Who Invented the Weighted Blanket and Why
Weighted blankets have been around for a while and were originally developed for people with sensory processing disorders (SPD). SPD is a condition that makes it difficult to process information from the senses.
The first recorded use of weighted items was in 1992 by Dr. Temple Grandin, who is known for her work with autism. She found that the deep pressure from the weighted blanket helped to calm her patients.
Weighted blankets have continued to be used for people with SPD and other conditions like anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia. They are also becoming popular among people without any medical condition who just want a good night’s sleep.
Table of Contents
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a throw-size blanket filled with moderately weighted materials such as plastic pellets, micro glass beads, sand, steel beads, pebbles and grains. It is designed to be heavy, usually between five and thirty pounds, and provide comforting pressure to your body similar to what is experienced during a massage or while cuddling up with a loved one.
According to research, weighted blankets are effective in reducing insomnia severity, fatigue, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Weighted blankets have also been found to produce a calming effect on the body and may be used by both adults and children. However, people with certain conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, should talk to their healthcare provider before using a weighted blanket.
History of the weighted blanket
Deep Pressure Stimulation: the Hug Machine
Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) first began to be used as a form of therapy in the Middle Ages. However, it wasn’t until Temple Grandin invented the Temple Grandin Hug Machine, inspired by her observations of cattle calming after passing through a chute, that the weighted blanket movement began.
The Hug Machine provided much needed deep pressure stimulation, which was found to have a calming effect on people with autism and other populations. This marked the beginning of the weighted blanket research trend, which has grown significantly in the past few years, offering relief and comfort to people all over the world.
Who invented the weighted blanket?
In 1998, Keith Zivalich, a father of three in California, invented the weighted blanket. His inspiration came after he experienced a calming and soothing sensation when his daughter placed a beanie baby on his shoulder during a road trip. His wife, who knew how to sew, helped him to create the prototype. The invention was initially known as the “Beanie Blanket”, but the company behind Beanie Babies sent him a cease and desist letter, so he changed the name to the “Bean Blanket”.
In the early and mid-2000s, weighted blankets began to gain popularity among the special needs community.
The popularity of weighted blankets increased exponentially in 2017, when the science news site Futurism raised almost $5 million through a Kickstarter campaign for their product, the Gravity Blanket. After renaming and marketing it as a sleep aid and stress reducer, they sold over 128,000 units.
The weighted blanket gained even more mainstream recognition in 2018, when Time magazine cited it as the best invention of the year for its ‘blanket that eases anxiety’ feature. After this, weighted blankets began to be sold in retail stores worldwide and were featured on many online gift guides.
We – here at Corala Blanket – started to produce and sell a premium quality weighted blanket in 2019 which was well accepted on the market, our customers loved it! Here is our first product:
How and why was the weighted blanket developed?
The weighted blanket was developed out of the need to provide deep touch pressure stimulation to patients with special needs such as autism, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Initially, doctors tried to calm their patients by placing weights on them, however, they haven’t been able to evenly distribute the weight on the body.
To solve this problem, families of these patients began creating quilted squares to place the weights in. They experimented with various fillings such as rice, beans, corn, stones, popcorn seeds, and other materials. Eventually they realized that poly pellets were the best option due to their even weight distribution. This led to the development of the modern weighted blankets found in stores today.
This massive popularity of the weighted blanket led to more research and studies being conducted to determine the effectiveness of weighted blankets as sleep aids and stress reducers. The results of these studies were overwhelmingly positive, with many of the participants reporting feeling less anxious and stressed, and experiencing a decrease in activity with weighted blankets.
It’s clear that the weighted blanket is here to stay, and it’s no surprise why. Created in 1997 by Keith Zivalich, this product has become an international phenomenon and is helping people all over the world to battle their stress and anxiety and sleep easier.
What is touch pressure stimulation therapy?
Touch pressure stimulation therapy is a type of therapy that uses deep pressure to provide physical, mental, and emotional comfort to an individual. Deep pressure stimulation is achieved by applying pressure to the body, either through the use of a hug machine, straight jackets, wraps, or arm splints.
This type of stimulation has been found to reduce heart rate, metabolic rate, and muscle tone, while also providing a sense of calming and comfort. This therapy is generally used as a form of treatment for autism, developmental delay, and other mental health conditions. It has also been found to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms and providing a calming effect.
What materials are typically used to fill a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are typically filled with moderately weighted materials like plastic pellets, micro glass beads, plastic poly pellets, steel shot beads, sand, or smooth pebbles. DIY weighted blankets may also be filled with double-strand of t-shirt yarn.
Plastic-filled blankets are typically more affordable, but bulkier and some consumers prefer to avoid plastics for personal or environmental reasons. Glass or metal are considered less likely to cause allergic reactions and due to their inherent density, require less bulk to achieve the same weight.
What is the difference between a weighted blanket and a regular blanket?
Weighted blankets are significantly different from regular blankets, as they are specially designed to provide comforting pressure to your body, similar to what you might experience during a massage or while cuddling up with a loved one. The added weight produces a calming effect when placed on the body, and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Regular blankets, on the other hand, typically provide warmth and comfort, but lack the weighted therapeutic benefits of a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets should be used propoperly and have to be purchased in the correct size, as too heavy of a blanket can cause difficulty breathing and feelings of restlessness and claustrophobia.
Where did the idea of weighted blankets come from?
The idea of weighted blankets originated in 1997 when Keith Zivalich, a father of three, was inspired by the comforting sensation of his daughter’s beanie baby on his shoulder during a road trip. He realized that the same principle could be applied to the whole body and created the first weighted blanket, which he named the ‘Magic Weighted Blanket’ after a customer said her daughter loved it so much she called it her “magic blanket”.
After that, the concept of deep touch pressure spread in the autism community, leading to family members and caregivers creating quilted squares for the weights to be placed in.
Are weighted blankets scientifically proven?
Yes, weighted blankets are scientifically proven to have a positive effect on health conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, autism, depression, and other mental or physical health conditions. Several studies have found that using a weighted blanket is safe and can reduce anxiety and restlessness, improve sleep, and calm restless bodies.
They can also help reduce episodes of anxiety, as well as reduce activity levels in people with overactive nervous systems. Ultimately, the only way to know for sure if a weighted blanket will work for you is to try one.
Benefits Of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets can have a variety of benefits. They can help to improve sleep quality, promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, ease pain and discomfort, improve focus and concentration, and boost mood and well-being.
Weighted blankets can also help people with insomnia or sleep pattern issues, as they provide deep touch pressure which helps the body release serotonin, a hormone that controls the body’s internal clock. Of course there are many pros and cons of weighted blankets.
Furthermore, they can help reduce heart rate, soothe panic disorders, increase feelings of security, calm people with sensory disorders, and improve overall mood.