MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities woman loved the feeling of something weighted on her body, kind of like an X-ray shield, and decided to develop a blanket just like it.
“It’s the weight on the body that makes it feel good,” said Eileen Parker, owner of Cozy Calm Blankets. “This is not a regular blanket. It’s all about the weight.”
The blankets weigh anywhere from about 10 pounds on up to 50 pounds for a king-size blanket. The blankets, which are made in the Twin Cities, are used by both adults and children.
The weight comes from beads.
“They’re all securely sewn in there,” she said, adding that those beads are medical-grade beads.
Parker specially designed the blankets for herself and anyone who shares her same medical conditions. She was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder when she was a child. Thinner blankets didn’t feel nearly as good on her body.
“The reason it feels so good is that it operates on the body’s sensory system,” she said. “What it does is it overwhelms the sensory system so that other feelings don’t get through.”
Parker has gotten pictures and letters from people across the country who are using her creation. They’re helping people sleep and relax.
“It’s just made a significant difference for many of our patients,” said Gretchen Prohofsky, an Occupational Therapist at Regions Hospital.
The clients who she works with suffer from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.
“There’s lots of deep pressure involved with this. So just like you’d swaddle a baby … that deep pressure is very calming for your nervous system,” said Prohofsky.
She said her patients are less-stressed and more focused during the day.
“Many of our patients are needing ways, healthy ways, to deal with stress, and we’ve found these weighted blankets are very helpful dealing with stress and anxiety,” said Prohofsky.
Parker’s product is putting something soft in the hands of those experiencing the harshest side of life.
“We’re doing something that has meaning. We’re not producing nuts and bolts,” she said.