Lurera Pillow is a beautiful, luxuriously soft pillow with a heating pad and a heartbeat. Lurera mimics the tactile touch of a pet or another human being. Through my observation and medical research, I learned that tactile touch leads to a significantly lower level of anxiety. I created Lurera Pillow to provide these Mental Health benefits for people who can’t get a pet or lack human touch due to the global pandemic.
My son developed mental health challenges when he was 14. We tried everything to help him – talk therapy, light therapy, exercise, vitamins, probiotics, medication, but it wasn’t until we got him a support dog – a puppy we named Lurera – that he started feeling better.
The name Lurera comes from an Irish lullaby we used to sing to him when he was a baby. She brought joy to his life again, and even though she is full of energy, she helps him manage his depression and anxiousness just by being warm and snuggly.
As I watched my son snuggle and pet Lurera, I wondered how many people are yearning for a touch from other living beings. A quick search revealed that there is a health symptom called “touch starved.” The number of people experiencing this phenomenon has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I then saw a report about two nurses in Brazil who wanted to help their COVID-19 patients who were forced into isolation to feel more comfortable. To mimic the human touch, they filled latex gloves with warm water and put them into the hands of the patients. The patients were comforted “as if someone were holding hands with them.” They called the method “little hands of love.”
Idea is Born
I wanted to come up with something that will help people that can’t get a therapy pet or are in isolation due to the pandemic.
I had a few requirements in mind:
- It should provide warmth
- A heartbeat to mimic hugging a living being
- Simple to use: There are a lot of amazing ways one can improve their anxiety like eating right, exercising regularly and mindfulness practices. With the pandemic outside the door, endless zoom calls, work stress, those routines can be challenging to maintain. Especially if you are trying to convince your teenager to do it. I wanted my device to be a very low effort, something you could use while watching TV.
That’s when I came up with the idea of Lurera Pillow. The pillow consists of three parts all working together to help you feel that tactile touch. The cover is extremely soft, so you can pet it. On the back of the pillow there are two pouches: one for the heating pad to feel the warmth and one for the heartbeat device to imitate a living being. Using all 3 touches at once gives you the sensation of touching a pet or another human.
Where are we now?
I developed a prototype and was very happy with the results. My hope is that Lurera Pillow will aid anybody in improving their mental health, at least a little bit - plus you get a beautiful pillow on your couch.
I decided to use a Kickstarter campaign to finance the manufacturing of the first batch. If you would like to purchase your own Lurera Pillow and support the initiative please visit our listing. We are still working on it and it will be live on May 17th.
Henricson, Ersson, Ma ̈a ̈tta , Segestena, Berglund. (2208). The outcome of tactile touch on stress parameters in intensive care: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 14, 244–254.
Reuters. (2021, April 20). “Hands of love”: warm latex gloves mimic human touch for COVID-19 patients in Brazi. Reuters.Com. https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/hands-love-warm-latex-gloves-mimic-human-touch-covid-19-patients-brazil-2021-04-20/
Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CH. (2021, January 19). What does it mean to be “touch starved”? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/touch-starved
Heatley Tejada, A., Dunbar, R., & Montero, M. (2020). Physical Contact and Loneliness: Being Touched Reduces Perceptions of Loneliness. Adaptive human behavior and physiology, 1–15. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-020-00138-0
Bowen, J., Bulbena, A., & Fatjó, J. (2021). The Value of Companion Dogs as a Source of Social Support for Their Owners: Findings From a Pre-pandemic Representative Sample and a Convenience Sample Obtained During the COVID-19 Lockdown in Spain. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 622060. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.622060