Compression Therapy for Flexibility

Colin Cook

What can compression therapy do for your flexibility?


First, a brief look at compression therapy. At Peak Recovery & Health Center, we offer RecoveryPump pneumatic garments. These are garments that don’t just put pressure on a particular part of your body, but systematically apply pressure and release in patterns designed to enhance blood flow, which in turn promotes oxygenation and detoxification. They aren’t limited to the lower legs, either. We can provide compression therapy for your entire legs, for part of your legs, for your arms, or for your torso.


The Logic of It

To see if this technology can improve flexibility, I did a search on the phrase “pneumatic compression improves flexibility.” Google came back with 1.7 million hits. By itself, that may not mean much. That particular phrase is a favorite among vendors of pneumatic compression devices, and at least some of those 1.7 million hits are commercial hype rather than clinical studies.


Before we even look for clinical studies, however, a moment’s thought will tell you the proposition is logical. Compression improves circulation, and circulation warms muscles. Warm muscles are more flexible than cold ones. This may be one of the reasons you see so many New Englanders running in compression tights when the weather gets cold. 


Clinical Research

As it happens, logic is borne out by clinical research, too. A 2017 study published in the journal PLoS One “sought to compare the effects of external pneumatic compression (EPC) and sham when used concurrently with resistance training on performance-related outcomes and molecular measures related to recovery.” The researchers sorted male weightlifters (all in their early 20s) into two groups. The participants all did three consecutive days of heavy “back squat exercise.” Then one group had pneumatic compression recovery and the other got some sham recovery procedure.


The participants who got the sham recovery procedure had increased muscle soreness and reduced flexibility. Those who got pneumatic compression largely avoided both of those effects. The researchers confirmed it with blood tests for enzyme markers of stress, which were higher in the sham group than the compression group.


Compression Therapy for Flexibility

If you have muscles stiffness, compression therapy may help to restore your flexibility even if you aren’t a 20-year-old weightlifter. It may also (according to WebMD) provide

    • better blood flow
    • prevention and treatment of varicose veins
    • less swelling during long periods of sitting
    • lower risk of blood clots
    • accelerated healing of leg ulcers
    • reduced orthostatic hypotension (i.e., the dizziness or even nausea you sometimes feel when you stand up suddenly).


At Peak Recovery & Health Center, we do compression therapy in 15 or 20-minute sessions. Other than reading or dozing, you can’t do anything else while you’re having it. Treat it as a relaxing interlude. Your session can reduce inflammation, flush waste and toxins naturally, expedite recovery from athletic efforts, and increase your flexibility and range of motion.


Book a session today.