How Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Therapy Can Help Athletes

Pneumatic compression therapy is a treatment that uses pressure to improve blood circulation. This therapy is helpful for athletes, as it can help them recover from injuries faster. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of pneumatic compression therapy for athletes, and how you can use it to improve your performance!

What are recovery boots?

These pneumatic compression devices more commonly referred to as recovery boots are applied to limbs by using a pump that pushes room air into an inflatable garment. For instance, if a patient is receiving dynamic compression for their legs, they will wear a pants-like sleeve that will apply compression with intermittent cycles. ReoveryAir products by TheraBody apply intermittent pneumatic compression therapy (IPCT) on a negative gradient. This recovery system is aimed at increasing blood flow, enhancing recovery, and improving performance in the future of exercise.

How does intermittent pneumatic compression work?

Most commonly seen are inflatable garments worn on legs, although Therabody RecoveryPro has additional attachments for the upper body as well, suitable for overhead athletes. The recovery system sequentially inflates pockets within garments to user-selected pressure. Intermittent pneumatic compression devices improve recoverability in dozens of ways. During intense training, there can be a certain level of damage to the muscle cells. This occurs with the introduction of fluid within a cell, which manifests as swelling. Compression is beneficial since it physically removes this fluid from the body.

Our blood vessels and lymphatic system are constantly getting rid of wastes from our cells. This flushing of waste is key to keeping the body healthy and preventing soreness in muscles. However, the venous system does not have a pump, so the internal fluid movement is dependent upon muscle movement, which triggers the process.

If you can’t use muscle movement to get the fluids flowing, you can run into moderate to severe problems. This is why compression boots are an invaluable tool, because it takes the place or enhances active recovery with a passive alternative.

Recovery boots pump fluids through the body by using compression. Fluids flow from high pressure to low pressure. The RecoveryAir applies pressure to the treated area, then gradually and steadily decreases it over time to create the most effective, thorough fluid movement. The air compression encourages venous return and flushes metabolic waste, leaving muscles feeling fresh and flexible. The passive nature of the pneumatic compression device is invaluable, as it encourages the flow of the lymphatic fluid in those unable to exercise, and reduces recovery time for athletes.

What are the benefits of compression boots?

How does compression boot work? Improve circulation. Remove cellular metabolic waste that results in delayed onset muscle soreness. Increasing flexibility in movements. Faster recovery time. Make training easier. Relaxing. Enhance flexibility in joints.

The boots increase blood flow. Intermittent compression applied during rehabilitation after exercise resulted in an increase in limb blood circulation and could help improve fitness and performance after exercise, the researchers say.

The benefits of IPCT continue to serve those with muscular and circulatory disorders and many groups beyond that. Research has proven that intermittent pneumatic compression devices improve circulation, provide pain relief, relieve muscle soreness, faster recovery, and increase joint mobility. A 2008 study showed that compression boots are also able to improve the healing of fractures and soft tissues.

Recovery boots are an effective tool for reducing swelling and improving lymphatic uptake. A study from 2014 examined how IPCT affected lymphedema in the lower limbs, and found that the therapy could replace the functionality of destroyed lymphatics. Intermittent pneumatic compression is also applied as a way to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) post-operatively.

Can compression boots really boost my exercise recovery?

Yes. The boots enhance blood flow. The Journal of Applied Physiology reports that recovery boots on injured limbs during recovery causes increased blood circulation and may affect exercise effectiveness or recoverability. Compression boots can help reduce swelling and improve lymphatic uptake.

Is Pneumatic Compression Therapy Right For Me?

If you have a chronic vascular problem, you may already know about the benefits of compression boots in relation to your condition. But this tool is for other groups, as well. Whether you’re running a marathon or running the kids to school, compression boots can be used every day. Anyone can benefit from increased blood circulation.

Popular compression boot systems have become mainstream with professional athletes and people leading an active lifestyle. If you’re an athlete looking for effective recovery post-workouts, you might get a lot out of recovery boots.

How often can you use compression boots?

3-4 times weekly ensures maximum recovery, but some utilize the recovery boots daily. Many people find the compression boot to be very comfortable to wear after training and to find the right balance. The customizable programs and duration of the Therabody RecoveryAir allows you to adjust your recovery tool to fit your needs.

If you’re interested in enhanced exercise performance or recovery utilizing high tech recovery tools from TheraBody may be right for you. RecoveryAir products are equipped with a sleek and functional design; industry-leading 60-second compression cycle; and precise pressure control; the RecoveryAir pneumatic compression device optimizes the entire user experience. Come by MOTUS Specialists to trial this innovative recovery tool that flushes out fluids containing metabolic waste and ushers in fresh, nutrient-rich blood to the limbs. The RecoveryAir line is perfect for flushing fatigued legs, especially for athletes, runners, cyclists, or anyone who is on their feet all day.


  1. Anil Khanna et al – Intermittent pneumatic compression in fracture and soft-tissue injuries healing
  2. Jakub Taradaj et al – Comparison of efficacy of the intermittent pneumatic compression with a high- and low-pressure application in reducing the lower limbs phlebolymphedema
  3. Marzanna Zaleska et al – The Effectiveness of Intermittent Pneumatic Compression in Long-Term Therapy of Lymphedema of Lower Limb

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