A guide to deep pressure therapy (DPT)

Deep pressure therapy (DPT) – also referred to as deep pressure stimulation – is a form of relaxation therapy that is often prescribed to people who suffer from anxiety and stress.

It can also be recommended by occupational therapists for children who are on the autism spectrum or suffer ADHD.

So how does DPT work, and how is it used in the wider world? Let’s take a brief look at what DPT is all about, and why you should know about it. We’ll also look at how it can be used in the home.

What is DPT?

Have you ever noticed how, when someone gives you a hug, it causes you to feel relaxed, calm and contented? Similarly, when you wake on a cold morning but are suitably cosseted by your blankets or duvet, and you don’t want to get out of bed as you are too comfortable!

This is, in essence, what DPT is all about. It’s a treatment that instils in you calmness, relaxation and content, and one that is becoming more popular as the benefits are proven.

How does it work? A DPT therapist will apply pressure in various ways to different parts of the body. It may even involve hugs as part of the therapy routine. Mainly, it is a series of manual, hand-applied pressure touches that are intended to stimulate the nervous system.

There are two elements to our nervous system

It helps if you understand here that there are two elements to the nervous system: the ‘sympathetic’ and the ‘parasympathetic’. 

Stress is a normal reaction in the body, and it is handled by the sympathetic nervous system. However, too much of it causes anxiety. The parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to relieve stress when required.

This is the effect that DPT has when applied. Essentially, the sympathetic nervous system is over-ridden as the body releases endorphins. These are often known as ‘happy hormones’ that instil a feeling of satisfaction and contentment.

It’s easy to see why DPT is used as a stress and anxiety reliever, and how it can help with ADHD and autism. 

Using DPT at home

Let’s say you have a child who, due to ADHD, suffers anxiousness that prevents them from getting sufficient sleep. Or, you have sleep problems yourself, perhaps due to stress from overwork or other reasons. You can’t expect a therapist to be on hand all the time, but what you can do is use a king size weighted blanket.

These are blankets that are fitted with internal weights, usually to the tune of 1/10thof your body weight plus a couple of pounds, and there are many weighted blanket benefits as they replicate the effect of DPT.

A good night’s sleep is very important for your health – or that of your child – and this is why weighted blankets are becoming more popular.

If you want to try one, or need to find out more about these useful and very effective blankets, have a closer look at them now, and check out many more benefits of using these clever and simple devices.

Photo by Nery Zarate