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How does compression wear work?

Where does compression wear come from?

Compression wear has gained popularity in recent years among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people wanting to smooth out their silhouettes. However the first modern compression garments date back to the 18th Century when a German doctor invented stockings that improved blood flow and swelling after operations. Today’s shapewear can trace its origins back to compression therapy.

What is compression therapy?

Compression therapy is the application of pressure to a specific area of the body to enhance blood flow and lymphatic drainage to improve circulation and reduce swelling.

What are compression garments?

Compression garments are designed to fit tightly against the skin, providing pressure and support to the muscles and joints. They are usually made from breathable yarns, including elastane, which are able to wick away moisture from the skin. The elasticity and structure of the yarns changes depending on the use of the garment.

How does compression wear work?

Sports compression wear works by improving circulation. Graduated compression sports socks exert a higher compression at the ankle and can improve circulation. When worn during exercise the pressure increases blood flow back to the heart so that more oxygen and nutrients find their way to the muscles. Compression also improves the recovery process by eliminating waste products such as lactic acid, which can help to avoid soreness and muscle fatigue.

Shapewear works by compressing and redistributing the body's fat and tissue, effectively flattening out any lumps or bumps. The compression can also help to support the muscles, soothe aching legs and improve posture. Some shapewear just consists of firmer panels in underwear which target the stomach to provide a more toned appearance.

Medical compression garments provide a health benefit and are usually prescribed by a healthcare provider to reduce swelling and inflammation. This is achieved through the increased circulation and lymphatic drainage that compression therapy provides in conditions such as oedema, lymphoedema, lipoedema and varicose veins.

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