Blah, blah, blah...compression. I get it.
"You're going to want one of these at your house!" exclaims Mark Murdock (Sports Director of CryoUSA) with a smile. With a smirk I reply, "We'll see." I mean really? All compression is the same! You have compression socks, shorts, sleeves, shirts and full body suits that supposedly enhance performance or recovery by limiting lactic acid build up in the muscle in some sort of fashion. With the exception of a full body suit, I own these products and -eh, they do ok. So naturally I was intrigued, and a bit skeptical, about how this device was going to make me feel and, of course, how it worked.
First step - put the boots on. Each boot (picture above) covers the feet all the way to the upper thigh. They are designed with five overlapping "zones" (feet, shin, knee, mid-thigh and upper thigh) and a hose that runs from each boot to the NormaTec air pump NormaTech MVP.
There are seven compression settings on the NormaTec that range from lightest to most compression. I used the highest setting (seven) to get the full effect. When the air pump turned on, both boots filled up with air from the feet to the thigh. It kind of felt like a blood pressure cuff. To be honest, it felt pretty good and then the real magic started. The first zone (feet) begins to pulse. After a certain duration of time, the second zone (shin) begins to pulse while the feet zone holds a steady pressure. Then the third zone (knee) goes active and the feet and shin zone hold steady pressure. Once the forth zone (mid-thigh) goes active, the feet zone is released and the mid-thigh zone pulses. When it's time for the mid-thigh zone to hold, the shin zone releases and and so on. By the time the boots finish the full sequence at the upper thigh the boots and start all over again for the remainder of my time.
During the process, the NormaTec is improving blood flow by pushing blood from your feet all the way up to your thigh. With its unique holding phase (check out the cool graphic here) in the cycle, the blood flow does not release back down until full decompression is achieved. The result is an increase in blood flow to damaged muscles, tendons and ligaments to speed up recovery.
At the end of my 30min session, I walked around a bit and honestly my legs have never felt as rejuvenated that quickly. I was ready to go run 20 miles.
This is a great device that I believe everyone should try out for themselves. There are many benefits to compression but using the NormaTec far exceeds any post recovery garment for training or competition.
Click here for CryoUSA pricing for the NormaTec.
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