Pneumatic Compression Therapy


Good circulation is essential to a healthy body. As blood circulates, it brings nutrients and oxygen to the organs, the muscles, and the brain. It carries out waste, and helps the body fight off disease. Good circulation is as important for muscle recovery as it is for overall well-being.

At MOTUS Specialists Physical Therapy Orange County, we use a variety of recovery tools, specifically pneumatic compression therapy by RecoveryPump. By using advanced equipment backed by research and clinical experience, we can help improve circulation, encourage healing, address chronic vascular problems, and offer faster recovery for athletes.

What is it?

Pneumatic compression therapy is a tool that has been used since the mid-20th century. It was initially used to prevent swelling in the legs in patients on bedrest, or for those with lymphedema or venous insufficiency. These days, it’s common to see pneumatic compression therapy applied to sport injuries or used to enhance training.Pneumatic compression therapy is applied to limbs by using a pump that pushes room air into an inflatable garment. For instance, if a patient is receiving the compression therapy to their legs, they will wear a pants-like sleeve that will apply compression with intermittent cycles.
RecoveryPump which applies intermittent sequential pneumatic compression therapy (IPCT) on a negative gradient. The company has over 40 years of experience under its belt, and has developed the most effective product on the market.

What are the Benefits?

The benefits of IPCT continue to serve those with muscular and circulatory disorders and many groups beyond that. Research has proven that IPCT can improve circulation, provide pain relief, speed up recovery, and increase joint mobility. A 2008 study showed that IPCT is also able to improve the healing of fractures and soft-tissues.1

IPCT is an effective tool for reducing swelling and improving the lymphatic uptake.2 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.3 IPCT is also applied as a way to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How Does It Work?

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 IPCT is an invaluable tool, because it takes the place or enhances active recovery with a passive alternative.

IPCT pumps fluids through the body by using compression. Fluids flow from high pressure to low pressure. The RecoverPump applies pressure to the treated area, then gradually and steadily decreases it over time to create the most effective, thorough fluid movement. The compression encourages venous return and flushes metabolic waste, leaving muscles feeling fresh and flexible.

The passive nature of IPCT is invaluable, as it encourages the flow of the lymphatic fluid in those unable to exercise, and enhances post-workout recovery for athletes while they rest.

Is Pneumatic Compression Therapy Right For Me?

If you have a chronic vascular problem, you may already know about the benefits of IPCT in relation to your condition. But this tool is for other groups, as well. Anyone can benefit from increased blood circulation.

Compression therapy has become increasingly popular with professional athletes and people leading an active lifestyle. If you’re an athlete looking to expedite your recovery process post-workouts, you might get a lot out of compression therapy.

Common Injuries & Conditions Treated

Traditionally pneumatic compression therapy has been used to treat vascular problems like venous insufficiency, lymphedema, and arterial insufficiency. If you have poor circulation due to a condition like hypertension or diabetes, IPCT can be effective there too.

In addition to serving as a blanket workout recovery tool for athletes, IPCT is often used to help heal overuse or impact injuries. It’s good for joint and muscle sprains, tendonitis, arthritis, lower back pain, and delayed onset muscle soreness. It can help reduce varicose veins, as well as swelling.


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 Limbs