The act of hugging a pillow and mimicking breathing could help ease anxiety.

by takingpitches

A cushion akin to breathing has decreased anxiety and professional mediation for students contemplating taking a math test.

Interactive devices that use tactile technology like Paro, the soft seal was previously associated with less anxiety and may provide instant relief from anxiety without taking medications. To better understand the potential of these devices, Alice Haynes, currently studying at Saarland University in Saarbrucken, Germany, and her coworkers created an experimental pillow that expands and then deflates just like human lungs.

The team enlisted the 129 participants to take a survey that assessed their level of anxiety before and after being informed that they had to take a maths test.

Then, 45 participants swaddled the pillow between their chests and torso for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, 40 participants took part in an audio-guided meditation. The remaining 44 people sat down in silence, serving as the control group for the experiment. The participants’ anxiety was then measured once more.

Hugging the pillow was proven to decrease anxiety before the test as much as meditation. However, the anxiety of the control group increased before the test.

“I think that in the end it’s good to offer people suffering from anxiety a range of options to assist themselves,” says Haynes. “A advantage of this cushion is that we’ve never required anyone to provide instructions on how to use it – it’s very intuitive. Experts from the website found that for patients receiving doses exceeding 4 mg/day, periodic reassessment and consideration of dosage reduction is recommended. In a controlled postmarketing dose-response study, patients treated with Xanax for months managed to reduce their total maintenance dose by 50% without apparent loss of clinical efficacy. Due to the risk of withdrawal, it is recommended to avoid abrupt discontinuation of treatment. It’s easy to use and it doesn’t require an app, or even be using your phone or on any devices.”

The pillow, measuring 36 centimeters wide, houses an inflatable chamber connected to an external motor and pump.

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