November 8


Fibromyalgia and Weighted Blankets

By Sue Ingebretson

November 8, 2016

anxiety, calm, chronic illness, fibromyalgia, focus, lora, pain, Stress, temple grandin, weighted blanket

Have you tried a weighted blanket for your fibromyalgia symptoms? Let me spill the beans on how a weighted blanket can help manage pain, anxiety, sensory overload, and more.

Have you ever heard of using weight or deep pressure to relieve pain and anxiety symptoms? If so, you may be familiar with weighted blankets, vests, or deep touch pressure devices used for children and adults with anxiety disorders, autism, sensory processing disorders, and more.

Not just for kids

The purpose of this post is to share my experience in using a weighted blanket and a few tips on the shared experience of others.

If you haven’t thought about a weighted blanket, here are just a few basic reasons why you might want to consider using one.

  • Improved chronic pain management
  • Improved clarity and cognitive focus
  • Improved sleep/less insomnia
  • Instills a sense of peace and calm
  • Feels like a full body hug 😉

When I first heard of Lora’s Weighted Blankets, I was pretty excited. I have to admit that the concept of a weighted blanket was immediately appealing to me. I have a vivid memory of being about 5 years old and visiting my grandmother’s house with a bunch of my cousins. We slept in a big bed that was piled high with heavy handmade quilts. That “snug as a bug” feeling was awesome!

I also know from my own research, that placing a weighted (and heated) object on the abdomen is very calming, soothing, and stress-relieving. If you haven’t seen my FibroFrogs, I hope you check them out. 

Also, many years ago I attended group therapy sessions for those with PTSD. The patients were given pillows, stuffed animals, or blankets to hold during our time there. It felt comforting and completely logical to hold something either close to the chest or in the lap as we talked about difficult subjects.

A weighted blanket is a bit different.

A weighted blanket is filled with poly pellets or glass beads – no beans at all. These non-toxic and anti-allergen options create the desired weight without the bulk (or heat) of added padding or stuffing. If feeling overheated is a concern for you, there are ample breathable cotton fabrics to choose from. Lora’s Weighted Blankets come in a myriad of sizes, fabrics, and weights.

The prices vary widely, too.

As a therapeutic tool, a weighted blanket is a financial investment. Prices for a small lap sized blanket run about $60 and up to over $800 for the largest King sized blankets.  

I have the lap sized version and it looks like THIS

Little coverage – big benefits

Here’s how I use mine.

I use my blanket on my lap as I write. I find that the weight and the coverage area are just right to help me feel centered and focused while I work. I use it when I write, create graphics and social media posts, and when talking to clients via Skype.

When I see clients in person, believe it or not, I actually share. I’ve placed it across the lap of many clients as well as friends who come to visit. You never know what you’ll get to try when you visit the Rebuilding Wellness sanctuary!

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve personally heard about the weighted lap blanket.

“Oh, this feels cozy!”

“I feel like someone I love is sitting on my lap.”

“This is weird, but soothing.”

“I prefer it across my shoulders instead of on my lap.”

The feedback has been very positive. In particular, I reach for it to use as a therapeutic tool when I work with clients who appear to be stressed, anxious, or upset.

The only less-than gung ho feedback was from one client who said she always feels overheated and the notion of a weighted blanket didn’t appeal to her at all. My blanket is made from a delightfully soft fabric (plush minky) and I’m sure the combination of the fuzzy fabric and the fact that it was over 80 degrees outside had something to do with her reticence.

Take this survey

If you’re wondering about using a weighted blanket, Lora has created a survey just for you. Go ahead and CLICK HERE to check out her free questions to determine your needs.

In this assessment, you can get more information on the types of filling that would be best for you (poly pellets or glass beads) and the choices in sizes.

My lap pad has the poly pellets and I like how they feel. I’m told that the glass beads are smaller in size which may or may not be more desirable. As you can imagine, they’re more expensive. Because of the sensitivity factor for many of us with fibromyalgia, choosing the filling type is a personal preference.

You may wish to read THIS ARTICLE of Lora’s where she describes making a glass bead filled blanket and shows a photo of both poly pellets and glass beads.  I read the article and while I can imagine preferring a smaller sized pellet for the bulk alone, I can’t imagine someone finding the poly pellets irritating.

But, to each her own.

And, speaking of her own … what kind of fabrics appeal to you? I’m crazy about paisley prints in coral colors, aqua blues, and sea greens. What’s your favorite combo? As someone who sews (there are so few of us in this world!), I could spend the day just perusing fabric choices.

And, have I mentioned that these blankets are washable? Amazing! They’re fully washable and they can even go in the dryer. Complete care instructions come with each purchase.

Science weighs in

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Or glass beads. You know I’m a research geek so I had to find out what science has to say about the health benefits of using a weighted object or device. Several months ago, I fell down the rabbit hole of research (as I often do) and found all sorts of extraneous information. I wanted to “do my due diligence” before digging into Lora’s blogs and articles.

Among other research articles, I read Temple Grandin’s studies on the “squeezing machine” she created to help soothe her anxiety and sensory disorder symptoms. I read a few of her books many years ago and it was interesting to revisit her ideas and notions on how to calm and soothe animals (and people, too). I also read other research papers about the beneficial results of using weighted blankets and vests for special needs children in clinical settings.

I didn’t read a lot about fibromyalgia.

