Stress & Anxiety

The OTvest Weighted Vest Can Provide Calming Deep Pressure to Help Reduce Anxiety and Stress.

The OTvest™ denim weighted vest can be used as a treatment for anxiety, stress, and agitation due to the calming effects of the deep pressure applied to the upper body. The OTvest is a simple, non-invasive, natural intervention for those looking for relief from anxiety that can make a massive difference!

OTvest-teen_girl_stressed_takingThink of someone pressing gently but firmly down upon your upper back and shoulders. It feels good, and has a wonderfully calming effect. When we see others that are anxious or overstimulated, we instinctively do this motion, perhaps even encouraging them to “calm down” as we do so. This soothing, deep pressure is similar to what the weighted OTvest™ provides the wearer through the patented weight insert hidden inside. By wearing the OTvest™, the calming, deep pressure can be administered throughout the day, discreetly, and inexpensively, without the help of another individual. Persons putting the OTvest™ on for the first time almost always spontaneously say, "It feels good!"


Just as we hear runners say that running gives them a “natural high” because of the increase in dopamine in the brain, deep pressure changes the chemistry in our brains and can create a calming, focusing effect. The OTvest™ is a noninvasive, holistic treatment approach to promote a sense of well-being.

Using a compression vest or weighted vest such as the OTvest™, can address problems with inattention, stress, anxiety, restlessness, or agitation (TBI, PTSD, or Alzheimer’s), as well as sleep disorders such as insomnia. In these instances, medication may still be necessary when recommended by a physician, but often at a lower dose when the OTvest™ is used in conjunction with medication. Many physicians are recommending the use of the OTvest™ to supplement the treatment of conditions, such as insomnia or narcolepsy; in fact, many patients find that they can discontinue use of their medications due to the increased relaxation experienced from the OTvest™.

Stress, anxiety, agitation and sleep deprivation are often seen in post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's, and in movement disorders. Behavior deficits have been shown to occur in up to 70% of clients hospitalized with TBI (McNett, Sarver, & Wilczeski, 2012). This study also reported that the most common behaviors associated with agitation include impulsiveness, restlessness, and a decreased attention span. These behaviors have shown to be a substantial obstacle to participation in the inpatient rehabilitation process, attaining goals, and achieving functional independence (Lequerica et al, 2007). Patient goals for rehabilitation can include initiatives designed to gradually increase his attention span and reduce restless behaviors (Morro & Farley, 2016).OTvest-woman_and_older_womans_hands_on_shoulders

Unlike other weighted vests or compression vests on the market, the OTvest™ can provide deep, sustained pressure using less weight than other weighted vests or compression vests. This is because the OTvest™ contains dense, steel plates, compared to the bulky sand or pellets found in other weighted vests. Not only this, but the placement of the weight is sitting directly upon the body -- not hanging loosely in pockets as is the case in other weighted vests. This sustained deep pressure can create a sense of well-being, increasing focus and function, promoting better sleep, and decreasing anxiety, stress and agitation. The OTvest™ also improves balance and awareness of the body in space. In many cases, this helps decrease the accompanying anxiety that the lack of feeling “grounded” produces.  


On Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 8:44 AM, Jennifer Molea wrote:

"I am an OTR in Buffalo, NY who tried your vests on during the OT Mental Health conference in Indianapolis last year.  One of my college’s purchased a few vests to use with her patients and allowed me to borrow one for a patient of mine (an adult with severe anxiety).  My patient tried it for about 2 weeks and ended up ordering one for herself.

I am now purchasing a few to have on hand to try with some of my other clients".

Jennifer Molea, MS,OTR/L, Community Reintegration Team Occupational therapist, Buffalo, New York, for patient with severe anxiety


Why do weighted vests like the OTvest™ have this calming effect? Deep pressure is registered in the limbic system, hippocampus, and reticular activating system, and may stimulate production of neurotransmitters to modulate arousal levels, similar to the effects of medications. The use of the OTvest™ applies this deep pressure in a holistic, non-invasive and easily applied, discreet manner, making it one of the best ways to help naturally treat anxiety, stress, agitation, and related conditions.


As Ms. VandenBerg, MS, OTR, occupational therapist, who created the OTvest™ after being excited by the outcomes of her research, explains in her published and often referred to manuscript The Use of a Weighted Vest to Increase On-Task Behavior in Children with Attention Difficulties:

"Farber (1982) supported a beneficial response to the application of deep pressure, suggesting that maintained pressure is calming as it facilitates an increase in parasympathetic or relaxed tone. In describing her own autism, Temple Grandin related her experience of severe anxiety and how deep pressure ultimately helped her reduce the anxiety’s debilitating effects by reducing overall arousal and facilitating attention and awareness (Grandin & Scariano, 1986). In studies done with children with autism, deep pressure has been found to have a calming effect (Edelson, Edelson, Kerr, & Grandin, 1999; Krauss, 1987; McClure & Holtz-Yotz, 1991; Miller et al., 1999; Zissermann, 1992)."

Ms. VandenBerg, upon realizing that the weighted vests utilized in her research could be more effective in treating anxiety, autism, PTSD, TBI, and other conditions, created the OTvest™. The OTvest™ is a weighted vest that utilizes a better weight placement, and can relieve a variety of conditions better than other weighted vests or compression vests on the market.

Below is the entire research manuscript published in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy by Nancy VandenBerg, MS, OTR, occupational therapist, whose vast experience working in public schools with children and young adults with attention difficulties such as ADHD, TBI, sensory processing disorders, and autism, led her to create the OTvest™ weighted vest.


Look for the yellow "OTvest™" label on the chest pocket to make sure you are getting the genuine OTvest™. Others may look like the OTvest™ from the outside, but the weight placement is important. Only the OTvest™ has the patented weighted insert with weight lying directly upon the body. This makes the difference!

Place an order by clicking here.


Lequerica, A., Rapport, L., Loeher, M., Axelrod, B., Vangel, S., & Hanks, R. (2007). Agitation in acquired brain injury: Impact on acute rehabilitation therapies. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 22, 177-183.

McNett, M., Sarver, W., & Wilczewski, P. (2012). The prevalence, treatment and outcomes of agitation among patients with brain injury admitted to acute care units. Brain Injury, 26, 1155-1162.

Morro, K., Farley, J. (2016). Brain Injury in an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility: Occupational Therapist's Role in Interdisciplinary Approach to Behavior Management. OT Practice, June 6, 2106, 15-18.

VandenBerg, N. L. (2001). The Use of a Weighted Vest To Increase On-Task Behavior in Children With Attention Difficulties. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 621-628. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.621