight is provided by small microbeads placed inside small pocket on the whole blanket’s surface. The weighted blanket for adults should weight 8-10% of the user’s body.
The Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation
For at least once, every person has experienced the deep touch pressure stimulation DTP in their life. It’s the cozy feeling underneath your heavy winter’s blanket or the squeeze of a hug from a loved one. The result is always the same, the sigh that reflects the comfort and relaxation we are experiencing at that particular moment.
A weighted blanket is intended to perform the DTP stimulation. Let’s see what this means:
As the additional weight is placed on the body, the pressure stimulates the nerve endings underneath the skin. When under pressure, they send signals to the central nervous system that the body is safe and secure. Consequently so, the parasympathetic system is activated – the rest and digest state of the organism.
The parasympathetic system regulates the body using the so-called “happiness” hormones. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and the sleep hormone melatonin. Once the stimulation activates the parasympathetic system the secretion of these hormones begins.
Fighting Against Stress
Modern living = hectic lifestyle = constant stress. For some people all this leads to stress disorders, meaning the body is stuck in one state – fight or flight. Its intention is to help the person fight off or escape the danger.
Stress causes a misbalance in the function of the nervous system. With simple words, the body perceives stress as a dangerous situation and it secrets the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. With high levels of stress hormones, the body simply cannot make the switch from sympathetic to the parasympathetic system.
The misbalance of the function of the body always leads to the occurrence of many maladies, disorders and in this particular case to insomnia.
A weighted blanket is your instant switch. However stressful your day or lifestyle may be, the weight of the blanket will help your body restore the balance. The DTP will activate the secretion of dopamine, serotonin and melatonin, which will result in relaxation, calmness, satisfaction and deep and restoring sleep.
Chasing Away Insomnia
Insomnia or disrupted sleep usually is a result of a hectic lifestyle, stress and anxiety. Moreover, the technology world is also taking its toll on us.
The DTP stimulation and the consecutive processes that perform chemical reactions result in relaxing and deep sleep. A weighted blanket is a mighty tool that stimulates the secretion of serotonin and melatonin.
- Serotonin – sleep-wake cycle regulator. It’s a precursor to melatonin and it helps the body resort to the regular sleep-wake cycle. It’s also involved in promoting longer and undisrupted night sleep.
- Melatonin – the hormone that is the only neurotransmitter that can put the body to sleep. It’s only secreted when is dark outside or when higher levels of serotonin are present in the bloodstream.
In conclusion, regular use of a weighted blanket restores the body’s balance, promotes deep sleep and relaxation. Therefore, it can also be beneficial for:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Restless-leg syndrome
- Relaxation and meditation