Weighted Vest Update

black exercise vestIf you remember, back in April I got a weighted vest for my birthday. After extensive research, I decided to get one that was actually intended for weight lifters. I decided this because of a few uber important reasons:

  • The vests made specifically for people with SPDs (sensory processing disorder) are only made in children’s sizes. I did find one place that would make an adult sized one, but you had to pay an extra 20 bucks or something ridiculous like that.
  • Oh yeah, that cost thing. The weighted vests made specifically for kids with SPDs are all $100+. And that’s before shipping and handling. 😮 Eep. Meanwhile, the one I got was only about a 3rd of that price. Hmm.
  • Order time. Apparently, since those vests are specially made (i.e. – the ones for SPD folks), they take bloody forever to arrive at your place. No, I wanted [read “needed”] it then. I’m sort of impatient that way. *rolls eyes*

The picture on the right is the catalog picture of the vest that I got.

Picture description: It’s a black vest with pockets all over the front (and the back) used for adding little rectangles of metal one pound weights. The vest has reflectors on the front and is partially made of a mesh material, in order to let one’s body breathe and not get too hot. On the right shoulder, there is a pocket with a headphones picture; this is obviously meant for an IPod or MP3 player. On the other shoulder there is a yellow circle emblem with the words “Gold’s Gym” in the center.

So in order to update you on my situation, I’m going to have to give you a little background on my medical history (what, more?).

One thing that I’ve never [yet] mentioned here are the extreme level of my cramps during my period. I mean, it’s bad. When I was a tween (pre-teen/barely teen), I gave myself an allergy to ibuprofen, just because I was trying to make it through the days of my period without spending every moment surrounded by blinding pain. Seriously.

It was a great help to me when I figured out that my IBS and my cramps were related. After all, part of the blinding pain is in fact due to the [excruciating] diarrhea my cramps elicited in my system. So the whole thing about eating chocolate when you have your period? Nope. That’s one of those things I try to avoid at all costs.

Many moons later, here was my solution:

  • stick-on heating patches *puts hand over heart and looks misty-eyed*
  • 400 mg of Celebrex every morning for 4 days
  • 2 extra strength Tylenol every 4 hours

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I’ve wearing my weighted vest for just about 3 months now. I wear for an hour or so each day and then fall asleep with it over me at night. On the weekends, if I don’t have to go anywhere, I usually just end up wearing it all day.

Yeah, and?

Here’s there thing. Sometimes, even with all of the measures listed above, my cramps still get to me and they still make me non-functioning.

Well, with the vest wearing, that doesn’t happen anymore. Not only that, but I don’t have to take the Tylenol anymore. I just have to take the Celebrex and do the heat, and I’m really quite fine.

Okay, here’s another thing. I haven’t taken my anti-anxiety meds since April. It used to be that I couldn’t sleep, think or function without them. Now? I can take stuff in stride. I’m very mellow about disasters. I still don’t like doing certain things (like calling back bill collectors), but I think–rather, I know–that my anxiety is much more under control now.

One reason I know: When I started taking my anti-anxiety meds, one added benefit was that my IBS got much better; when I didn’t take the pills, then my IBS got bad once again. Well, I’ve been off those meds since April and my IBS is still under control.

Not only that, but I fall asleep faster now.

And, my heart rate’s lower. I just checked it a moment ago. 72. My normal resting heart rate, thanks to an underlying current of subconscious anxiety, is usually in the upper 80s, low 90s.

72. Holy poo.

If you needed proof of the worth of weighted vests/blankets, I think I just provided that.

~ by lastcrazyhorn on July 6, 2008.

26 Responses to “Weighted Vest Update”

  1. good to hear lastcrazyhorn. Crazy insane with your heart rate too.

    I have a bit of fun with my heart rate because I have asymptomatic bradycardia. Blows peoples minds when they find out what my heart rate is.

    Kudos too for finding out about those weightlifter jackets. I’ve already had cause to mention that avenue of inquiry twice already. (after reading your April post)

  2. That is awesome… crazy how expensive those things are. They should be covered by insurance, but I digress..

  3. They certainly are a financial investment, both original cost and postage. I can see why the dinosaur one’s that I bought might be unsuitable for grown up people!

  4. It’s ridiculous how much extra money gets added to the price of things once they are considered “medical” or “assistive”, or even just as necessities rather than luxuries (when you would think it would be the opposite). Just compare the prices of bikes and wheelchairs.

    I think i’m *really* glad i don’t have a womb…

    (If you don’t want kids, IIRC there’s a treatment less radical than a hysterectomy, in which the womb is left in, but the lining of it is permanently removed by cauterising it or something similar, meaning that you’ll never have a period or be able to get pregnant again. I don’t think it would affect hormone cycles, though. Long-term hormonal contraception methods like the injection or the coil might be worth looking into, too, although they have somewhat of a stigma attached to them due to having been historically forced on those who governments have not wanted to reproduce, including ethnic minority women and disabled women, but i think they can stop or at least heavily reduce periods…)

  5. I wonder what the science of all this is. Do you know?

  6. Wow, dramatic, not? DId you consider the aspect of seasonal mood stuff (more light and all that) to play a part at all?

    Have you ever tried a light box? That’s something we’re considering for this fall.

    I’ve been wondering about these vests. My kid (19) has always liked to sleep under a heavy blanket (weight-wise, not necessarily warmth wise–although it *is* warm) and I’ve often considered figuring out how/where to get him some kind of quasi squeeze machine as he seems to crave the pressure.

