Weighted Blankets Offer New Hope in Treating Trauma and Mental Health Challenges During Mental Wellness Month

January is Mental Wellness Month and it’s a time to focus not only on our own well-being but also on contributing positively to the mental health of others. In a collaborative effort to support trauma recovery, American Friends of NATAL is partnering with TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers in a fundraising campaign. This campaign is dedicated to providing Israeli victims of trauma with weighted blankets, a proven tool for emotional healing and resilience.

The Benefits of Weighted Blankets: Understanding How it Works

Weighted blankets are gaining attention as a therapeutic tool. Resembling a duvet or comforter, these blankets are uniquely filled with materials like glass beads or plastic pellets, sometimes combined with fiberfill, to add significant weight. But what is it about the heaviness of these blankets that soothes our minds and bodies?

The answer lies in deep pressure touch, also known as deep pressure stimulation. This technique can manifest in various forms such as swaddling for infants, massage, hugs, or the evenly distributed pressure of a weighted blanket over the body. Scientifically, it’s proven to lower cortisol levels – the hormone released during stress. Simultaneously, it boosts the production of hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin, which are essential for relaxation, mood regulation, and signaling our brain that it’s time to sleep. In essence, these blankets offer a simple way to reduce stress and enhance relaxation.

Innovative Comfort for Trauma Recovery: AFN and TOM’s Weighted Blanket Initiative

For individuals grappling with PTSD and other trauma-related challenges, the collaborative initiative by American Friends of NATAL and TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers represents a significant advancement in therapeutic support. Through a donation of just $108, this program ensures the provision of a weighted blanket to someone in trauma treatment. These blankets serve as a practical tool for comfort and healing, offering tangible support in the journey towards recovery. Together, the organizations have already garnered support for over 400 blankets. The campaign is now pushing to reach a milestone of 500 weighted blankets, to provide warmth and security to those going through the healing process.

“This campaign represents a beautiful partnership between American Friends of NATAL and TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers, two organizations united by a common purpose to offer hope and healing to those suffering from trauma. By combining our resources, expertise, and compassionate drive, we are able to give a promise of support and resilience to those who need it most,” commented Maayan Aviv, Executive Director and CEO at American Friends of NATAL.

Comforting Embrace: How Weighted Blankets are Transforming Mental Health Care

Mental health experts have been increasingly acknowledging the positive impact of weighted blankets, especially for those experiencing anxiety. In one study, 68% of participants using a 30-pound weighted blanket reported a significant reduction in anxiety. This finding is particularly relevant for individuals who have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Another study highlighted that adults sleeping with weighted blankets experienced longer, more uninterrupted sleep compared to those using standard bedding. The blankets have been utilized in hospital psychiatric departments as a calming tool for patients with various mental health conditions.

Healthcare professionals, such as those at Ichilov Hospital’s rehabilitation ward, have also provided extremely positive feedback on the use of weighted blankets in patient care. The improved sleep quality attributed to these blankets has led to substantial improvements in patient outcomes. An occupational therapist at the hospital noted, “Patients are now sleeping better, which has helped reduce their pain. They’ve become more alert and their cooperation during treatment has significantly improved.”

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