Swaddling babies in cloth is a time-tested way to keep them warm, comfortable, and feeling safe. Swaddling can also prevent babies from being disturbed by their own startle reflex, which occurs whenever they lack physical support and results in a “falling” sensation.

Adults have long outgrown their startle reflex, of course, though many exhibit a similar response when they have trouble feeling “grounded,” especially while resting or sleeping. (That’s why we prefer being wrapped up in blankets or sleeping in the fetal position!)

So it’s no wonder that a new Japanese stress-relieving method, called Otonamaki, allows adults to experience the same feeling of safety that swaddling brings to babies. And while the practice is said to help correct posture, release muscle tension, and create a sense of calm, it’s also riddled with controversy…

No, this person is not being held hostage; they’re simply trying a new method of stress relief called Otonamaki. Invented by a Japanese midwife and professor named Nobuko Watanabe, Otonamaki is inspired by baby-wrapping. (If you recognize Nobuko’s name, that’s because she’s the mastermind behind the pregnancy belt, which is widely used by Japanese women as an alternative to physical therapy or massage.)


Baby-wrapping, or swaddling, is accepted by parents as an effective way to help babies feel safe and to ease their startle reflex, which can make them feel like they’re falling or unsecured. It also keeps their bodies warm, allowing them to sleep more comfortably.


For some adults, Otonamaki recreates that feeling of safety in that the subject is wrapped in a cocoon of breathable cloth for 20 minutes. It’s mostly offered to women who have either just given birth and need pubis strengthening, or as a corrective method for those struggling with bowed legs.

Otonamaki isn’t only used by new mothers or those suffering with bowed legs. Some use it to correct their posture…


Others simply find it an effective way to relax muscular tension. One customer review said, “It felt so good I almost fell asleep. My neck and lower back were relaxed.”


However, some doctors are against the practice, claiming that it will hurt the spine to regularly stay in one position for 20 to 30 minutes.


There’s nothing more comforting that being wrapped in blankets, but being trapped—and tied up—is a different story. Many people seem to love this new method, despite some medical beliefs that claim it can cause long-term damage. Would you try this new way to relax?

Share this crazy form of stress relief with your friends below!