Do Compression Vests work for Autistic and Parkinson’s Patients?

Compression Vests Help you feel Relaxed and Less Anxious

There is always one unanswered question among people with  Parkinson’s disease (PD) and autism. So they ask, ” Do compression vests work?”

While I was researching for adaptive clothing for Parkinson’s patients, I found out some articles claiming that compression vests would help people suffering from anxiety. You see one of the most common symptom affecting Parkinson’s patients is anxiety. Neurologists say that once the dopamine producing neurons stop doing so, there is a chemical alteration in the brain that causes the patients to start getting anxious, stressed as well as depressed. This also affects their sleep patterns where they are likely to spend the whole night not feeling sleepy(insomnia) as well as tendency to feel sleepy during the day.

Do Compression Vests Work According to Research

Now research on the effectiveness of compression and weighted vests show that they are good in making the wearer feel calm and relaxed. It is as though someone is giving you a big, warm bear hug and this gets you relaxed and feeling loved and cared for. Parents who have autistic and ADHD kids have been doing this for a long time where they get them some weighted jackets as well as weighted lap pads that make the kid concentrate and stop being fidgety in class. In Germany for example, parents have been buying these weighted jackets filled with sand to their sensory processing disorder kids and the results have been amazing. My question then was that if the garments were working for kids, would they as well work for adults.

And the best way would be to try them out. So, I had this patient who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for four years. He had serious tremors and was at most times anxious because of the disease. So, I wanted to test whether the weighted compression vests would work for this case to make the patient calm as well as feel relaxed. Before this, I had tried medications but you will find that PD medications usually take time before they kick in. Levodopa for example will take sometime before its effect can be seen in the body. We call this on and off moments when on is when the drug has kicked in and ‘off’ is when it is has not taken effect.

So how did the compression vest perform

I was awed trying the Harkla compression vest on my PD patient. At first the patient complained that it was way too heavy for them and seemed very apprehensive to try it out which made me more worried wondering how it would help make the patient relaxed yet here they were apprehensive about trying the jacket out.

But I convinced the old man telling him that it would help him feel calm. Now if there was one thing that this old man was hating about PD is that he felt worried and anxious almost all the time but especially at night time when everyone was asleep and he could not sleep a wink. His legs would feel restless, he would act out in his dreams and he always said that he had so many nightmares. So telling him that the jacket would make him relaxed was all the convicing that he needed. He bought the idea and we went on try it on him but on the promise that he would ditch it if it did not help things.

I am so glad that we tried it out. The guy started recording immediate signs of change. He looked more relaxed and less anxious. He was also able to battle his insomnia and in no time, he was sleeping like a baby; soundly and peacefully.

Parkinson’s Patient Reactions to the weighted jacket

He appeared more happier and when I asked him how he felt, this is what he had to say:

I love the weighted jacket. Though heavy when starting out, I found out that it is very relaxing. It feels as though someone is giving me a warm hug and with me through my Parkinson’s journey to comfort me. I now sleep better and my nightmares are less when wearing the jacket. It is time now I also thought of the anxiety weighted blankets that are equally helpful.