What is Compression Therapy?

Pittsburgh Fitness Project: When we use compression therapy, we are aiding the process of pushing out any fluids that gather in our extremities. 

When we stand or sit, blood naturally pools in our lower legs and feet.  Our veins have valves that help push our blood back towards our heart and prevent swelling. Sometimes these valves start to wear out and our veins become distended because the pooled blood has nowhere to go. These distended veins are commonly known as varicose veins. When we apply gentle pressure to our arms and legs with wraps or sleeves, we are doing Compression Therapy. But what is it? And how does it help us? When we use compression therapy, we are aiding the process of pushing out any fluids that gather in our extremities. 

Compression Helps Exercise Recovery

Doctors sometimes recommend compression therapy with socks or other devices to help treat varicose veins or other conditions where fluid builds up in our legs, like lymphedema.

Athletes have also found that compression therapy can be helpful.  Athletes can wear socks or sleeves during exercise or use compression devices after exercise to aid in recovery.  Compression devices consist of long sleeves or wraps which fit over our extremities or even our hips that apply gentle pressure via a pneumatic device.    

When we exercise, breakdown products accumulate in our muscles. This therapy helps clear these substances from our tissues and can reduce soreness and swelling after exercise, aiding exercise recovery.   

Reasons Not to Use Compression Therapy?

If you have certain conditions, you should avoid or delay compression therapy. 

These include:

  • Skin infections
  • Open sores
  • Lack of sensation
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Peripheral artery disease

If you ever have any concerns, consult with your physician.

The PFP Recovery Lounge 

The Pittsburgh Fitness Project’s Recovery Lounge will have numerous compression devices available to help clients recover from their workouts.   We will also have sauna therapy, light therapy for the winter months, and our ever-present massage therapy.  We look forward to our opening in October 2021 to serve Pittsburgh’s athletic recovery needs!  

By Co-Owner Dr. Brian Clista

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