I’ve been using the Air Relax sequential compression device for a couple of months now, and have incorporated regular treatments into my post-workout regimen. Whenever I train legs (three days a week), I make sure to do a 15 minute treatment at some point during the day. For the most part, it feels fantastic, like a therapeutic massage, but every now and then, the leg sleeves will clamp down like vice grips on a strained area like my calf and inspire me to chant, “ow, ow, ow, owwww!” in quick succession. Despite these isolated moments of torture, I always feel better after the treatment is finished, and my limbs don’t feel as heavy or as cramped as they usually do post-lift.
There are two types of individuals who can benefit from using sequential compression devices. The first group consists of sedentary or bedridden patients who run the risk of developing deep venous thrombosis. The second group consists of athletes, ranging from weekend warriors to elite Olympians. The benefits of sequential compression include enhanced lymphatic drainage, improved blood circulation, enhanced mobilization of lactic acid and other waste products from muscle tissue, and a massage component which is rather pleasant.
If you decide to purchase a sequential compression system for home use, I heartily recommend the Air Relax version, because it is quite affordable for under $400 (versus $1,500 for one major competitor’s version), and it inflates to pressures over 200 mm Hg, qualifying it as a FDA 510K Class II cleared medical grade device.