“What’s the difference between a pressure vest and the weighted, OTvest?” 

A pressure vest, or compression vest, is usually made of neoprene fabric and feels like “squeezing” on the trunk. A compression vest can be worn over one’s clothing. They typically look therapeutic, so many prefer to cover it with a shirt. Covering a compression vest with another garment can make it even more difficult to put on and take 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, which may not be ideal for multiple wearers.

The OTvest, on the other hand, is a weighted vest that applies deep pressure through evenly distributed weights that lie across the upper back and upper chest. The strategic, patented weight placement in this particular weighted vest has the benefit of increasing trunk stability and body position awareness (kinesthetic awareness). The OTvest can be worn over lightweight clothing or even heavier hoodies, allowing the head to be covered if that is the wearer’s preference to help block distractions. The OTvest is fitted with snap closures, making it easier to put on or take off than other weighted vests. 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 even be easily wiped down if necessary — making it a preferred weighted vest for classroom intervention for ADHD, anxiety, autism, and more. It can be used by multiple wearers, and is an excellent choice in weighted vest for those on a budget, due to the fact that it can hold up through many years of daily wear.

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“What’s the difference between other weighted vests and the weighted OTvest?”

Physics, for one!

Other weighted vests or weighted blankets usually need more weight to be effective. The weights in other weighted vests are pulling down on the garment, typically because the weights are sewn into hems or pockets in the garment. It is the 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 vest. The wearer’s own body supports the strategically placed weight in the OTvest. Other weighted vests 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 in the first place.

Other weighted vests 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, unlike other weighted vests, eliminates weight packet clutter and applies effective design. 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.

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

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“How much weight is recommended in a weighted vest?”

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, whose strategically placed weight reduces the overall weight required to make a difference.

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 is the case in many other weighted vests, where the weights are sewn into pockets). 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 or weighted vests where the weights are hanging inside of pockets—pulling down or using gravity. However, the OTvest uses the law of physics where pushing down directly onto the body requires less weight than pulling down.

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“How does one clean the OTvest?”

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.
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“What is the benefit of the weights for trunk stability?”

An increase in trunk stability through the strategic weight placement in the OTvest is beneficial for those with balance problems, and can treat conditions such as ataxia (lateral sway), dystonia, 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. This allows OTvest to be used as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, and related conditions. The strategic weight placement in this weighted vest can help stabilize the neck and head for improved swallowing, feeding, and other oral motor skills. This means that OTvest can be used as a treatment for oral motor conditions. This weighted vest also improves 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.
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“Is there a recommended wearing schedule?” Protocol for use of a weighted vest

Rather than thinking about wearing a weighted vest like OTvest in “minutes of wearing time,” it may be more beneficial to come up with a wearing schedule in “blocks of activity time.” Wearing the OTvest right before a difficult time of day, or prior to a difficult activity and then removing once the activity is complete, is more functionally practical than using it for a specific amount of time. This is especially true if the weighted vest is used as a classroom intervention for conditions like ADHD or autism. These difficult blocks of activity might include reading time, lunch time, or writing time in the classroom. For adult wearers, it might be drinking coffee in the morning, or brushing one’s teeth. Above all, the OTvest should be worn in a practical, functional way. An activity should not be interrupted to remove the OTvest, but rather allow the individual to complete the activity.

To improve sleep, OTvest may be worn for about 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime.

For movement disorders, balance, and trunk stability, the OTvest should be worn for tasks when optimum function and increased motor control is desired–even if that task takes several hours to complete. Everyone is different, and the guidance of a physical or occupational therapist is important when incorporating a weighted vest like OTvest.

Observation of the wearer is also important when incorporating the weighted vest. Gradually building up to longer blocks of activity time while wearing the OTvest may be necessary in some instances.

HERE IS THE OTvest PROTOCOL FOR THE USE OF A WEIGHTED VEST–Specifically for the OTvest because of the UNIQUE and IMPORTANT WEIGHT PLACEMENT, and an accompanying OTvest Data Sheet,  if needed.

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“Should I put the OTvest on an individual that is very agitated?”

Ideally, putting on the OTvest before someone gets very agitated is the goal, and may take some practice at recognizing the signs before they become extreme. Using sensory interventions such as rocking, music, swinging, and brushing can help sooth agitation; OTvest, while used in combination with a sensory program to decrease agitation, is ideal. The weighted vest can be used as a treatment for agitation, but having the individual familiar with the OTvest and wearing it in positive circumstances is best. This way, they will be more willing to put on the weighted vest when they are becoming sensory overloaded or agitated.
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“Is the OTvest appropriate for both children and adults?”

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.
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“How long does it take to receive an order?”

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. 

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“How long has OTvest, LLC been in business?”

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.
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“Is satisfaction guaranteed?”

Return for a refund within 60 days or exchange for a different size.
Please call us for details at 269-329-3287 or email otvest@otvest.com
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Copyright OTvest, LLC Nancy VandenBerg, MS, OTR 2016
Cannot be reproduced.