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Why Weighted Blankets are perfect for Athletic Recovery

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When working out in the gym, running a marathon or doing any sport where you’re pushing yourself to the limit, you need to replenish your body’s resources – and that includes rest. Weighted blankets are proven to improve sleep and fight insomnia, and good sleep can speed up athletic recovery by allowing the body to rest more fully, allowing the muscles to completely relax, restore and revitalise themselves. 

 

How Do Weighted Blankets Speed Up Recovery?

Weighted blankets work by providing firm, Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation, or DTP. According to the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology  “Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling.”

The weighted filling inside the blanket produces a stroking, soothing tactile sensation when you move. Like a hug, it stimulates the release of serotonin and melatonin, decreasing anxiety and ultimately leading to deeper sleep. Dr. Temple Grandin, PhD, who lives with autism spectrum disorder, was one of the first to point out the benefits of deep-touch pressure provided by weighted blankets to help relax overstressed nervous systems.

 

The PrettySpecial Weighted Recovery Blanket weighs around 5.5kg and is the size of our Toddler blanket – 80cm x 120cm. So it’s perfect to use when you’ve just finished a long run or won that gruelling rugby match. It’s just the right size and weight to wrap around your legs or shoulders. It’s also not too heavy or too large to carry with you and can be easily rolled up and put in your gym bag.

 

This message came from an avid runner who frequently runs marathons:

“ I can say for sure that after a long run, having that weight on your legs feels awesome, it’s like a constant massage.”

If you’re thinking about trying a weighted recovery blanket please feel free to email us at info@prettyspecial.co.za or message us here, we deliver straight to your door, throughout South Africa.

Can a Weighted Blanket help with the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

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The chronic condition known as fibromyalgia affects tens of thousands of South Africans. 

According to saga.orgthe medical profession, and also the medical aid industry, do not take this condition seriously.

In fact, doctors are fond of telling patients who suffer endless body pain as a result of this condition that they are “imagining it” and that they should “get over it and get lots of sleep and exercise”.

The medical view of the condition hasn’t changed despite the fact that thousands of South Africans experience endless pain and sensitivity all over their bodies, and doctors and specialists alike are happy to deduce that these people have “dreamt” up this illness.

Like many other chronic pain conditions currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Certain pharmaceuticals can help to relieve the symptoms but patients continually report mixed results. The side effects caused by fibromyalgia medication are often just as bad as the pain caused by the condition itself.

 

What is Fibromyalgia?

Mayoclinic.org defines Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

 

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread pain. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Cognitive difficulties.

 

Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other painful conditions, such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraine and other types of headaches
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

 

How can a weighted blanket help?

 

An Increase in Serotonin

Researchers believe that by boosting serotonin, fibromyalgia sufferers may experience a reduction in these symptoms. Weighted therapy can help increase the levels of Serotonin and Melatonin overnight. The soothing effect of a weighted blanket can create a more comfortable environment for falling asleep by imitating the feeling of being swaddled tightly in bed. The “relaxed state” results from serotonin production, which is necessary to release melatonin – the sleep hormone.

Researchers also found that deep touch pressure significantly decreases cortisol levels. After applying deep pressure, cortisol levels dropped by 31%.

 

A Reduction in Anxiety & Fatigue

PrettySpecial weighted blankets use Deep Touch Pressure, which trigger the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are the two major feel-good hormones for your brain. Both these beneficial compounds can combat stress, depression, and anxiety. This means it’ll be faster to fall asleep, reduce anxiety, go into a deeper sleep, and move less throughout the night.

 

Help Manage Pain

Understandably, pain takes a tremendous toll on fibromyalgia patients. Prescription medication can cause long-term negative health problems and so many sufferers prefer alternative ways to relieve their pain. This is where a weighted blanket may help. By applying Deep Touch Pressure to the body to increase the release of serotonin, this in turn relaxes the nervous system and then causes a chain reaction in the body that releases an overall sense of calm and peace. Benefits include reduced pain, better sleep, improved focus, lower anxiety levels, and improved social interaction. 

 

An Improvement in Mood

As said previously, the release of dopamine and serotonin not only relaxes the nervous system, but also gives you an emotional pick-me-up after a quick snuggle session, imitating a nice, warm HUG. By the way, both hugs and heavy blankets also trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that slows down your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and promotes feelings of relaxation, improving your mood overall.

If you think a PrettySpecial weighted blanket can help you and would like to try one, please feel free to contact us here or simply drop us an email at info@prettyspecial.co.za

 

Weighted blankets for Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that displays extreme high and low moods. Changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behaviour are also evident. 

Bipolar Disorder is often clouded with misconception as symptoms can rapidly shift from one extreme to the other.  Severe mood swings are the most noticeable symptoms of the disorder which can disrupt the daily functioning of a person or family.

When in a manic state, the person displays restlessness, impulsiveness, confusion, and angers quickly, while the change to a depressive state leaves the person feeling saddened, fatigued, unfocused, and unable to sleep. Causes for bipolar disorder are often genetic, but are also attributed to an imbalance in brain chemistry or stress from traumatic events.

The long-term effects can be maintained with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.

Although it’s not a definite cure, psychotherapy teaches the person experiencing the disorder to recognise when he or she is having an episode of manic or depressive feelings in order to seek appropriate treatment.

How a weighted blanket can help

The way in which weighted blankets, and weighted therapy in general can help, is similar to the way it helps with depression and anxietyIt has been found that due to the nature of the disorder, weighted blankets may be most appropriate and effective as a sleep aide. Supplementing prescription medication with a PrettySpecial weighted blanket can calm the user with deep touch pressure stimulation, or DTP. The pressure from the weighted blanket relieves muscle tension just as a massage might and also has a calming, reassuring sensation – just like a nice, warm hug from a loved one.

There are ongoing clinical trials on the relationship between clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as the role serotonin plays in treating these disorders.

Deep touch pressure triggers the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are the two major feel-good hormones for your brain. Both these beneficial compounds can combat stress, depression, and anxiety, giving you an emotional pick-me-up after a good night’s rest.

Improvement in the quality of sleep can also increase the potential for other forms of treatment and increase the management of symptoms overall.

To find out more or if you would like to order a weighted product, you can go to our Contact page or email us at info@prettyspecial.co.za