Dr Sabine HoffmannChild and Youth Psychotherapist and PTSD Therapist
“It’s just nice to see a patient’s restlessness diminish over a short period of time.“
How did you come across the concept of weighted blankets?
While exchanging opinions with colleagues, we wondered if there were any ways to supplement or support our cognitive work in order to additionally stimulate or calm our patients on a somatic level. Thus, we came across therapeutic blankets that are really practical.
In which medical areas, according to you, weighted blankets should be used? Where are they already successfully used?
For relaxation exercises and imagination exercises, it is very helpful to offer the patient a weighted blanket. Due to the pleasant pressure on the body, over-aroused patients can often calm down faster. In my work with injuries, ADHD or sensory integration disorders, I find it especially helpful. The main goal of the therapy, especially in stabilization work, is to regulate the autonomic nervous system because it is constantly overstimulated. In this case, the blankets also support with their touch and pleasant warmth, evoking a sense of security and encouragement.
Blankets and weighted collars can also be used outside the strict field of medicine, such as in kindergartens during the morning circle, to increase classroom concentration for any sleep problems caused by anxiety.
What are your conclusions from a personal or medical point of view?
It is important that the weighted blanket is individually fitted to the patient. In my experience, if it is too heavy or too light, it can increase physical anxiety or can lead to an unpleasant feeling of pressure. It’s just nice to watch the patient’s restlessness diminish over a short period of time. Experience shows that there is a training effect, the more often blankets are used, the faster the body can recover. Children, in particular, when they need it, ask for the blanket themselves after several uses. It’s nice to see how intuitively, especially the youngest patients (2-5 years old), use weighted blankets or put them away on days when they do not need them.