Researchers Develop Novel Cushion For Treating Anxiety

Apr, 2022 - By SMI

Researchers Develop Novel Cushion For Treating Anxiety

According to the research, hugging the pillow gives anxiety reducing effect similar to that of breathing exercises based on meditation

Around one third of people across the world are affected by anxiety disorders and it is the ninth leading cause of disability globally. The treatment available for anxiety include therapy and pharmaceutical solutions. So, now researchers at University of Bristol, U.K. developed a novel cushion-like device that when hugged, mechanically stimulates breathing and the test conducted suggest that this device could help students reduce anxiety before test.

In the beginning the team created five electronically powered cushions with shape of puffy-pancake. The team designed these small devices for reproducing the feeling of touching pets or interacting with other people that simulate the sensation of purring, breathing, combination of purring and breathing, and a heartbeat. The fifth device even emitted diffused light with rainbow colors. The team tested the new cushion on a group of subjects including 24 students. The found that the breathing only cushion was most preferred to hold and touch. Studying the response, the team developed larger version of this cushion, which comprised microfiber outer casing, an air bladder in the middle, and polyester stuffing. As last the cushion was rhythmically deflated and inflated through a pump that was not visible or audible to the user.

Furthermore, the team tested the cushion by inducing anxiety in 129 other volunteers and asked them to solve some mathematics problems verbally in front of each other. Before the test, the team assigned 40 subjects a breathing exercise based on meditation, 45 subjects were asked to hug the breathing cushion to their belly and chest, while 44 subjects were assigned to do nothing. The team found that the anxiety significantly decreased in cushion-hugging and meditation group of subjects than the one did nothing. The team is now investigating the mechanism by which the breathing cushion reduced anxiety.

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