Limb compression has involved massage, specialised compression garments and devices.
The compression devices are characterised as being dynamic compression that uses “peristaltic pulse compression” (PPC). Peristalsis is a sequential wave of pressure produced by the tension and relaxation of muscles radially along a hollow tube. Peristalsis produces a wave of pressure that promotes the movement of materials through blood vessels, and lymphatic structures. PPC refers to a sequential pressure wave applied through circumferential leg cuffs. The leg cuffs are composed of segmented tubes that permit computer-controlled pressure variations in each cell and from cell to cell. By increasing and decreasing cell pressures in a peristaltic manner, PPC leg cuffs can promote the movement of tissue materials and fluids within the lower extremities, helping to flush the lymphatic system of waste and toxins that can cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
What do Athletes Say?
Athletes using the Air Relax Dynamic Compression System have recorded feeling lighter & fresher in the legs, more relaxed, better range of movement, with some stating they felt less leg agitation after events giving them a better nights sleep. There has also been positive feedback from persons with restless leg syndrome, lymphedema, and other venous flow conditions such as diabetes.
What Does the Science Say?
Research shows results where a reduction in muscle tenderness was felt immediately after a dynamic compression treatment and this was apparent for several hours after the initial treatment and subsequent training session. (1)
Studies by Haun et al (2017) found that athletes had a reduction in muscle oxidative stress and proteolysis markers during recovery from heavy resistance exercise when using dynamic compression for their recovery. (2)
(1) Sands, William & Mcneal, Jeni & Murray, Steven & Stone, Michael. (2014). Dynamic Compression Enhances Pressure-to-Pain Threshold in Elite Athlete Recovery. Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association. 29. 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000412.
(2) Haun, C. T., Roberts, M. D., Romero, M. A., Osburn, S. C., Mobley, C. B., Anderson, R. G., Goodlett, M. D., Pascoe, D. D., & Martin, J. S. (2017). Does external pneumatic compression treatment between bouts of overreaching resistance training sessions exert differential effects on molecular signaling and performance-related variables compared to passive recovery? An exploratory study. PloS one, 12(6), e0180429. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180429