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Is Adult Swaddling Right for You?

When you think of swaddling, you probably envision a baby all wrapped up. But adults may benefit from being swaddled as well (believe it or not).

Swaddling isn’t just for babies anymore, as some adults are taking part in this new Japan-based trend. Adult swaddling, similar to tight swaddling of babies in blankets after birth, may provide you with some surprising health benefits (believe it or not). Wondering whether you should try out this new adult swaddling trend? Knowing more about potential pros and cons is a must.

What is Adult Swaddling?

A Tokyo trend that’s spreading quickly, adult swaddling happens when grown men and women are wrapped up tightly in sheets or bags (while in fetal positions). During swaddling, a sheet is tied tightly around your entire body -- even your head is wrapped up once you’re in a position. Swaddled adults are then gently rocked back and forth (by staff members) on top of cushions.

Are There Health Benefits?

Creators of Otonamaki, another name for adult wrapping, claim swaddling is a form of relaxation, helping new mothers get rid of post labor pains — especially shoulder and hip pain — says Reuters. In addition to pain reduction, adult swaddling is supposed to help lower stress, improve posture, and relieve tension. Because your body is curled up in a fetal position, Otonamaki may inadvertently create yoga positions and stretching, which could provide you with the same health benefits as yoga (anxiety and depression relief, and increased strength and flexibility). The rocking back and forth motion may produce a massage-like, stress-relieving calmness, says Menshealth.com.

Is Swaddling Beneficial for Babies?

Though research pertaining to adult swaddling is lacking, risks and benefits exist when it comes to infant swaddling. One review published in the journal Pediatrics found that swaddling babies helps them sleep longer, have less physiologic distress, cry less often, soothe pain, and keep infants warm. However, potential cons include overheating, increased risk of sudden death syndrome, and possibly higher risks for respiratory infections, say authors of the same review.

Potential Drawbacks

If you’re thinking about being swaddled as an adult, consider the following possible drawbacks. Benefits of adult swaddling haven’t been studied, so you may be paying money for services not proven effective for health benefits. If you have asthma it may be difficult to breathe when wrapped up tightly, says Rueters. Swaddling may be uncomfortable if you don’t like tight spaces or suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia. Becoming overheated is also a concern, depending on the temperature of the room you’re swaddled in.

Should I Be Swaddled?

If your doctor says it’s okay to try adult swaddling, you don’t have much to lose (except money if swaddling isn’t your cup of tea). If you find swaddling to be relaxing or enjoyable — or notice relief from shoulder and hip pain — it might be a good fit for you. But more research is needed to determine if adult swaddling offers substantial health benefits and if potential benefits outweigh the risks.

[Image via Getty]

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