December 5, 2023

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This Belgian handbag from Princess Claire helps combat stress.  Is this possible?  “It feels like a hug” |  Nina

This Belgian handbag from Princess Claire helps combat stress. Is this possible? “It feels like a hug” | Nina

Some accessories are not only stylish but also useful. Belgian brand SAM Sensory & More has realized this well, as it recently sold a handbag that helps you de-stress. Princess Claire recently appeared in public with a copy. But does it really work? Neurologist Phyllis Vanwaleghem sees its benefit, but also stresses: “This won’t work for everyone.” Who benefits from it then?

A stylish and practical handbag that makes you feel less stressed? This is what the CalmDesign bag from the Belgian brand SAM Sensory & More promises. The hip pack has loose, weighted pouches that provide light compression when worn. This mimics the feeling of a hug, giving you comfort and peace.

Designers say that carrying such a heavy bag relieves stress, boosts your self-confidence and increases your sense of well-being. But it also ensures that we are able to better process the stimuli that come our way to the brain every day.

Calm Design bag. © Sam Sensory & More

About half of Belgians regularly have difficulty processing stimuli, according to a press release. About twenty percent are hypersensitive to these triggers, including Anne Luyten’s son. That’s how the founder of SAM Sensory & More got the idea for the CalmDesign bag.

“The bag was developed in collaboration with experts and has been tested at home, in schools, and in therapy practices,” says Luyten. It is available in black and navy blue, and men, women, teens and children can carry the bag.

Because the bags are loose, you can also adjust the weight or pressure of the bag as desired. Its price? 135 euros. Belgian Princess Claire already has a CalmDesign bag at home. But does this bag really deliver what it promises?

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This is what one expert says: “It gives you a feeling of security and security.”

“The CalmDesign bag has a similar effect to weighted blankets made from camel hair,” says neurologist Phyllis VanWallighem, MD. “It works with ‘deep pressure stimulation'”Therapeutic Technology, ed.) which has a calming effect on your nervous system. This allows you to experience a kind of peace and feeling of relaxation.

These weighted items have long been used by people with heavy or restless legs.

Neurologist Phyllis Vanwalleghem

“Such a weighted item also gives you a feeling of safety and security. You experience the same pressure with a cuddly toy or with a sturdy fabric cocoon that crying babies are sometimes wrapped in.”

“Weighted blankets have long been used by people with restless legs or in sensory rooms for children with autism,” says VanWalgem. “Anyone who sometimes suffers from heavy legs on the train or has to stand all day can definitely find comfort in such a bag.”

Neurologist Phyllis Vanwalleghem.
Neurologist Phyllis Vanwalleghem. © AZ Monica

Suitable for everyone?

Does a belt bag really help relieve stress? “No,” the neurologist says clearly. But it can act as a placebo effect. “In other words: for those who think a handbag makes a difference, it can actually be a tool for relaxation,” says VanWalgem.

“It’s like wearing lucky socks during an exam. Some believe that this helps to perform better. Top athletes also swear constant rituals against tense moments. This belief in our abilities gives us more peace of mind and leads to less stress, moments of panic and loss of consciousness.

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Carrying such a bag all day can be exhausting for your back, neck, and shoulders.

Neurologist Phyllis Vanwaleghem, MD

However, weighted blankets don’t sound equally enjoyable for everyone, the neurologist points out. “That’s why the CalmDesign bag won’t be right for everyone,” she says. “The biggest problem with this handbag is the weight you carry with you all day. This can be stressful for your neck, shoulders, back and joints. Therefore this handbag is not ideal for people with neck or back problems.

The neurologist also advises against wearing such a bag for young children, especially if they are not yet 6 years old. Even if it comes in the form of a stylish and personalized teddy bear like the CalmDesign bag. “If it feels too heavy, it will remain a burden.”

Calm Design bag.
Calm Design bag. © Sam Sensory & More

“It is no coincidence that we, as doctors, insist on buying school bags with wheels for children and young people, or on making them as light as possible,” Vanwalleghem adds.

So the neurologist thinks it’s a good idea to be able to adjust the amount of pressure by choosing how heavy the hip bag is by using the loose bags in it. “Make sure to adjust the pressure or weight of the bags according to your posture, fitness and feelings,” she concludes.

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