  7. It has to do with proprioceptive stimulation. The idea is that people with SPDs aren’t very aware of where their physical body ends, and the rest of the world begins. For example, I can’t go down the stairs without looking at my feet, because otherwise, I’ll trip and fall. More than that, I just can’t get my feet to move, unless I go exceptionally slowly.

    Other than that, I know that OTs endorse weighted vests.

    That’s just off the top of my head. I’ll bring more definitive answers next time I chat.

  8. Light doesn’t give weight (well, technically it does, but not to the degree that you can be aware of). I’m inside as much, if not more, than I am during the regular school year.

    Put it this way: If I’m freaking out, if my heart rate is in the low hundreds (which it does from time to time), and I put the vest on, within an hour my heart rate has dropped anywhere from 8 to 20 beats.

  9. Besides. I despise summer. It’s depressing.

    Give me a cold, cloudy, blustery, rainy day, and I’m good.

  10. You should meet my father sometime.

    He boards up windows.

    Or at least he used to. I think he’s moved into the world of heavy ass curtains and towels now. Hmm.

  11. Wow, great to hear something other than medication is making such a difference! Thanks for sharing because I was thinking of getting something like that for my son whose odd gait totally changes when he carries something heavy. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hmm, I must go see my dentist and see if he still has that lead apron he used to put on me, back before the micro-dose digital x-rays. It always had a very soothing effect on me. I wonder how much money he’d take for it.

    Oh, and I am one of those people who turns the HVAC thermostat down low, just for the opportunity to pile heavy blankets on them.

  13. I got an old, used radiography apron from a dentist, and wear it when I have a migraine or am having trouble settling down to sleep. I love it!

    I too have crappy proprioception, and in lieu of weighted vests find that snug clothing helps me quite a bit — that means a belt at the waist, slacks, and a vest (waistcoat) when possible. Loose, floaty skirts and dresses drive me nuts, especially because they don’t have functional pockets!

  14. My son wore a vest in preschool. I love proprioceptive input, it just “feels good” to apply pressure to my joints, like it “wakes up” my body.

    I, too have a lot of anxiety…I’m wondering…

  15. It’s weird how such similar issues can produce such opposite effects…

    I can’t stand tight clothing because of the pressure and sensation on my skin. I have to wear loose clothing (luckily i’m skinny, so most standard-shaped men’s clothing is loose on me. I tend to wear things sized at a good couple of inches over my actual waist and chest size, tho).

    And i *absolutely* can’t tolerate cold (there’s a post about that in my archives somewhere). I love hot weather, the hotter the better.

    I sleep in a sleeping bag underneath a heavy duvet, because i like the weight and the movement restriction of the sleeping bag. (When i was a kid, my mum had to get me double sheets for my single bed, because i needed the sheets tucked in under the mattress securely enough to not move off me, or i couldn’t sleep. Then i moved out at 16, didn’t own any bedclothes other than a sleeping bag, and discovered that was even better.) The increased temperature isn’t an issue, because no temperature that can be reached in the UK is “too warm” for me…

    Also, you’ve got me thinking about how i always wear my rucksack when i go out of the house, even if i don’t really need to carry anything in it. I feel kind of vulnerable, almost “naked”, without it, and i’m wondering if it fulfils the function of a weighted vest for me…

  16. I have a stupid question but I have to ask… where can I get the weighted vest like yours? I think you told me but I cant remember…


  17. Oh I got some new sandles that have actualy helped me walk and sit up straigt.

    I want a weighted vest and loose weight. I hate being so heavy. I cant fit in any of my summer clothes. its rather silly. I gained weight, got rid of the stuff that was too small, then i lost weight, got rid of most of the stuff that was too big, now im stuck with the stuff thats too tight and not much that fits and is summer clothes.


  18. That is amazing about the vest!!

  19. Do thes vests work for non-autistic people with anxiety and proprioeption issues?

  20. How cool is that about your heart rate! My resting rate is 72 also, incidentally.

  21. Wow, that’s great! I’m glad it’s helping so much and that you were able to avoid paying a premium for it.

  22. I’ve decided to do a DIY weighted vest. Even though I could probably get one (being about 4’11 and small framed) it just seems like an interesting project and I never have much money anyway.

  23. DIY?

  24. Where are you? You darned part timer! Ooo maybe you’re taking a holiday – you lovely European!

  25. […] well, I’ve started getting inquiries about my whereabouts; so I thought I’d post and save you all from […]

  26. OOO,

    Thanks for the recommendation. After reading it, I looked further into a similar product ( a weighted belt) and it’s been helpful! I got it for sensory perception/ADD/autism/ balance&coordination.

    I had my mom(who processes similarly to me) try it on and after about 5 seconds her eyes got very large and she moved her hands through the air (almost as if it were water around her). I said “you feel it?” and she said “I feel like one of those weighted toys that you knock over and then they bounce back – like I couldn’t fall over.”

    I tend to walk with my weight towards the front of my foot or the outside edge of my foot. I wore the belt some for a few days, then was busy and didn’t for 3 or 4 days. I started toe-walking again and then the next day even more so. I put the belt back on and my toe-walking immediately stops. Even after I take it off, I don’t toe-walk for at least the rest of the day (after wearing it for 15-30 minutes). It helped with my cramps, too. And it’s generally a calm, secure feeling to wear.

    Thanks again for the recommendation; I took the plunge due to your positive review.

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