Frequently Asked Questions

A pressure vest, or compression vest, is usually made of neoprene fabric and feels like “squeezing” on the trunk. They are worn over one’s clothing. They look therapeutic, so that most prefer to cover it with a shirt. Covering with another garment can make it even more difficult to put on and off, so that some wearer’s might require help—which can make them further stand out from their peers.

Neoprene (used in most compression vests) is often found to be hot and can absorb perspiration, so not ideal for multiple wearers.

The OTvest applies deep pressure through evenly distributed weights that lie across the upper back and high on the upper chest. This strategic weight placement has the additional benefit of increasing trunk stability and body position awareness (kinesthetic awareness). The OTvest can be worn over lightweight clothing or heavier hoodies (allowing head to be covered if that is the wearer’s preference to help block distractions), for example. The snap closure makes it easy to remove. The armholes are cut for airflow, and the cotton fabric is breathable. The OTvest is not tight-fitting and doesn’t readily absorb perspiration. The weight insert can be easily wiped down if necessary—so often preferred in school settings for use by multiple wearers, as well as for the budget economy of holding up through many, many years of daily wear.

It is often preference of what works best for meeting the needs of the wearer.

Physics for one!

Other weighted vests usually need more weight to be effective as the weights are pulling down on the garment, because the weights are sewn into hems or pockets in the garment. It is a law of physics that pressing down applies pressure more effectively than pulling down-as in the OTvest—thus allowing the OTvest to require less weight to be effective than other weighted vests on the market. Where the weights are placed is very important to the effectiveness of a weighted garment. The wearer’s own body supports the strategically placed weight in the OTvest. Other weighted garments have weights sewn into pockets or hems in the garment –where they are supported by the garment, rather than the wearer’s own body. In other weighted vests, the weights often rest on the stomach or lap when seated, defeating the purpose of the weights.

Other weighted garments have many weight packets that go in pockets, allowing for the weights to fall out, get lost or played with. They often use tiny steel pellets or sand that fall from seams of the weight pouches, which could be slipped upon.

The OTvest eliminates weight packet clutter and applies effective design simplicity. The strategically positioned weights are contained through quilting into a detachable, ONE-piece weight, yoke-type insert. The weights are made of dense, flat steel to eliminate bulk. The weights are calibrated to the weight of the wearer, eliminating the guesswork of how much weight is necessary, and the falling out, losing and playing with of weight packets.

The OTvest is a very high quality, well made garment that lasts many, many years of daily wear so that it is economical for those on a budget.

Less weight is needed in the OTvest than in other weighted vests on the market, due to where the weight is placed—which makes an important difference.

Ms. VandenBerg, (occupational therapist and creator of the OTvest), initially used 5% of the wearer’s body weight in her published research study (AJOT), as therapists at the time were using even up to 10% of a wearer’s body weight. After publication, she continued her research and found there was an even BETTER weight placement design than that utilized previously. Thus, she developed and patented the OTvest because not as much weight is needed when the weight is strategically placed.

According to the laws of physics, less weight is needed when it is applied pressure—pushing down (as in the OTvest)– as opposed to weight that is pulling down or uses gravity to produce pressure (as in garments where the weights hang in garment pockets/hems, etc.). One could remove the weight insert in the OTvest and place it upon one’s body, as it is not dependent upon the garment to support the weights. In the OTvest, the weight presses down and is supported upon the body itself, not just pulling down inside of pockets or hems.

The effective amount of weight in the OTvest is calibrated according to the wearer’s own weight for each size. The average weight in the OTvest patented weight insert is 5% of  the wearer’s body weight, with a standard deviation of +-3% among all seven of the sizes. More weight is sometimes recommended by therapists because they are accustomed to weighted garments where the weights are hanging inside of pockets or sewn into the body of the garment—pulling down or using gravity—requiring more weight (than the OTvest) to have any effectiveness. The OTvest uses the law of physics where pushing down directly onto the body requires less weight than pulling down.

