Drug-free treatments are gaining popularity among individuals of all ages due to the high risks and unpleasant side effects of pharmacueticals. Increasingly victims of pain and chronic illlness seek to find alternatives that help them in their daily lives to reduce pain, improve performance, and manage illness effectively.
Among the most effective drug-free treatments is compression. Generally coming in the form of a garment or a wrap, compression provides support and a whole slew of benefits for the wearer. It can help reduce pain, improve circulation, decrease swelling, and prevent blood clots.
It isn’t just limited to chronic illness or injury sufferers either. You can gain atheltic and fitness benefits from wearing compression garments to improve performance, speed up work-out recovery, and just overall enjoy a higher quality of life. Wearing compression garments can provide benefits before, during, and after a work-out session.
The benefits of compression are far reaching, but here are five main benefits of using compression.
5 Advantages of Wearing Compression Garments
Increases circulation. The biggest and most impactful benefit of compression is the controlled increased in circulation. Keeping the blood moving throughout the compressed area reduces swelling and prevents blood from pooling in the compressed body part.
Blood is the literal lifeline of the body. It delivers nutrients, viral and bacterial defenses, oxygen, and regeneration cells to all parts of the body. By increasing circulation you are helping vital elements to move throughout your body more efficiently.
Not only is circulation important for healing, it also supports a healthy immune system which could mean by using compression garments you might suffer less from colds, flus, and other viral and bacterial infections. This ability to support strong immune function is the key to why compression is so often utilized in wound care and diabetes maintenance.
As well as being a nutrient delivery system, circulation is also a critical part of the body’s waste removal system. Build up of toxic materials in the body can be a contributor to pain and inflammation. The better your circulatory system performs, the quicker unhelpful (and even harmful) elements can be eliminated from the body. Waste disposal is a vital part of the body’s function that isn’t always mentioned when discussing the benefits of compression.
Decreases risk of blood clots. A blood clot that forms in an apendage (leg, arm, etc.) can have disastrous results, up to and including death. If a blood clot develops anywhere in the body, you have a risk of the clot traveling to the heart and brain, causing serious health complications. Using compression to maintain proper circulation helps to prevent blood clots from forming.
The risk of blood clots increases post surgery, post injury, and in situations where you can’t move for long periods of time (like on an airplane or an extended hospital stay). This is why physicians so often recommend wearing compression garments after a surgery or significant injury to maintain healthy blood flow.
Compression is particularly helpful in managing and preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that occurs most often in the legs. By strategically squeezing the tissue in the legs, compression encourages healthy blood flow in the lower extremeites and works to prevent painful DVT. This prevents the blood from pooling and clotting from stagnation.
Reduces pain. Pain in the body is often the result of inflammation. The inflammation can occur because of injury, chronic illness, aging, or immobility. Using compression as a tool can help lower inflammation in the affected body part. By keeping the blood moving, and not contributing to swelling, it reduces the pressure on the affected area to lessen the pain.
Swelling can worsen the pain felt from other conditions like nerve pain, inflammation, arthritis, injury, fibromyalgia, and obesity. Curbing swelling with compression helps to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, pain associated with many conditions. Aiding mobility can also help sufferers to exercise which is a vital step in pain management. Immobility compounds issues of nearly any injury or illness.
Improves mobility. When a joint is inflamed or swollen, it often hinders a person’s mobility. Movement is beneficial for healing, so compression can be a major gift towards improving overall health. Not only does compression reduces inflammation, it also provides support to an area that is weakened by injury or illness.
Many users of compression enjoy the freedom to get back to exercising that a compression garment provides. Without the support and improved circulation, that beneficial exercise could prove too painful or too difficult to continue. When exercise is too difficult to pursue, the cycle of illness continues. It isn’t hyberpole to say that compression can save lives in this manner.
The physical support of many compression garments offers a psychological benefit to healing as well. After an injury, you can become fearful of moving the injured body part. While rest is important, increasingly science is showing that mindful movement is better at healing than rest. By stabilizing a joint, a compression garment can give you the confidence to slowly start exercising the injured area again.
Speeds up recovery. After surgery, injury, or illness, compression is a fantastic tool to provide drug-free support and excelerate the healing process. The increased circulation from compression initiates tissue recovery at a faster rate. All of the body’s elements for healing are distributed throughout the body through the blood. Soreness following exercise is primarily caused by lactic acid buildup in the body. Compression has been shown to reduce this buildup by maintaining healthy circulation and supporting the body’s waste removal process.
It has been shown in studies that compression increased cellular membrane turnover which translates to a shorter recovery period and faster healing. This can be utilized for injuries, but also for general recovery from workouts, meaning any athlete can leverage compression to their advantage in their own particular training program.
Compression garments have also been shown to reduce the body’s need for oxygen. When your needs for oxygen decrease, the body doesn’t have to spend as much energy obtaining and delivering the oxygen. That energy can then be utilized to heal injury or fight off illness. The streamlining of use of oxygen leaves space for other bodily functions.