alternative treatment

The Wonder of Weighted Blankets

So have you heard of weighted blankets? They have been around since about 2008, but are really making an appearance right now.  They are commonly used by Occupational Therapists and can have a calming effect on children experiencing anxiety disorders, or children that have autism, sensory processing disorder or adhd.  I find them intriguing for a few reasons.  

First, when my son (who is ADHD Inattentive like me) was much, much younger (around the age of 2-3 years old) he would end bath time by asking me to "wrap him up like a taco".  It was a game we played each night.  He would get out of the tub and do this little dance, hopping around from one foot to the other, and say "mom,  mom, wrap me up like a taco, please"! I don't remember what started this, but the way this worked was I would lay his towel out on the floor and he would lay down on one end of it and I would roll him up in the towel fairly snug. I'd then scoop him up until he dried off.  Something about the blanket wrapped around him was comforting.  I remember he just loved it.  We laugh about it now.  As a side note, in 6th grade he announced that his dream job would be to work at Taco Bell.  Fast forward to the age of 18 and he still loves tacos, but that's where the taco obsession ends.

I've also noticed that I have always liked to be snug in my bed.  It's the way that I sleep the best.  Even when the weather's warm, I'll turn the temperature in the room down so that I can sleep with a heavier blanket on top.  Also, if I'm sitting downstairs watching tv with my hubby, I always have a blanket on my lap.  It just feels, more comfy.

I've not really ever made the connection between these things and weighted blankets.  I have to say, it does have me curious.  Weighted blankets are not hard to find, but they are pricey! Although if they do what they say they will do, they would be well worth it. As a general guideline, your blanket should weigh about 10% of your ideal body weight if you're an adult.  If you are making or ordering the blanket for a child, it should weigh 5% of their body weight + 1 or 2 lbs.   

A few places to look for a weighted blanket are Etsy and Amazon.  There's even a DIY version that I'm gonna try and make.  You can find the instructions here on the MamaSmiles Website.  I'll do a follow up and let you know how easy or difficult that is and to share the pictures of my completed project.

For more information, check out this short video that I shared last week on my Facebook Page. What's been your experience with weighted blankets? Have you heard of them before? 

Happy Friday! ~Shaun


Today we are going to take a look at the practice of acupuncture.  I think now may be a good time to mention medications and my personal journey.  

When I was first diagnosed with ADHD (Inattentive type), after much consideration I decided to try medication.  I don't have a history of doing very well on medication, for most of my life I have taken it only when absolutely necessary.  Not because I have any aversion to it, primarily because I always seem to have side effects that are worse than what my original issue was to begin with.  

On top of that, I'm emetophobic (fancy word that means I FREAK OUT at the site/sound of vomit) and so if a medication had any chance of making me sick, I was out before I even began.  Fast forward to my first attempt with an ADHD Medication-it was not a Stimulant and not a "Non-Stimulant" but rather something in that "other" category.  I had a rough time (I'll do a seperate blog post on that), but let's just say that by day 3 I was off of it and willing to "deal with" life as my unmedicated self. Attempt number two with meds came about 5 years later.  Again I had a hard time out the gate and by day two I was off of the prescribed medication.  I acknowledge that I never actually gave it time to work, but for me it was enough to be clear on what I wanted.  I wanted to look more closely at non-medicinal options.  

This is where the discussion with my friend came in.  She's a retired Nurse whose opinion I respect and she mentioned that I should try acupuncture, that she does fact she'd take me if I was game! I'll try anything once (well just about anything) and we made an appointment a month later.  

**Please note-I have no judgement regarding the use of medication to treat ADHD.  In fact I know many people personally that it has made a world of difference for.  It has in fact been a life saving option for a few of them.  I have seen first hand children that functioned so much better on medication.  I believe whether to use medications or not is a very personal decision, and that whatever an individual chooses to do should be supported as their personal choice.  

With that being said, as I've researched alternative treatments for ADHD, acupuncture is one that has come up.  While not yet recognized as a primary treatment for ADHD, research has suggested that as a part of a multidisciplinary approach it can be effective. 

My experience with acupuncture so far has been positive.  I am going to Sacramento Acupuncture Project which is a community acupuncture practice located in Sacramento on Fulton.  I don't typically do needles well, so this was going to be interesting.  

I arrived about 10 minutes early, and met with Molly who explained how it worked.  We spent a little bit of time at the intake appointment going over what my areas of concern were. From there she led me into the treatment room.  As a community practice, you are in a room with other people.  The environment was very relaxing.  Dim lights, relaxing music, zero gravity chairs, pillows, blankets, whatever you need to "create a comfy nest". Once you are situated, the acupuncturist comes over and inserts the needles.  I had about 13 of them on my first visit.  They are very fine hairlike needles.  I didn't feel any pain.  They were inserted from the top of my head, down to my feet. You are fully clothed, but push up sleeves and roll up pants to your knees.  A minimum of 30 minutes is suggested, but you can stay as long as you'd like.  It is common to fall asleep in the chair.  Five days after my first appointment, I returned so that my husband could give it try.  The results of this therapy are "to be continued".  I will update you along the way as to what I'm noticing.  At the very least, it's a very relaxing hour in my week.  

Sacramento Acupuncture Project offers a very affordable sliding fee scale from $15-$35 based on what you feel you can pay.  It is a "sustainable model" which I like.  For the month of January, return patients can bring a friend and the $15 new patient reg. fee is waived.  Here's the flyer with more info:

If you're interested and would like to try it yourself, and are in the Greater Sacramento Area, shoot me an email at and I'd be happy to bring you as my "buddy".

Thanks for reading,  ~Shaun