Deep Pressure Therapy & How You Can Benefit From it

Finding ways to decompress can be a challenge, especially if you’re someone who struggles with constant stress, anxiety, sensory processing issues, insomnia, and more. Your body is left in an activated state more often than you’d like, leaving you exhausted and unable to concentrate, get quality sleep, feel comfortable, and much more. 

Fortunately, there are effective ways to relieve these issues and help regulate your sympathetic nervous system, such as deep pressure therapy. A cozy weighted blanket is often the perfect solution to these issues, while also providing unbeatable comfort and high quality sleep.

What is deep pressure therapy?

Those moments you spent in bed shortly after waking up on a cold, Monday morning, completely encapsulated under a warm blanket are some of the most bittersweet. You probably struggle to get out of bed, choosing instead to soak in every minute (let’s be real, seconds) that you have left, resting. However, you probably didn’t know that there’s actually scientific reasoning behind why you’re feeling this way.

Deep pressure stimulation is the sensation of hugs, gentle squeezing, and holding that helps calm down the nervous system. When done properly, your body reacts with a sense of calmness and relaxation.

How does it work? In short, you have a parasympathetic nervous system and a sympathetic nervous system. When you’re in a stressful situation, your sympathetic nervous system takes over and releases certain hormones that activate your fight or flight response. In these instances, your body reacts physically, appearing as sweaty palms, a quickened heartbeat, tense muscles, widened pupils, and more.

In contrast, your parasympathetic nervous system does the opposite and can be viewed as your body’s “default setting.” When there are no perceived threats around you, your body is in a state of calmness – your heart rate is slower, your breathing slows down, and your blood pressure decreases. 

For some, feelings of anxiety and stress are a constant battle, and an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting.

Woman sleeping comfortably in bed.

What are the benefits of deep pressure therapy?

Deep pressure therapy can produce a host of benefits for folks who struggle with easing their stress and anxiety. Deep pressure encourages the transition from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, producing a calming effect.

  • Better, more restful sleep. We’ve all experienced moments of restlessness after getting into bed –even after a long, tiring day. With deep pressure stimulation, you can help your body enter a state that’s perfect for a good night’s sleep.
  • Improved focus. When you’re not in an anxious or stressed state, concentrating on work, school, relationships, and other important things in your life is much easier. 
  • Sense of calmness. Feeling a general sense of calmness for hours after deep pressure therapy is a common benefit. After a stress- or anxiety-inducing event, performing DPT can be an extremely useful tool in helping you revert back to a more relaxed state.
  • Decreased anxiety. While you may not completely rid yourself of it, users of DPT often experience a general decline in their anxiety, allowing them to live more comfortably.
  • Improved social interactions. If you’re distracted by your anxiety or feeling exhausted from an overactive sympathetic nervous system, you may find yourself unable to hold a steady or productive conversation with people in your life. Deep pressure stimulation can help you stay more engaged and alert in your daily social interactions.
  • How do you perform deep pressure therapy?

    Now that we’ve covered the basics of deep pressure therapy and how one can benefit from this practice, it’s time to get a better sense of how you can perform it on yourself. Here are some of the ways you can introduce DPT into your routine.

    1. Deep pressure massage. Using the palm of your hands, apply pressure throughout the body, working from the hands and feet to the torso. If there is another person available, you can also perform techniques such as the “pillow sandwich” in which the recipient lays facing down on top of a pillow and has another pillow over them, while the other person applies deep pressure.
    2. Wilbarger Brushing Protocol. Another proven method of performing deep pressure therapy, the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol involves using a soft, plastic surgical brush and applying deep pressure while brushing the skin. This technique helps with sensory regulation and reduces discomfort and anxiety as a result of touch or tactile input.
    3. Compression clothing. Calming compression clothing is specially designed clothing that provides deep pressure input, helping create more body awareness and proprioceptive feedback. This is a great option for when other methods are not as easily accessible, and you need to throw on something quickly to help alleviate stress and anxiety. You can find options for compression clothing such as long sleeve tops, short sleeve tops, singlets/vests, shorts, bodysuits, and long and short socks.
    4. Weighted Blankets. One of our personal favorites is the Quility Weighted Blanket. As the name suggests, weighted blankets are heavier than what you’d normally sleep with, usually weighing from 5-30 lbs. They help provide all-night relief from anxiety, stress, PTSD, insomnia, and more. Quility blankets come in multiple sizes (throw, twin, full, queen/king) and a variety of different colors. Make sure to choose a blanket that correlates with your body weight, otherwise it may be too heavy for you.

        Quility: Deep Pressure Therapy You Can Count On

        Quility is the perfect weighted blanket for anyone with stress and anxiety challenges. As a high quality, evenly weighted blanket, you’ll be able to use this blanket for comfort and relaxation for years to come. With 7 layers of comfort, this blanket is incredibly durable. Worried about getting too hot? Remove the outer duvet and sleep only with the inner blanket, and vice versa for colder seasons. Both the inner blanket and outer duvet cover are machine washable for easy care.

        A Different Kind of Therapy

        With every type of therapy that you try, you’ll see different results. What’s exciting about deep pressure therapy is the various ways you can practice it and figure out what works for you. Depending on your age, specific issues, and how much time you want to commit to the practice, you’ll see results. Why not start your journey to relief by cuddling up on your couch with a Quility Weighted Blanket and feeling relaxed in no time?

        Contributing Writer: Evan Neuhoff