But, to me – it just makes sense. I found the benefits listed above to be true and perhaps you would, too.

A weighted blanket wouldn’t be right for every fibromyalgia patient just as heating pads, specific mattresses, and special pillows aren’t right for everyone. I know how clinical trials work and how studies are conducted. I know that “proof” of efficacy may or may not come down the pike next week, next month, or even next year.

Study results depend on many factors including funding, facilities, and who is the most interested. It’s not necessarily a factor of whether or not the study topic is valid. The timeline for studies and research is quite arbitrary.

Here’s an example of that timeline. I approached a magazine almost 15 years ago about writing an article on the healing benefits of tai chi for fibromyalgia. I’ve had marvelous results from practicing tai chi and still do it weekly to this day. Back then, I was asked to cite studies proving efficacy. Since there were none, I offered to write about my own experience and they agreed. I spent weeks researching the history, writing, and photographing the tai chi classes that I hosted. I submitted the article as requested and eagerly awaited the day I’d see it in print. 

And, waited, and waited.

It never did appear. And, I was never paid. Of course now there’s tons of research about the efficacy of tai chi and restorative yoga for fibromyalgia and chronic pain. But who cares? I knew all along that it worked for me. And, it worked for others in my tai chi class. That’s what mattered to me.

The point is, sometimes we need to try something for ourselves. Whether it’s a weighted blanket, a micro current device, a tai chi class, or whatever sounds plausible and practical to you.

If you’d like to do your own research on weighted blankets, I’d suggest starting with Lora’s ebook. It’s packed with great info and will save you the time and effort of collecting the info on your own.

Here’s the EBOOK LINK.  

I should also mention that Lora’s education to her customers doesn’t stop with the ebook. She’s willing to hold your hand through the process and make sure you make the right decision for your needs. Each blanket comes with full care and usage instructions as well as follow up information via email. This is her way to check in once in a while to be sure that you get the information you need.

Wanna discount?

When I let Lora know that I’d be blogging about her blankets in the Pre-Christmas season, she was kind enough to offer YOU – my readers – a discount code to use upon purchase.

Here it is: sue2016

Apply this coupon code at checkout and you’ll receive $20 off of blankets valued over $249. This discount is good through the end of January.

Want to purchase a weighted blanket as a Christmas gift for YOU or someone you love? Hurry!

Lora’s blankets are actually made by Lora herself – not fictional Christmas Elves with nimble thimbled fingers. So, she needs time to get them done. To ensure Christmas delivery please place your orders by December 2nd or well before.

December is right around the corner so contact her now to get your questions answered and your blanket ordered.

I think you’ll be tickled pink (or aqua, or coral, or tangerine, or sea foam green …) with your choice. 😉

Do you have any experiences with a weighted blanket? Would you like to try one? Do share your thoughts in the comments below! 

  1. Just an FYI, I am not on Facebook. The idea of the weighted blanket sounds good. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 7.5 years ago. It sounds like they are not filled with the traditional “stuff” that old fashioned blankets are. I tried my husband’s grandmother’s home made blanket and it was so uncomfortable, I couldn’t use it anymore. I am happy that other people have found comfort though.

  2. Hi, I had not heard of a weighted blanket but recently crocheted a very thick pure cotton throw which is very airy (holes) but not hot and have found that it is sooo comfortable when I am feeling sore. It’s a fairly big throw and weighs in total 2 kg but obviously that is distributed. Now I know why I love it. Thank you for your article.

    1. Sharon – I’m so glad you’ve had this experience! There is definitely a soothing and comforting feeling to evenly distributed weight across the body. I crocheted some heavy blankets years ago and they’re definitely my favorites. I love the weight and in the wintertime, I love the warmth 😉

  3. I suffer from 5 bulging discs in my back, 2 in my neck. I have documented permanent nerve damage in my fingers, hands, arms & neck. I also have Fibromyalgia. The Surgeon says I’m not a candidate for surgery right now. I have chronic depression, anxiety and panic attacks, as well as suffer from PTSD. I’m interested in the blanket but afraid I’d be too hot. I sleep with the windows open now!!!! I live in Buffalo! Please tell me what you think. I already have an Egg Crate mattress. Not that it matters but I tried to kill my self the 1st week of September. I can’t live with the chronic pain anymore. Thank you

    1. Kim – thanks so much for your post here and it’s important to share how you feel in safe environments. While a weighted blanket may be helpful, I’m reading in your comment that you have a variety of concerns going on. These concerns go beyond the relief you can find from physical remedies. With multiple causes for pain, multiple remedies are needed. First and foremost – before any other remedy is applied – PLEASE reach out and seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist who is trained to help you with your PTSD, depression, and other emotional issues that can lead you to feel overwhelmed and with options. This step is extremely important, and not to be skipped. Please keep us posted with your progress.

  4. Hi Sue, I must say I always notice that when I take the heavy wet towels out to hang on the line I put them on each shoulder (as my muscles are too weak to carry them) and it feels really grounding and comforting. I never knew there was such a thing as a weighted blanket. Interesting.

    1. Lee – I think that we naturally gravitate toward weight as a soothing factor. You’re not the first to tell me that you found yourself doing something involving a weighted object and that it provided an interesting sensation of pain relief or at least a level of comfort. That’s one of the reasons that I created my FibroFrogs. The soothing effect, combined with the heat and the meditation I practice is a perfect combination. Thanks for sharing!

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