History of Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets recently rose to prominence because people around the world welcomed it with open arms.

Especially the ones who have sleep or anxiety issues.

Their use was mainly reserved for young children with special needs. Only those who have loved ones with autism, hyperactivity disorder or sensory processing issues knew about them. Parents and caretakers were so focused on helping their family members feel better that they hardly found the time to let other people know about the benefits of weighted blankets.

Without a doubt, the internet is becoming more powerful. Things are done a lot more different now than ever before

When something goes viral, people all around the globe will immediately know what it’s all about. Their reactions will tell you if it’s just a passing fad or not. 

In April 2017, New York entrepreneur John Florentino started a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $21,500 for his weighted blanket project. It quickly became a viral hit. A few weeks after the launch, it raised more than four million dollars to fund his initiative.

The news eventually found its way into social media which only added more fuel to the fire. Soon after that, there was no stopping the momentum.

The overwhelming response it got catapulted the weighted blanket into mainstream popularity. 

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the question on most people’s minds is, what’s the weighted blanket all about?

When was the blanket invented?

The weighted blanket was designed to fulfill a need. Stories have come out that it has been used by therapists to treat their patients since the 1970s. In 1999, Tina Champagne initiated the use of weighted blankets.

It debuted in the mental health community as doctors noticed the calming effects of weight being applied to their patients.

Deep touch pressure calms the nervous system because of the increased production of serotonin and dopamine.

The first weighted blankets were made by family members or caretakers seeking relief for their children or loved ones with special needs. They primarily used rice, corn, beans, stones, popcorn seeds or anything else they could find to give the blanket an extra weight.

The organic filling materials would degrade once they get wet when the blanket is washed for cleaning.

Stones, although more durable than organic filling materials, would break down into smaller sizes over time and slip through the seams. Sometimes, the sharp edges can damage or tear the fabric.

It became a trial and error experiment as adding more weight did not produce the desired results.

For the weighted blanket to work, the pressure needs to be evenly distributed. The first blankets used had fills that shifted in weight due to gravity.

The solution was to use bulkier blanket shells as filling materials, but the blanket cannot conform to the human body and deemed too heavy for regular use.

It was solved by adding fills within quilted squares along the blanket. The use of organic filling materials went on until the rise in popularity of synthetic filling materials like poly pellets and glass beads.

Weighted blankets stuffed with synthetic materials conform to the body. They allow for better compression and makes the weighted blanket more durable and easier to maintain.

As time passed by, the design of weighted blankets continues to evolve.

Why did the weighted blanket suddenly become famous almost overnight?

The powerful reach of the internet and the popularity of social media has a lot to do with it. People who benefited from the use of weighted blankets share their stories through their social media accounts, and it gets passed on to inspire other people.

For the skeptics, there are scientific studies to back the positive benefits a weighted blanket provides.

Dr. Temple Grandin’s research titled, The Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals, is one proof that suggests why weighted blankets work.

She’s a prominent author and speaker for animal behavior and autism. Her views about Autism come from her personal experiences. Her squeeze machine is another variation of the weighted blanket, albeit more bulky and expensive.

Parents of children with special needs know how a breakthrough product can help them cope and overcome the challenges they are facing.

It is only until recently that the use of weighted blankets and its pros and cons are widely documented.