Weighted Blankets and Deep Touch Pressure

sleep science

Weighted blankets have become mainstream, but do you know how they work? It's all down to Deep Touch Pressure (DTP).

Toby Richards

Deep touch pressure (DTP) is generally referred to as a form of tactile sensory input, which is often provided by holding, stroking, hugging, swaddling, and squeezing.

The application of DTP is usually used to manage the anxiety of people with cognitive developmental disorders, sensory modulation disorders, or psychological disorders.

Research has indicated that DTP intervention can increase the quality of life of patients suffering from anxiety, pain, and unrest, including individuals with developmental disability, dementia, attention deficits, and nonspecific special needs.

The weighted blanket has been increasingly employed in acute mental health care settings for crisis intervention as it gives subjects the feelings of safety, relaxation, and comfort.

For patients with high levels of anxiety or arousal, DTP intervention acts as a calming or focusing agent to increase activity in the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system (this helps maintain normal body functions and conserves physical resources).

Following a study carried out in 2011 on patients undertaking dental treatment, use of a weighted blanket demonstrated a calming effect, alleviating anxiety. Through various measurements it was shown that parasympathetic activity was significantly enhanced by use of a weighted blanket.

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