What is Compression Therapy?
As per usual, we feel its best to give you a little background knowledge with regards to the topic that we’re about to embark on, with hopes that it will give you some clarity if you or someone you know is in seek of a particular product.
Compression Therapy is another one of those fantastic tried and true remedies passed down from our trusty ancient ancestors.
In a nutshell, pressure exerted over the muscles in a controlled manner to a local area (most commonly the legs) will induce an increased blood flow to the heart and to the legs.
When a form of compression is used over a targeted area, it helps promote blood flow, eliminates the possibility of pooling and increases the overall efficiency of the venous and lymphatic systems.
Thanks to our dear friend gravity, mixed with our generally vertical, rather than horizontal plane, our legs are more susceptible to a variety of different ailments, which brings us to our next question–
What is Compression Therapy Used For?
Yes, compression undergarments will hold things in place and give the illusion of a slim and trim youthful former self, but that’s not the intended direction here.
In general, compression therapy is prescribed by clinicians for patients who may be suffering from venous leg ulcers, of which can be caused by a variety of ailments such as:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Vein issues
- High blood pressure
Although compression therapy has proven to help with leg ulcers, it has also shown incredibly positive results in areas as well, lets have a look —
Blood Clots – patients who have undergone significant surgeries or medical procedures that are subject to extended periods of bed rest, risk the chance of developing something called Deep Vein Thrombosis. Deep Vein Thrombosis is essentially the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein – hence the name. Compression therapy can help reduce the risk of this developing in patients.
Reduced Swelling – for someone who must be seated for extended periods of time, or the contrary, people who are on their feet for long periods of time, compression therapy can help reduce swelling in the legs by helping our body absorb the fluid that is released from the small blood vessels.
Reduce feeling of Nausea and Dizziness – Have you stood up too quickly and got so dizzy/lightheaded that you thought you were going to fall over? This is called Orthostatic Hypotension. It is caused by blood pooling in the legs and typically happens when your blood pressure drops drastically.
Varicose Vein Treatment and/or Prevention – The veins in our legs have valves that only allow for one way direction of flow (similar to a check valve in an industrial setting). Sometimes these valves get old and worn out, which can lead to them sticking closed and ultimately restrict the flow of blood back to the heart. This causes pooling in the veins which can lead to excessive pressure build-up, leaving veins swollen and in some cases can cause them to distort and twist, leading to extreme pain and discomfort.
Compression Therapy for Athletes
Okay, so by now you likely have a pretty good understanding from that not-so-brief explanation on what and how compression therapy is used for. Our focus going forward is going to be on athletes and how compression therapy can serve to benefit the recovery process.
Compression therapy for athletes is much the same as it is for any other form of compression therapy, however the method of application is slightly different. For athletes, the goal is to use something called the “squeeze and release” method, producing a deep tissue massage-like experience.
By using this method on a targeted muscle group, it will serve to promote rapid recovery, reduced swelling and reduced small tissue damage. These benefits are achieved through this method by means of fresh, oxygenated blood cell introduction and a reduced flow of lactic acid to the targeted area; in turn, promoting faster healing of the muscle tissue.
When and How to Implement Compression Therapy into Your Training Routine
For optimal recovery, the ideal time to implement compression therapy should be sometime post-workout, perhaps following a cool down stretch routine. The nice thing about compression therapy is that it is super convenient, efficient and not overly time consuming; introducing about 20-30 mins of treatment should garner positive results.
NormaTec by Hyperice
For now, we’re going to look mainly at the NormaTec line by Hyperice, simply because the quality is unmatched, they offer a wide selection of products and are trusted by professional athletes across the board.
The NormaTec line comes with a fully connected mobile app called HyperSmartTM which is available for both android and iOS. This gives the user the ability to customize their recovery experience and maximize training/recovery with enhanced digital data metrics all directly from your phone.
What can I do with the app?–
- create and save favourite settings for future use
- control the device directly from your smart phone
- access and analyze recovery statistics
- share data to other training and tracking apps, including Strava and TrainingPeaks
- send recovery session data to coaches or trainers
In addition to the mobile app, the NormaTec system has a few other neat features that grabbed our attention–
- zone boost control, for areas that require a little more attention
- patented pulse compression sequence
- precise digital control and accuracy
- 7 intensity levels
- rechargeable battery
- super quiet operation
- system weight only 3.4lbs
- comes in 3 different sizes (short, standard & Tall)
- hip attachment
- arm attachment
- super portable design
- comes with limited 2-year warranty
Considering the popular demand and great quality, the price is not out of hand when compared to other products on the market. The NormaTec boots 2.0 retail for $899, while the hip attachments and arm attachments retail for $250 and $400 respectively. All pieces are available for purchase as a package, mix and match or individually.
NormaTec also offers a “pro” model which is just a slightly more advanced model than the 2.0.
If you’re looking for any top of the line recovery tools, we highly recommend heading over to Hyperice to check out everything they have available!
In conclusion, we believe that NormaTec is an incredible product that is tried and true.