In desperate need of some R&R, but can’t afford frequent trips to the spa?
Enter Deep Pressure Therapy.
This form of therapy is somewhat similar to massage therapy, but you can do it at home by yourself. (That’s right… you don’t need to coerce/persuade your significant order or close friend to come over and give you a massage!)
In this blog post, we walk you through:
- What is deep pressure therapy
- How deep pressure therapy works
- The different ways of achieving deep pressure therapy
- Using weighted blankets for deep pressure therapy
Just to be clear, deep pressure therapy = deep pressure touch = deep pressure stimulation. All these terms refer to the exact same thing.
Alright, let’s get started!
What is deep pressure therapy?
Deep pressure therapy basically involves applying firm, gentle and consistent pressure on one’s body. That’s all there is to it.
Now, the therapy might sound simple, but it actually does a world of good.
According to Harvard researchers, applying this sort of pressure helps people with autism and sensory processing disorder feel at ease, and reduces their anxiety.
Of course, you don’t need to have any of these conditions in order to enjoy deep pressure therapy. If you grapple with insomnia, or you’re just stressed out from work, then you’ll benefit from deep pressure therapy as well.
Now, while the term “deep pressure therapy” is becoming more mainstream these days, chances are that you’ve already encountered this form of therapy… you just didn’t know that it was a thing.
For instance, think about how your body reacts when you snuggle up under a heavy blanket. You probably feel calmer and more relaxed, and your mind might quieten down. That’s deep pressure therapy at work!
How does deep pressure therapy work?
Now that you know about the basics of deep pressure therapy, let’s venture a little deeper and explore the science of how it works.
Basically, when you apply deep pressure therapy, this helps your body transition from running the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Wait, whaaat? Don’t worry, we’ll explain this in humanspeak.
First, your sympathetic nervous system is what takes over when you’re in a stressful situation.
When this happens, your adrenal glands trigger the release of certain hormones, and your body activates your “fight or flight” response:
- Your heart rate increases
- Your pupils widen
- Your palms get sweaty
- Your muscles tense up
This response essentially prepares you to flee or to fight, and the physical indicators will persist as long as the threat is still around.
When the threat is gone, your body will return to its pre-arousal levels in 20 to 60 minutes.
Next, your parasympathetic nervous system is also known as your “rest and digest” system. You can think of this as the “default setting” that your body is on, assuming there’s no threat (or perceived threat present).
This system does the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, and it makes:
- Your heart rate decrease
- Your blood pressure decrease
- Your breathing slow down
- Your pupils become smaller
If there’s an ACTUAL threat present, obviously you’d want to have your fight or flight mode activated; this helps you deal with the situation.
But for people with anxiety or people who are prone to stress, your body might be in fight or flight mode even though there’s no real threat.
This means you’re constantly running on “high alert”, and you can’t get the rest you need.
Now, here’s where deep pressure therapy comes in.
As mentioned earlier, when you apply deep pressure therapy, this helps your body transition from running the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system.
More specifically: applying deep pressure therapy results in your body producing “feel good” neurotransmitters and hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.
This helps reduce the cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, and prompts the body to transition to the “rest and digest” mode.
The different ways of achieving deep pressure therapy
The most “legitimate” way of achieving deep pressure therapy is by using a squeeze or a hug machine. These are machines that are commonly used by therapists and hospitals.
If you’re wondering what a squeeze machine is, this is basically a deep-pressure device that was invented by Dr Temple Grandin back in the 1990s.
Here’s the story: Dr Grandin is on the autism spectrum herself, and when she was visiting her aunt’s ranch in Arizona, she was fascinated by how cattle who were confined in a squeeze chute for inoculation immediately calmed down after being squeezed.
After witnessing this, Dr Grandin went on to build a squeeze machine for humans, theorizing that applying deep pressure would have the same effect here.
Several studies found that the squeeze machine was useful in alleviating anxiety and stress, and therapists from across the globe now use this machine for patients who are dealing with anxiety, or require some sort of sensory relief.
Now, unfortunately, the squeeze machine is too expensive and bulky for laypeople to own; that said, there are other devices that are smaller and cost-effective, and give you the same benefits that the squeeze machine do.
Take weighted blankets, for instance. These are basically blankets that are filled with some sort of stuffing to weigh them down, and they’re proven to have a calming effect, and help to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Interested in using weighted blankets for deep pressure therapy? We’ll walk you through exactly what you need to know in the section below.
Using weighted blankets for deep pressure therapy
There are plenty of weighted blanket brands out there, so how do you know which is the best blanket for deep pressure therapy? Here are some things to consider:
Weight and size of blanket
You don’t need a blanket that’s huge -- as long as your blanket is big enough to comfortably cover you, that’s fine.
When it comes to the weight of your blanket, the general rule is that it should be 10% of your body weight. Most weighted blanket brands offer blankets in different weights, so choose one that’s right for you.
Material of blanket
Depending on which brand you go for, your weighted blanket might be made of minky, cotton, linen, flannel, fleece, etc.
Obviously, lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen will be more breathable, and the softer fabrics like minky and fleece will be warmer.
If you can’t decide what type of material to go for (and you’re worried that your blanket might be too warm or not warm enough), purchase a blanket that comes with a removable cover (such as Hush Blankets).
This way, you can either use your blanket with or without the cover, throughout all seasons.
Whether the blanket can be machine washed
Some blankets, like Hush, can be machine-washed. For these blankets, maintenance is easy -- just strip off the cover, toss them in the wash, and hang them up to dry.
If your blanket can’t be machine-washed, this means you’ll have to wash it manually.
For easier upkeep, we definitely recommend machine-washable blankets.
Experience the magic of a weighted blanket for yourself
If you’re new to the concept of deep pressure therapy and weighted blankets, we can promise… these blankets will change your life.
Seriously -- we’ve had countless customers writing in and telling us how their blankets are amazing for stress relief, and help them get a great night’s sleep.
But you don’t have to take their word for it… go ahead and experience the magic for yourself!
All Hush Blankets come with a 100 Nights Guarantee, which means that you can order and try out a Hush Blanket, risk free.
Don’t like the blanket? Just return it within 100 nights, and we’ll process a full refund for you, INCLUSIVE of shipping fees.
What are you waiting for? Get your Hush Blanket now!