Light touches typically bother children with sensory defensiveness, but firm touches can help a child learn to accept touch. Some children respond well to daily deep pressure massage with unscented lotion. Others prefer firm pressure administered by stretchy clothing, weighted vests, or even ace bandages worn over the clothes. Our programs offer deep pressure activities to help with this approach.
Deep pressure results in increased endorphins levels and releases the hormones serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin helps to regulate some brain functions and mood regulation. Serotonin also works to stimulate parts of the brain that are responsible for sleep. Dopamine controls the reward center of the brain. It works by regulating our emotional responses and is part of our fight or flight response. Deep pressure helps balance out the autonomic nervous system and works to regulate the body’s response to sensory information.
A research study in 2011 found that deep touch pressure correlated with lower anxiety levels. This study shows that using deep touch pressure results in a change in the nervous system. This study also proved that the use of deep touch pressure helps to support physiological symptoms when people experience sensory over stimulation.
A 2008 study found that the use of a 30lb blanket resulted in adults having less anxiety, lower physiological data and positive calming effects. Weighted blankets offer a coping strategy and calming effects proactively and in crisis situations.
Individuals with a diagnosis of PTSD, ADHD, OCD and anxiety all found the weighted blanket to be calming.
Ford-Lanza, A. (2019). The Ultimate Guide to Deep Pressure Therapy. Retrieved from https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/deep-pressure-therapy
Hsin-Yung Chen et. al. (2011), Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation , Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering
Mullen, B., Champagne, T., Krishnamurty, S., Dickson, D., & Gao, R. X. (2008). Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v24n01_05
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