I always loved that song from “The Sound of Music”…”My Favorite Things…”
My favorite thing in my OT gym is… Spandex.
So what is Spandex?
Spandex, also called Lycra, is a fabric that easily expands and contracts with your body and motion – therefore it conveys a unique feeling of comfort and freedom of movement. Besides being soft and giving a sensation of being hugged, it is also impervious to wrinkling and resistant, so that you may wear your favorite Lycra clothes over and over again. And – best of all – spandex has so much therapeutic value!
Did you know that spandex fabric can stretch up to seven time its original size? And after that shrink back again to its original size and shape, without showing any alteration. If you buy a good quality spandex it can last for ages.
5 Ways you can use Spandex for Therapeutic Goals:
1) I use Spandex widely not only for myself, but also for my clients. When you wear a Spandex legging and shirt, buy it two sizes smaller than your child’s normal size for the feeling of a deep pressure hug. This will help your body feel centered, decrease anxiety, and increase body awareness. In the summer you may want to try this with spandex materials that have some cotton in it to reduce sweat.
2) I like to wrap clients with 2 yards of Spandex cloth, as in the “Roly Poly” activity explained step by step in my book “The Parent-Child Dance”.
3) Another activity using Spandex is to place your small child on a one to 1 1/2 yard flat cloth of Spandex. Two adults should be available, each one holding two corners of the material to roll your young child back and forth on the Spandex. This gives him vestibular (movement) stimulation as well as proprioceptive (deep pressure) stimulation. For a Child-On-The-Edge this is very calming.
4) In my activities with children, I use a variety of colors and shapes of Spandex fabric as dress up clothing. My clients enjoy the choice I have in my office to create a variety of crowns, capes , sarongs and other imaginative pieces of clothing.
5) You can use spandex for a wide variety of exercises for strengthening the whole body, from the shoulders, arms and wrists to the chest, abdomen, legs, knees and ankles. You will need a very simple accessory: a piece of spandex or Thera-band. To make one you can use a 12-24″ strip of Spandex or rubber. Hold one end in each hand and stretch the material for 8 seconds , 8 times – as you work the muscles of your arms. The same can be done putting one end under your foot and pulling the material with your other hand.
You will find more instructions about these simple, inexpensive and healthy activities on http://www.thera-bandacademy.com/tba-exercise-program/Thera-Band-Arm–Forearm-Exercises
And here are some additional web links to help you enjoy Spandex as I much as I do.
You can find my favorite types of spandex on spandexbyyard.com . On this site, you can use the following code to obtain a 20% discount, valid for a minimum order of $20.00: MiriamSpecial2015, which you have to type in at check out.
A lighter Spandex fabric, style F-56:
A heavier Spandex fabric. style FT-2200:
A heavy compression mesh Spandex fabric, Style SP 1013:
If you want to know more about this fantastic fabric and about its use, you can get a lot of information on http://www.lycra.com.
I’d love to hear how you use Spandex to help yourself and your kiddos!