How Weighted Blankets Can Help mange Fibromyalgia

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Have you tried a weighted blanket for your FM symptoms? Let me tell you how a weighted blanket can help manage anxiety, pain, sensory overload, and more.

Have you ever heard of using weight or deep pressure to get rid of pain and anxiety symptoms? If this is the case then you may be accustomed with weighted blankets, vests, or deep touch pressure devices used for kids and adults with autism, anxiety disorders, sensory processing disorders, and more.

The Reason behind Weighted Blankets

There is scientific proof that recommends that through ‘deep touch therapy’ the brain releases serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is also identified as the ‘calming chemical’ (and it is in antidepressants called SSRIs).

Not only can a weighted blanket be relaxing, but also assist in decreasing sleeplessness as well.

Except a weighted blanket is not a medicine. So definitely no side effects.

Exploring The Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation with a Weighted Blanket was a study published in 2008 for Occupational Therapy in Mental Health.

Who Weighted Blankets Can Help

There are a vast number of people these blankets can help.  People with Tourette’s, autism, Alzheimer’s, bipolar, Parkinson’s, neurological problems, ADHD, PTSD, sleep disorders, cerebral palsy, even menopause. Basically, any person who has depression, anxiety and paranoia problems can benefit from these blankets.

What is a Weighted Blanket?

The bed cover is usually packed with plastic poly pellets which have been stitched into compartments, dispensing the weight across the blanket.

Little coverage = big benefits

Here’s exactly how I use mine.

I use my blanket on my lap as I write. I discover that the weight and the coverage space are just right to help me feel attentive and centered while I work. I use it when I write, build graphics and social media posts, and when communicating with clients through Skype.

When I meet clients personally, believe it or not, I actually share. I have placed it across the lap of several clienteles as well as friends who come to visit. You certainly not know what you will get when you officially visit the Rebuilding Wellness sanctuary.

Here is a random samples of what I have for myself heard about the weighted lap blanket.

“Oh, this feels cozy!”

“I feel like someone I love is sitting on my lap.”

“This is weird, but soothing.”

“I prefer it across my shoulders instead of on my lap.”

The feedback and comments have been quite encouraging and optimistic. In particular, I reach for it to use as a calming and relaxing tool when I work with clients who appear to be anxious, stressed, or troubled.

The only less-than spirited feedback was from one client who said she constantly feels overheated and the idea of a weighted blanket did not charm her in the least. My blanket is made from a pleasantly soft fabric (plush minky) and I am certain the combination of the fuzzy fabric and the fact that it was above eighty degrees outdoor had something to do with her restraint.

Science weighs in

Let’s focus on basics. Or glass beads. You know I am a research nerd so I had to discover what science has to say about the health benefits of using a weighted item or device. Numerous months ago, I fell down the rabbit hole of research (as I repeatedly do) and found all types of unnecessary information and material. I needed to do my due diligence before digging into Lora’s blogs and articles.

Among a lot of other research articles, I read Temple Grandin’s studies on the “squeezing machine” she made to help calm her anxiety and sensory disorder symptoms. I read a small number of of her books several years ago and it was exciting to reconsider her philosophies and ideas on how to calm and soothe animals (and people, as well). I also read other research papers about the advantageous results of using weighted blankets and vests for special needs children in clinical settings.

I did not read a great deal about FM.

But, to me, it just makes sense. I found the benefits of using weighted blanket to be accurately spot on and perhaps you would, too.

A weighted blanket would not be beneficial for every FM sufferer just as particular mattresses, heating pads, and special distinctive pillows are not advantageous for everybody. I know how clinical trials work and how studies are conducted. I know that evidence of effectiveness may or may not come down the pike next week, next month, or even next year.

Study outcomes are determined by numerous factors including financing, facilities, different services and who is the most concerned. It is not essentially a factor of whether or not the study topic is effective and valid. The timeline for studies and research is quite random.

Here is an example of that timeline. I approached a magazine nearly fifteen years ago about writing an article on the therapeutic benefits of tai chi for FM. I have had amazing results from practicing tai chi and still make sure of doing it weekly to this day. Back then, I was asked to refer to studies verifying effectiveness. As there were none, I offered to write about my personal experience and they approved. I spent weeks researching the history, writing, and photographing the tai chi lessons that I hosted. I submitted the article as demanded and keenly waited for the day I’d see it published.

And, waited, and waited.

It was never published. And, I was never paid. Obviously now there are loads of research about the effectiveness of tai chi and restorative and soothing yoga for chronic pain and FM. But who cares? I knew from the very beginning that it worked for me. And, it worked for others in my tai chi class. That’s what is important to me.

The idea is, from time to time we want to try something for ourselves. Whether it is a weighted blanket, a micro current device, a tai chi class, or whatever sounds reasonable and practical to you.

So There You Have It!

As you can see, weighted blankets are being used for countless conditions and illnesses from anxiety to ASD, Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s, paranoia, depression and anxiety and everything in between.

A weighted blanket may make you (or your loved one) feel safer and protected, less anxious and at last get a better sleep.

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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