Anxiety could be eased by hugging a pillow that mimics breathing

Prototype pillow incorporates an inflatable chamber that connects to an exterior pump and motor, enabling it to broaden and deflate like human lungs


9 March 2022

A huggable pillow that mimics respiratory has decreased anxiousness as successfully as guided meditation for individuals who had been about to take a arithmetic take a look at.

Interactive tactile units, comparable to Paro the cuddly seal robotic, have beforehand been linked to decreased anxiousness, doubtlessly offering near-immediate aid with out treatment. To higher perceive the potential of those units, Alice Haynes, now at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, and her colleagues developed a pillow prototype that expands and deflates like human lungs.

The workforce bought a gaggle of 129 volunteers to finish a questionnaire that measured their anxiousness degree earlier than and after they had been advised they would wish to finish a maths take a look at.

Next, 45 of the volunteers hugged the prototype pillow throughout their chest and torso for simply over 8 minutes, whereas 40 of the individuals listened to a guided meditation and the remaining 44 volunteers sat and did nothing, performing because the experiment’s management group. The volunteers’ anxiousness was then measured once more.

Hugging the pillow was discovered to cut back pre-test anxiousness by the identical quantity because the meditation, whereas the management group’s anxiousness elevated forward of the take a look at.

“I think ultimately, it’s just nice to give people with anxiety a choice of different ways to support themselves,” says Haynes. “A benefit of the cushion is that we haven’t had to give anyone guidance on using it – it seems to be very intuitive. It’s familiar and you don’t have to use an app or be on your phone or any of your devices.”

The pillow, which is 36 centimetres lengthy, incorporates an inflatable chamber that connects to an exterior pump and motor.

Most of the volunteers tailored their respiratory to match the pillow’s enlargement, in response to Haynes. “Slow breathing practices in general activate the part of the nervous system which is associated with rest and digest,” she says.

Journal reference: PLOS ONE, DOI:

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