Compression Therapy, Ancient and Remarkable
—By Alexander Zuriarrain MD—

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Compression therapy has been around since antiquity and used, at least since the days of Hippocrates, for preventing blood clots, healing wounds, and treating blood-flow insufficiency and other vascular disorders. Now, the procedure is recapturing the imagination - and attention - of physicians and patients alike, and proving to be a remarkable treatment modality for overall health and wellness.

Fueling demand for compression therapy, according to the report, are:

The Ballancer®Pro lymphatic drainage compression system, approved by the FDA, features a device that compresses legs, arms, and torso to enhance lymphatic circulation and decrease swelling and inflammation. The system is especially ideal before and after surgery because it prevents venous stasis (the pooling of blood in the legs), lowers the patient's risk of blood clots, minimizes inflammation, reduces post-surgical pain and soreness, speeds healing of wounds, and promotes quicker recovery.

The medical community is gradually realizing the advantages of compression therapy for various conditions. The principle behind compression is simple; the treatment works by squeezing muscles and pushing blood back to the heart, moving fluid to prevent its accumulation in body tissues, alleviating pain and the perception of pain by diminishing stress on skeletal muscles, and assisting in muscle recovery, particularly in athletes.

More physicians are prescribing compression therapy to relieve joint and muscle pain or applying it immediately following injury to enhance blood circulation in the traumatized area and support muscle recovery. Similarly, medical experts call compression therapy the "cornerstone" of treating arm or leg swelling due to lymphedema, a common condition.

The use of compression also can be the right clinical option for patients requiring treatment of varicose veins and those experiencing chronic pain, including the pain of arthritis, and the swelling, fatigue, lightheadedness, and pain of venous insufficiency. Meanwhile, researchers write in Surgical Technology International XXIII that "management of chronic edema using compression is crucial to promote healing of venous leg ulcers."

It is important to note that compression therapy also has aesthetic benefits. Medical wellness staff employs the treatment to enhance skin elasticity, improve skin tone, and smooth cellulite ridges and bumps.

Compression therapy has revolutionized the post-op care regimen for plastic surgery patients and when combined with hyperbaric oxygen, lymphatic massage, cryotherapy, IV fluid therapy and infrared sauna can provide amazing improvements in recovery and enhanced results.

We still have much more to learn about the clinical potential of compression therapy, but what we do know is that patients are benefiting from it and increasingly seeking it.

The ancient Egyptians certainly had the right idea; compression means preservation.

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