Weighted therapy is the use of weighted products to apply pressure to the body, stimulating the proprioceptors found in the muscles, enabling those who are “sensory seeking” to relax, focus and have a greater awareness of their body.
The proprioceptive sense gives us information about our body’s position and movement via receptors on the skin, in the muscles, joints and ligaments. Those with a poor proprioceptive sense have difficulty interpreting these sensations often resulting in wanting to act in a way that gives them sensory feedback – for example jumping on a trampoline, chewing, spinning, running etc with seemingly limitless reserves of energy! They have great difficulty switching off and usually do not sleep well at night. This “sensory seeking” behaviour can be calmed and controlled by the use of weighted therapy and the application of deep pressure through the use of weighted blankets, weighted belts, weighted jackets or by wrapping tightly in a compression vest. It is thought that the pressure also helps to release naturally occurring serotonin in the body, which is then converted to melatonin. This is believed to help our bodies relax and rest.
Weighted therapy is becoming widely recommended in the UK by Paediatricians and Occupational Therapists who work with children, adolescents and adults with Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, Retts syndrome, Downs syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder. It is widely used as a safe and effective treatment for sensory integration and has been recommended for use in schools, hospitals and the home setting.
Weighted Therapy can benefit those who :
- have difficulty unwinding, relaxing and sleeping
- have a short attention span and are easily distracted
- show tactile sensitivity - ie a need to touch everything or are resistant to touch
- have a poor awareness of their body or body position display self stimulatory behaviour such as rocking, twirling and chewing
Weighted blankets can benefit anyone and have also been known to help those who suffer with sleep issues due to anxiety, restlessness, muscle fatigue and sleepwalking.
The suggested weight for a therapy blanket is approximately 10% of the person's body weight. Please see my weight guide for more information. My blankets are custom made to meet your needs. I can also provide you with a fabric to match your child's favourite interest, which can help them bond with the blanket even more .