Just like an animal can be calmed with the pressure of a specially made coat, an anti-anxiety product called ‘The Weight‘ offers the comfort of a loved one’s arms when no one’s actually around. Designer Mia Cinelli was inspired by the weighted blankets that are often used in occupational therapy practice as a natural, medication-free way to soothe stress.
Cinelli developed the ‘comfort object,’ which is like a small weighted body pillow, after the loss of her fiance’s father. Shaped like a person’s upper body and arms, the object has plush hands that you can hold within your own. The weight not only provides that sense of a human presence next to you, but also represents the metaphorical heaviness of grief.
Of course, it’s ok to take medication for anxiety (and any other condition) if that’s what helps you. Products like The Weight simply offer another option, whether complementary or as an alternative. It’s not snake oil, either. Scientists have found that the pressure of weighted blankets puts the autonomic nervous system into “rest mode,” reducing symptoms like quick breathing and rapid heartbeat.
“Its use imitates an intimate gesture, reminiscent of a hug from behind,” says Cinelli. “When I feel relaxed and take the weight off, I feel lighter – both physically and in spirit. P.S., please hug someone you love today, before you cannot anymore.”
About the designer
“Mia Cinelli is an artist and designer; she graduated with her BFA in Graphic Communication from Northern Michigan University, and an MFA in Art + Design from the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. After serving as an Assistant Professor and Gallery Director at Defiance College for three years, she became a new Assistant Professor of Art Studio and Digital Design at The University of Kentucky in the School of Art & Visual Studies in the fall of 2017.”