Nearly six years ago, in a tiny hotel room lobby in Kona, Hawaii, I met a guy named Gilad Jacobs.
Gilad was holding a black box about the size of a shoebox, and had two big, space-agey looking boots with him, which attached to the box via two air tubes. I fumbled my way into the slightly awkward, hip-high boots, then sat in a chair as the black box pumped air in and out of the boots.
I’ll admit: six years ago it was a little hokey, and I wasn’t quite sure whether the things actually worked to make my legs “more fresh”.
But since then, Gilad and that tiny black box have come a long way. His company NormaTec is now one of the world’s leader in rapid recovery, and give a competitive edge to a host of the world’s elite athletes, coaches, and trainers, including…
Pro triathletes like:
Pro cyclists like:
Pro runners like:
Crossfit athletes like:
NBA basketball players like:
NFL football players like:
Those old-school boots I tried on many years ago have now evolved into something called the NormaTec PULSE Recovery Systems, a dynamic compression device designed for recovery and rehab, and something I personally use nearly every day now.
The NormaTec systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with a pulsed massage pattern.
When you use a Normatec system, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad (depending on which attachment you are using). Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb.
Today, I interview Gilad, who serves as Vice President of Sports Medicine at NormaTec Industries, LP. He leads NormaTec’s Sports Medicine division, which he established in 2007, and is responsible for sales to pro teams, top college and Olympic programs, and elite and amateur athletes.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-How these space-age boots took the leap from being a pure medical device to being an underground method for athletes to recover faster…
-The main differences between pulsed compression in the compression boots and regular compression from something like compression socks and compression tights…
-What happens biomechanically when you wear the boots, particularly for flexibility, arterial function, pumping of blood and lymph…
-Two chemicals that get released in response to pulsed compression that massively dilate the arteries…
-How the Normatec system can compress your hips and your arms…
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Study: DYNAMIC COMPRESSION ENHANCES PRESSURE-TO-PAIN THRESHOLD IN ELITE ATHLETE RECOVERY: EXPLORATORY STUDY – Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2015 May; 29(5):1263-72
“The purpose of this study was to assess peristaltic pulse dynamic compression (PPDC) in reducing short-term pressure-to-pain threshold (PPT) among Olympic Training Center athletes after morning training. […] We conclude that PPDC is a promising means of accelerating and enhancing recovery after the normal aggressive training that occurs in Olympic and aspiring Olympic athletes.” —view article on pubmed.
-Study: PERISTALTIC PULSE COMPRESSION UPREGULATES PGC-1Α AND ENOS IN HUMAN MUSCLE TISSUE – Experimental Physiology 2015 May 15
“We investigated whether a single 60 min bout of whole-leg, lower pressure external pneumatic compression (EPC) altered select vascular, metabolic, antioxidant and inflammation-related mRNAs. […] An acute bout of EPC transiently upregulates PGC-1α mRNA, while also upregulating eNOS protein and NOx concentrations in vastus lateralis biopsy samples” —view article on pubmed.
-Study: PERISTALTIC PULSE COMPRESSION OF THE LOWER EXTREMITY ENHANCES FLEXIBILITY – Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2014 Apr; 28(4):1058-64
“This study investigated the effects of peristaltic pulse dynamic compression (PPDC) on range-of-motion (ROM) changes in forward splits. […] PPDC provides a means of rapidly enhancing acute ROM requiring less discomfort and time.” —view article on pubmed.
-Study: PERIPHERAL CONDUIT AND RESISTANCE ARTERY FUNCTION ARE IMPROVED FOLLOWING PERISTALTIC PULSE COMPRESSION – European Journal of Applied Physiology 2015 May 16
“The purpose of this study was to determine the acute effects of a single bout of peristaltic pulse EPC on peripheral conduit and resistance artery function. […] Acutely, whole limb, lower pressure EPC improves conduit artery endothelial function systemically, but only improves RH blood flow locally (i.e., compressed limbs).” —view article on pubmed.
Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use recovery boots, or anything else Gilad and I discuss? Leave your comments below, and click here and enter code BENBOOTS at checkout to save $100 on your pair of Normatec boots.
Also published on Medium.