How the OTvest™ can Promote Mindfulness, Meditation, and Relaxation
Some schools, such as Oakland Public Schools in California and Baltimore Schools in Maryland, have recently been using mindfulness and meditation instead of detention. Some students, however, are not capable of self-regulation due to neurological or psychological difficulties, such as sensory processing disorders or attention deficit disorders (ADD). These students might overreact to loud noises in the classroom, difficulty with handwriting, overabundance or lack of movement, and other symptoms.
These students, who experience a more difficult time relaxing, and showing attention-to-task, are sometimes thought of as candidates for medication rather than meditation.
How can we help children with ADD or sensory processing disorders to relax, or teach them how to improve their attention-to-task? With the OTvest™!
The OTvest™ is a denim, weighted vest that can be a useful, natural classroom intervention for ADD or sensory processing disorder. Some students that experience sensory overload may need a bit of extra help with self-regulation in order to effectively use meditation or mindfulness techniques. The OTvest™ can help improve mindfulness and meditation techniques by supplying deep pressure therapy to the wearer. This deep pressure promotes the production of calming neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, to help naturally calm the wearer, therefore allowing them to use mindfulness or meditation techniques more easily.
The OTvest™ weighted vest can be used as a technique to help anyone who is interested in meditation and mindfulness, but who may have trouble eliminating the stresses of the day, the overstimulating environment, or in controlling feelings of anxiety or aggression. Deep pressure therapy can provide that extra help to calm and focus an individual, enabling them to benefit from mindfulness and meditation programs—and experience increased self-esteem through a more successful school or work experience.
Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, hugging, stroking, petting of animals, or in swaddling infants. In contrast, light touch pressure is a more superficial stimulation of the skin, such as tickling; very light touch, or moving hairs on the skin. In animals, the tickle of a fly landing on the skin may cause a cow to kick, but the firm touch of the farmer's hands quiets her. Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming (Grandin, 1992).
The OTvest™ utilizes patented, concealed steel weights to produce this calming, relaxing deep pressure for the wearer. These dense, flat weights are stitched in across the attached insert, applying deep pressure therapy directly upon the body.
By wearing the OTvest™, calming deep pressure can be administered throughout the day as needed, discreetly, inexpensively, and independently--without the need of another individual to apply the deep pressure. The OTvest™ can also be used in conjunction with a sensory room or sensory equipment such as rocking chairs, movement cushions, and swings prior to meditation and mindfulness programs to help lower an individual’s arousal level.
Persons putting the OTvest™ on for the first time almost always spontaneously say, "It feels good!"
When we Feel Good, we Do Better--and this is exactly what we see in those wearing the OTvest™ weighted vest.
Grandin, T. (1992). Calming effects of deep touch pressure in patients with autistic disorder, college students, and animals, Journal of Child And Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Vol. 2, no. 1.
VandenBerg, N. (2001). The use of weighted vests to increase on-task behavior in children with attention difficulties, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 55, 621-628. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.621
VandenBerg, N., The use of weighted vests to increase on-task behavior in children with attention difficulties, Pediatric Issues in Occupational Therapy: A Compendium of Leading Scholarship (Royeen, 2004) published by AOTA, Chapter 25.