Dr Sabine Hoffmann - Weighted Blankets - Gravityblankets UK

Dr Sabine Hoffmann

Dr Sabine HoffmannChief Psychologist at the TWW Clinic in Berlin

“These blankets can induce a spontaneous feeling of calmness, in short, ‘all is well’ on a physical and, therefore, psychological level.”

How did you come up with the idea of using therapeutic blankets?

I have been working as a senior psychologist in acute psychiatry for more than 20 years. The question often arises of a ‘safe place’ to immediately create a safe and secure zone in the clinic during acute crises. For this reason, ordinary blankets have long been part of our field. However, a patient once brought her own therapy blanket to the ward and told me about its favourable properties. I walked her to her room and saw the blanket lying on the bed. It had already visually changed the atmosphere into a very homey one. She was able to relate individual sensations during sudden panic attacks and use the blanket to regulate states of anxiety, despair, and lack of control. Due to the feeling of being enveloped, this patient experienced an immediate positive effect on her central nervous system during trauma therapy. What she said prompted me to enquire further.

What do you think about using a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets can induce a spontaneous feeling of peace and relaxation without having to do anything. In short, everything is fine on a physical level and through this on a psychological level. Taking care of yourself (recharging your energy) serves to maintain your ability to exert yourself and, above all, to build your resilience. It helps you stay emotionally and physically healthy at work and in your private life. A healthy mind, the ability to relax, and self-control are essential for us psychotherapists!

In your opinion, in which medical areas does it make sense to use therapy blankets? Where are therapy blankets already being used successfully? Where else do you see potential/need?

We already have therapy blankets in our wards, which are also easy to wash. Depending on one’s mood – the state of relaxation or tension – the weight feels pleasant to varying degrees. By adjusting the contact surface, the patient learns to assess his current state of mind and answer the question, ‘What do I need now?’. Therefore, it enables him to recognise his own needs better.

Therapeutic blankets help our patients with:

  • Panic attacks, generalised anxiety, and worry
  • Depression with suicidal thoughts and other acute crises
  • Trauma memories—thanks to the effect of the blanket, we have observed an increased sense of security in patients at the moment thoughts of ‘I’ve got to get over this’ emerge.
  • In Borderline disorder, minor triggers can lead to a violent tension response in the body, resulting in self-harm as a reaction to impulse control disruptions. They can use the blanket to reduce tension and get rid of negative thoughts.
  • During dissociative disorder episodes, the weight of the blanket helps you feel the limits of your own body.

I see the great potential and therapeutic possibilities in weighted coats. I have already ordered several, and I intend to use them during first aid in the company. While talking helps reduce acute stress in staff members, the blanket provides a means of crisis intervention to avoid the development of long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. It happens when the acute stress situation and the body’s alarm response are silenced as soon as possible.
Your conclusion from a personal or medical point of view
‘I am a great advocate of the use of stress blankets. I encourage some patients and psychotherapist friends to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the action of a stress blanket. Thanks to it, they will cope better, and you could say that they will become their own therapist! There is a particular benefit to using the blankets and resting instead of sedative drugs because the sense of self-sufficiency is strengthened! A big thank you for this!

Your conclusion from a personal or medical point of view

I am a great advocate of the use of weighted blankets. I encourage some patients and psychotherapist friends to take advantage of the weighted blankets’ possibilities. Thanks to it, they will cope better, and you could say that they could become their own therapist! There is a particular benefit to using the blankets and resting instead of sedative drugs because the sense of self-sufficiency is strengthened! A big thank you for this!

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