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Compression Garments

Posted Mar 02 2013 1:48pm

Medical compression stockings and garments have been used in the treatment of poor venous blood flow for persons with varicose veins, lymphedema, and post surgical recovery for many years. Now compression garments are all the rage in the athletic world. These high tech clothes are particularly popular with runners, cyclists, and skiers to give them a competitive edge. The benefits of wearing compression garments according to their makers are:  increased oxygen delivery to working muscles; enhanced circulation increasing venous return; increased strength, power, and endurance; reduction in post-exercise muscle soreness; faster removal of lactic acid and other metabolic wastes; reduction of muscle strain and ligament damage; and optimizing body temperatures in warm or cool conditions. 

In the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine researchers in Sydney, Australia concluded: “The data suggests that wearing compression garments in the recovery from eccentric exercise may alter the inflammatory response to damage and accelerate the repair processes inside of the muscle. However further studies are warranted to confirm any alteration in muscle repair/recovery consequent to wearing of compression garments, determine the mechanisms, and understand the functional benefits underlying both eccentric exercise and the use of compression garments in health and clinical populations".[1]

These same benefits can help persons with chronic health conditions in everyday activities. For someone with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia syndromes walking to the mailbox can be an "athletic" event and compression garments can make a big difference. I started wearing compression knee socks and sleeves to give me support when I'm active, and at night I wear "recovery" tights and a long sleeved top. These garments give me an edge in recovery, have increased the amount of activities I can do, and improved my sleep. There are many manufacturers to choose from in the hi-tech compression garment industry. Some popular brands are "SKINS" and 2XU. I highly recommend making an investment in these garments.

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[1] Michael Trenell, Kireon Rooney, Carolyn Sue and Campbell Thomson. Compression Garments and Recovery form Eccentric Exercise: A P-MRS Study. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2206)5, 106-114 http://www.jssm.org

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    Here's a picture of me wearing my compression knee socks. 

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