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What should I add to my program for Training, Performance & Recovery?

Comfort, Comfort, BodyHelix, Comfort

by Tom Parker, MD

Physicians have advised rest, ice, compression and elevation for decades in the management of acute injury and rehabilitation. There is little to support this advice but we all know it works. Based on the use of compression devices in athletes, either for performance or pain and injury management, we continue to use compression even in the absence of compelling scientific evidence. We all know it works, but we just don’t know why.

An interesting article was published out of North Carolina State University’s Journal of Fiber Bioengineering and Informatics that starts to make some sense of available science and unscientific testimony that is of large enough volume that it takes on scientific significance. Rong Liu and Trevor Little make the very strong point that compression clothing can be examined by the athlete with regard to her perception of five categories: physical, physiological, psychological, psychophysiological and psychophysical. This helps to understand why the published research is so hard to interpret. All of the studies look at one or maybe two of the five categories so, of course, each study adds only a small bit of information to the entire picture but very little practical guidance. Sports activities can be classified by requirements for speed, acceleration, skill, endurance, strength, agility, body control, and protection to call to mind a few metrics. It will be impossible to have controlled studies that adequately document the benefit of compression with each of these activities but we are hearing it from our athlete partners.

Comfort is the most important criteria by which to evaluate compression clothing all else being equal according to Liu and Little. BodyHelix is the best there is with our shape retention, recovery and freedom of movement properties. Our fabrics have the best adherence features so that migration is nonexistent and management of moisture and heat is remarkable for its comfort. The fabric delivers a fixed and comfortable compression in the range of 23 mm Hg, noted above to be a very important physiological pressure.

We invite you to let us know if you would be interested in participating in research that would help us know who benefits the most, and why, with the use of compression clothing. Please visit our invitation to participate page to register for consideration.

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