The advantages of an weighted vest


The advantages of an weighted vest
Have you ever heard of a weighted vest? A weighted vest is a vest filled with weight. Sounds a little weird, doesn't it? Why would you walk with an extra weight on your body? Although it may sound strange to you, a weighted vest has many advantages. A weighted vest can perfectly support someone who is experiencing problems in stimulation processing. In this blog we will review the benefits of a weighted vest.

Who does a weighted vest work for?
A weighted vest ensures that deep pressure is given to the upper body parts. As we have already described in other blogs, deep pressure gives a calming effect. Deep pressure is applied among others to people with sensory integration problems, high sensitivity, autism, ADHD, ADS, anxiety disorders, sleep disturbances or burn-out. In general, therefore, it can be said that people who experience problems in the processing of sensory stimuli.
The effects of a weighted vest

A weighted vest gives direct pressure to the deep sensors in our bodies. The sensors in the muscles, tendons and joints. These sensors signal our brain that the environment is safe and so the body can calm down. It's similar to a firm hug. A firm hug also offers comfort, allowing the body to calm down. A weighted vest can help with the following factors:

  • Dealing well with stress situations and increasing frustrations and tensions;
  • Calming down when there is over-arousal;
  • Improving concentration during a day at or at a specific time;
  • Relaxing between activities
  • Calming down in case of stress, panic and or anxiety;
  • Stimulating the body's senses at a time when, for example, some activities lag behind;
  • Reducing self-harming behavior by, for example, hitting, scratching, punching etc
  • Being able to function well in an environment where there are many stimuli;

Application of a weighted vest
In order to make things clearer, I shall now explain the application of a weighted vest using two practical examples.
Example 1: the stimulus seeker
A third-grade student has difficulty sitting still in his classroom chair. At times when the teacher is explaining the lesson, he is constantly wobbling in his chair. In addition, he keeps clicks his pen a lot and is regularly rumbling in his drawers. Because there are not enough stimuli, he is also disturbing his neighbor by asking questions or talking about the weekend. He keeps asking the teacher if he can go to the bathroom. On the way to the toilet, he is joyfully running down the hall and keep looking in at all the classrooms.
This is a sketch of a typical stimulus seeker
The teacher noticed that his grades are not so great. He was under the impression that the student wasn't getting the lessons right. A weighted vest has been tried as advised by an occupational therapist. This vest is worn by the student at the moments when the teacher is explaining the lesson. The result is that he sits now in his chair, because the unrest in his body is suppressed. It also helps him to concentrate. His grades have improved a lot. All, the teacher, the student, and the parents are very satisfied with the vest.

Example 2: stimulus sensitivity
Nadine is a mother of four children and has a challenging job. Nadine is quite sensitive to stimuli. Sound stimuli affect her really hard. Also, she's not very good with a messy environment. After a working day, she's often very tired. When she comes home she regularly comes across 4 busy children, who demand all the attention with their toys lying around. She also has to start cooking quickly, which causes stress and sometimes results in an outburst of anger.
Nadine is an example of someone who is sensitive to stimuli. Nadine is very upset because of the fact that she sometimes gets angry with her husband and children. She was advised to try a weighted vest. Nadine wears the vest in the car on the way to work and the moment she drives home. She has the feeling that she now starts her working day much more calmly and that the stimuli at work are perceived less roughly. She also comes home rested and has less trouble with her enthusiastic children and the rubbish that are in the house.


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Examples of sensory integration disorders amongst toddlers and young children

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Occupational therapist - ’t Batteraofke

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