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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

Do Cooling Vests Really Work? 3 Types & How they Cool You Down

Updated: May 6, 2023

cooling vest

There are many strategies to help people with MS to avoid an increase in symptoms due to overheating. One option is to wear a cooling vest. Cooling vests work by lowering or stabilizing body temperature during daily activities or environments where the body may become overheated.

Cooling vests come in two general types: passive versus active technology.

Passive cooling vests do not require power while they are being worn. Instead, they use ice packs, materials that absorb body heat, or the process of evaporation to lower body temperature.

Active cooling vests need electricity or a battery pack to function. They usually stay colder for longer but are heavier and more expensive than passive vests.

The 3 types of passive cooling vests that are most commonly used are :


Evaporative cooling vests use highly absorbent fabric that is designed to rapidly absorb cool water. After soaking, the cool water slowly evaporates from the fabric over the course of several hours and creates a cooling effect throughout.

Cold Pack

Cold Pack Vests are vests that have specially-designed compartments to hold cold packs. Cold packs are often designed to remain soft even when frozen, allowing them to stay lightweight and easy to wear during activity.

Phase Change

Similar to vests with cold packs in that they feature compartments to hold cooling packs, these vests work through using a specialized phase-changing material with a higher than normal freezing point.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of America offers passive cooling vests for individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. MSAA provides these products at no charge to individuals with MS who qualify for assistance. Click here for more information.

There are also many options available to purchase. Consulting with physical or occupational therapist will help you find the right option for your lifestyle.

Do you have questions about how Engage Therapy and Wellness in Syracuse NY can help you stay cool and improve your life with MS? Contact us at 315-810-2423 or to discuss your unique situation and see how we can help you live your best life!

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