Our favorite brand of dynamic compression therapy equipment just won the Men’s Health awards for best intermediate pair of compression leg therapy as well as the most innovative and portable compression therapy devices. Because of this we wanted to share a bit behind what compression therapy benefits these devices have and why we love to use them!
If you’ve been into our office, chances are good you’ve used our Hyperice equipment. They are in the form of legs, shoulders, and hips. Our patients get excited when we tell them it’s time to “go to the chair”, or as John likes to say “turn you into a diamond”, because it just feels good. But why? What are those seemingly space suit legs doing to our bodies? They’re doing a couple of things. Hyperice uses different types of compression and pulsing technology within their garments that makes them effective. Let’s explore them now.
Pneumatic Compression Therapy Benefits
The idea behind some of this style of therapy isn’t exactly new. If you’ve ever had a loved one go to the hospital because they’ve had issues with circulation or needed to be in a bed for a long time, it’s possible you’ve seen some of this technology at work. First, we want to discuss pneumatic compression. Pneumatic compression pumps air into the chambers of the garment causing them to inflate. The inflation creates a compressive force around the muscles. This compression helps blood flow easier through your arteries and veins. Compression also helps reduce swelling in an area. These types of compression therapy devices are used in hospitals on patients that may be susceptible to blood clots and need help circulating their blood. For instance people suffering from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and potential blood clots, stroke, surgery, and even pregnancy.
NormaTec garments are divided into multiple compression zones. These zones are typically divided into overlapping chambers that inflate and deflate sequentially, starting from the farthest point from the heart and moving toward it. The idea that it starts from the furthest point in your body helps your body do some heavy lifting. If you’re not familiar with the circulatory system, it’s important to understand that getting your blood back to your heart is an uphill battle. Our hearts are an amazing muscle that is incredibly strong, but our arms and legs are long. Some of us naturally have poor circulation. When that happens the blood has a harder time getting from our extremities (fingers, toes, feet, and hands) back to our heart. This sequential compression pattern helps promote the movement of fluid and enhance circulation. Even if you don’t have poor circulation, it’s always nice to get a little boost! Increasing the blood flow to an area promotes healing which is what our muscles need.
If you’re with me so far, but read that last sentence and scratched your head it’s ok! I’ll explain why our muscles need to not only rest, but to heal!
Have you ever completed a work out and thought “that’s going to hurt tomorrow”. If you’ve had any kind of soreness after exercise you have experienced DOMS. The acronym is for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Many people think this is due to a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. That is part of it, but not the only thing! When we put a lot of strain in our muscles they actually get many small tears in them. These are called micro-tears. It’s not a bad thing, but it is a main cause of your soreness. This soreness creeps up anywhere from a few hours to 24-72 hours after your workout.
DOMS is typically seen when you start a new workout routine, a new sport, have taken a long break, or just performing a really strenuous workout. It is also caused when we do eccentric exercises (Kaminski, 2023). It happens more during eccentric exercise because our muscles are lengthening. During exertion, if the muscle is lengthening they’re more susceptible to these tears. This is all very normal and part of the muscle and tissue building process! It means your muscles are growing and adapting to the new rigors you’re placing on them.
OK! Sidebar is done. Let’s get back to some more compression therapy benefits and understanding the technology!
NormaTec and similar systems utilize sequential and repetitive pulse technology. This allows for a specific sequence of compression and release in each zone. The compression and release cycles in NormaTec garments are repeated throughout the session, usually for a duration of 20 to 60 minutes. The repetitive and sequential pulsing action helps stimulate blood and lymphatic flow, aiding in the removal of waste products, promoting blood flow, and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.
Who Should Use Them?
In summary, these garments strategically help your body move different fluids to improve circulation in a few different ways. They compress your muscles to help reduce swelling and then inflate and pulse in strategic ways to encourage increased amounts of blood flow through the region. That means faster recovery with less soreness in your muscles! We think these are an excellent tool for just about everyone to help your muscles recover and that the compression therapy benefits are undeniable. One of my favorite parts about these is that you’re doing active recovery almost passively. What I mean by that is you can sit on the couch or a recliner and watch tv or even catch up on some work while receiving recovery benefits! It’s the best!
If you’d like to bring this kind of technology into your daily recovery routine we have some in store for you to purchase! These items are tax free and HSA/FSA eligible. Just call or text to get the most up to date pricing and availability and you’ll be on your road to better faster muscle recovery in no time!!
Remember that compression therapy isn’t a one stop shop when it comes to muscle recovery. That combined with other techniques, such as rest, proper nutrition, hydration, foam rolling and stretching, also play crucial roles in optimizing recovery and reducing muscle soreness. Consulting with a healthcare professional or sports therapist can provide personalized guidance on incorporating compression therapy into your recovery routine.
Here is one of our favorite quad recovery routines. You can do this and incorporate compression therapy for enhanced muscle recovery.
Watch This Quad Recovery Video:
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