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The $279 Kickstarter Blanket Had to Retract a Major Health Claim

May 12, 2017, 1:08 PM UTC

News moves fast, even in the world of quirky Kickstarter campaigns.

Earlier this week, we wrote about a weighted blanket generating a lot of buzz (and money) on the crowdfunding platform. Called Gravity, the blanket’s selling point was that, by generating “the feeling of being held or hugged,” it could be used to treat everything from insomnia to anxiety.

It was a bold claim (as we noted, there’s not much research on weighted blankets’ impact on the body.) Too bold, it turns out, for Kickstarter’s own rules.

After STAT, a health-focused news website, reached out to the crowdfunding company, asking for more information on the “science” validating Gravity Blanket’s assertion that it can treat “insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as circumstantial stress and prolonged anxiety,”the project’s messaging was changed to say the blanket can be “used” for these conditions.

As STAT notes, the previous language appears to violate Kickstarter’s rules, which bans campaigns that claim to “cure, treat, or prevent an illness or condition.”

The Gravity blanket is still available on Kickstarter where, as of this writing, it’s raised more than $3.2 million. But it’s a good general reminder to be skeptical of wellness products peddling outsized health claims. Unlike medications, this category isn’t regulated by the FDA, which gives companies broad leeway to say their product can treat any number of conditions without supplying the necessary evidence to back it up.