The one piece yoke-type weight insert removes from the “Velcro” type hook/loop fastener, and can be wiped down with a disinfectant spray, damp cloth, or cleaning wipe. The denim vest can be washed, hung to dry or dried in a cool dryer.
An increase in trunk stability through the strategic weight placement in the OTvest is beneficial for those with balance problems such as seen in ataxia (lateral sway), dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and some types of cerebral palsy. The trunk (proximal) weight placement helps with distal (upper extremity) hand control—such as decreasing UE tremors and improving motor coordination. The weight can help stabilize the neck/head for improved swallowing, feeding, and other oral motor skills. The weight placement helps improve spatial awareness for those with dyspraxia or problems with motor planning through the proprioceptive input provided by the weights, thus helping to improve overall coordination.
It is most useful to think about wearing the OTvest, weighted vest in blocks of activity time rather than minutes of wearing time. Putting on the OTvest right before a difficult time of day or prior to a difficult activity, and then removing the weighted vest after the end of that activity is more functionally practical than using it for a specific amount of time. Helping the teacher and/or wearer of the OTvest to identify those times of day is very beneficial to a successful wearing schedule. A reminder card could be put on a child’s desk, for example: OTvest on for reading time (picture of wearer reading a book with the OTvest on) and off for lunch (photo of wearer with their lunch and no OTvest)—rather than having the teacher tell them to put it on at 10:00-10:15, off until 10:45, then on again at 11:00, for example. This becomes confusing for the teaching staff, and the wearer—who probably already has problems with time schedules, and also helps give opportunity to promote independence and self-regulation. An adult wearer can also identify those activities when wearing the OTvest is most desirable.

For movement disorders, balance and trunk stability, the OTvest should be worn for tasks when optimum function and increased motor control is desired, which may be even for several hours. Removal times can be incorporated if there are any signs of increased fatigue. Everyone is different, and the guidance of a physical or occupational therapist is important, in addition to taking the OTvest off and on as fitting one’s needs and feedback from one’s own body. The OTvest can be put on for about 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime for improving sleep.

The OTvest should be worn in a practical, functional way—such as wearing it to a library class or circle time and worn back before it is removed, so that it does not get lost or left behind. An activity should not be interrupted to remove the OTvest, but rather, allow the individual to complete the activity (when attention and focus are the goal), also helping to learn to complete an activity.
Observation of the wearer is important, so that if they appear to be getting accustomed to the weight and the effectiveness diminishing (when focus is a goal, for example), than putting the OTvest on for about a 30-45 minute activity block, and then removing it for approximately the same amount of time might be beneficial. Building up to wearing the OTvest might be necessary—starting at shorter time increments and building up to the entire 50-minute library period, etc. Determining which times during the day, transitions, or activities present the most challenge to the wearer is important so that the OTvest can be utilized during those times—such as when first arriving at school or work or after recess, or during a particular time that is harder to be calm and focused, and prior to bedtime.

It is important to put the OTvest on before someone gets very agitated, recognizing the signs before they become extreme. Understanding what brings on agitation and putting the OTvest prior to those unavoidable situations or times of day is a good idea. Using sensory interventions such as rocking, music, swinging, and brushing can help with agitation. Using the OTvest in combination with a sensory program to decrease agitation is ideal. Having the individual familiar with the OTvest and wearing it in positive situations is important so that they will be more willing to put it on when they are becoming more sensory overloaded or agitated.
The OTvest fits children, teens, and adults. The bottom of the vest fits more to the waist on most adults due to height, and is hip length on most children–covering the longer T-shirts that are popular. One’s chest measurement and weight is the best indicator of size.
Not long!
The OTvest is generally shipped within 2-3 days of receiving an order, with delivery in 2-3 days after it is mailed (within the United States). International deliveries can take 6-10 business days.
We have been providing the OTvest to buyers across the USA and internationally since 2002. We are member of the Better Business Bureau with A+ rating.
Return for a refund within 60 days or exchange for a different size.
Please call us for details at 269-329-3287 or email

Copyright OTvest, LLC Nancy VandenBerg, MS, OTR 2016

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