It’s no secret that swaddling can work wonders when it comes to soothing a less-than-peaceful infant. Now, the Japanese, in their ever-prolific wisdom, are making a case for keeping the art of swaddling alive straight into adulthood.
The practice of otonamaki, which translates to “adult wrapping,” is a therapy that was originally started by a Japanese midwife looking to help new mothers relieve stiffness in the shoulders and hips after childbirth.
The way it works is simple: A person starts out sitting cross-legged on a thin sheet or large breathable cloth. The midwife then wraps the person up, from head to toe, by tying the opposite corners of the cloth or sheet together. The wrap is tight enough so that the legs roll up towards the torso and are held in place, but loose enough so that the person can still, you know, breathe. The person is then rolled onto their back and gently rocked back and forth for about 20 minutes.
While otonamaki started out with new moms in mind, the idea is that it can actually help relieve stress and alleviate different physical problems for just about anyone by creating a kind of cocoon of relaxation (the cloth or sheet can block out some light and sound, making it like a kind of barrier to distractions). There’s also the massage element, since the rocking motion acts as a kind of mini back massage.
For now, actual adult swaddling “sessions” seem to be pretty exclusive to Japan, where you can get wrapped up and swaddled for 3240 yen, or about $28. But until they make their way stateside (we can only hope that’s in the cards), you can at least try to carefully go about it yourself, with the help of a friend in the role of midwife.