If you have a weighted blanket, then you know just how awesome they are. We call it “blanket therapy!’ If not, you may just want to try one out. A weighted blanket can be used to calm, orient and even for a good night sleep and some zzzzzzs. A weighted blanket feels somewhat like a weighted X-ray apron used in a dentist office (minus the anxiety and the lead of course!). It’s a blanket with dispersed weight that spreads across your body. The deep pressure (weight) felt through the skin receptors actually encourages calm and internal organization, allowing the individuals to feel more relaxed and less anxious. Lets take a look at some ways to use a weighted blanket and why.
1. Blanket Therapy. Everyone loves a blanket that wraps around your body or lays across your core. But adding weight to it just makes it all that much better. Its like blanket karma gone awesome. Weighted blankets can be used to swaddle users from pre-school through seniors. And though no one has interviewed them, there are a few four-legged friends who love their weighted blankets too.
2. Sleeping. A weighted blanket is a great resting or sleeping companion. The pressure down through the back, core and legs can mean the difference between a restless night and a restful night. Your blanket can be selected to fit the entire bed or just to cover you like a throw. That is up to personal preference. You can choose a blanket at 10% of the body weight or heavier to your meet your own specific needs. Some like it heavy and some like it light. Young children should be supervised to be sure they can easily move from under their blanket.
3. Sensory Integration. Sensory seeker? Sensory Over Responder? Sensory Under Responder? Weighted blankets can be a great part of a sensory room for all sensory types. The gentle compression can calm a sensory seeker who craves input, calm an over responder who is easily overwhelmed and orient an under responder who needs the heavy input. Having a blanket in your reading corner can be a great accessory to encourage focus and attention. Try getting your kids on their tummies with a blanket sprawled across their backs to read their favorite book.
4. Anxiety. From young to old we see an increase in anxiety as well as Autism, ADHD and many other sensory challenges. Weighted blankets, though no cure, can be an essential tool for helping individuals to cope and calm.
5. Yoga. Have you ever experience shavasana at the end of a yoga class? Using a heavy blanket is key to this restful part of your yoga session. Plus blankets can be used as props for sitting and positioning. A small personal weighted blanket can be much like your own personal mat.
6. Lap Pad. Many weighted blankets can fold up. This makes them double as a weighted lap pad, which can be used during car travel, while doing homework or anytime concentration is needed.
If you are not sure about which blanket is best for you or your children, check with an occupational therapist or physical therapist who can help you find the blanket that meets your needs.