The Ultimate Guide to Compression
What do compression sleeves do?
An arm compression sleeve is a garment made from elastic material that fits onto your forearm and bicep. It is designed to feel snug, but not uncomfortable, and to provide stimulation to the skin and muscles beneath as you exercise, game, or compete.
The main benefit of a compression sleeve is better blood flow. The constant stimulation of skin and muscles leads to enhanced circulation, which is linked with temperature regulation, muscle recovery, and better use of those muscles. Compression sleeves are often worn by athletes and bodybuilders to reduce soreness, prevent and lessen swelling, and speed up muscle recovery.
Do compression sleeves work?
Compression sleeves are proven to increase blood flow, thanks to constant stimulation to the skin. That pressure on your arm increases blood flow to the area, leading to faster muscle recovery. Doctors may also prescribe them to reduce and prevent swelling or bruising. There are plenty of scientific studies that support these awesome benefits!*
You may have also heard that wearing compression garments can enhance performance since increased blood flow means increased oxygen to your muscles. However, there is no scientific proof for this idea.*
Only smart compression can improve your performance, thanks to cognitive-boosting technology embedded inside!
How do compression sleeves work?
Compression sleeves work by applying constant pressure to the arteries beneath the skin. Doing this encourages the arteries in your arm to contract and expand, as if massaged.* The effect is like taking a hose and squeezing it to try and get out more water; the pressure from your fist helps the water to flow more efficiently from faucet to flower.
Part of the reason that compression sleeves are so effective is because their design is so simple. The principle is reasonably basic, and the effects of improved blood flow from your muscles to your heart are well worth it!
Who are compression sleeves for?
Compression sleeves are mostly used by athletes, bodybuilders, personal trainers and trainees, and anyone with a condition that causes swelling, muscle pains, varicose veins, or similar concerns, like lymphedema. Their primary purpose is to stimulate blood flow to the area covered by the sleeve, using light pressure to maintain a constant flow. Medical-grade compression sleeves are designed to be an easy, passive way to promote muscle recovery and healthy blood flow, requiring next to no effort on the part of the wearer.
What do compression sleeves help with?
All sorts of things! Compression sleeves help with injury prevention and management, including for athletes and following certain types of surgery. Compression arm sleeves are also very useful for preventing and treating lymphedema and similar obstructions of the lymphatic system.* Anything that can be positively benefited by enhanced blood flow, such as muscle recovery, varicose veins, or athletic performance can be benefited through the use of compression sleeves.
Can you sleep in compression sleeves?
It’s a good idea to give your arms a break, rather than providing pressure and stimulation twenty-four hours a day. Time spent asleep is a great opportunity to take off your compression sleeve and let your skin breathe.
In the case of smart compression, we recommend giving your mind and your arm a break when you lie down to sleep and not wearing Cognitive Boost Technology to bed.
Do compression sleeves help tennis elbow?
Although a compression sleeve may provide some additional elbow support, it is not a recommended treatment for tennis elbow. In especially painful cases, your doctor may recommend a brace to help you to keep your elbow at rest, but a compression sleeve will not have the same effect. If you are experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow, the best thing to do is to contact your doctor so they can assess the situation, and potentially prescribe medications or other more effective treatments for your pain. Rest will almost certainly be high on the list!
Do arm compression sleeves work for flabby arms?
You can wear a compression sleeve on your arm if you have loose skin; it will still work, though you might need a smaller size than you expect. In fact, wearing compression garments in general can be a good way to prevent loose skin from rubbing and chafing. Compression sleeves will not, however, reduce the amount of loose skin on your arm; that is something you would need to discuss with your doctor.
Do compression sleeves help bicep tendonitis?
If you are diagnosed with bicep tendonitis, it is unlikely that you will be prescribed a compression sleeve, but they can still be helpful for dealing with the pain. The compression adds a new sensation to the affected area which can help to lessen the pain. Because bicep tendonitis is caused by inflammation, compression sleeves might feel good on the affected area, but rest and ice will undoubtedly do more for your healing than compression.
Where can I buy compression arm sleeves?
Right here! eSmartr sells medical-grade compression sleeves that have the added benefit of increasing your focus and lowering your stress while you wear them. As compression sleeves are a common staple of an athlete’s setup, many other sporting goods shops will also have them in stock — but without the natural, safe, and effective cognitive benefits offered by eSmartr.
How should a compression sleeve fit?
The most important thing here is that a compression sleeve should be comfortable. You want it to be snug, so as to receive all of the benefits that stimulation and compression can offer, but not so tight that it might be cutting off circulation or causing you to constantly notice the pressure. Above all, you should be prioritizing your own comfort when you choose compression sleeves!
How do I measure my arm for a compression sleeve?
The best way to measure your arm for a compression sleeve is by using a soft measuring tape to find the circumference of your wrist. If you don’t have soft measuring tape, another option is to use a thin strip of paper, yarn, or anything else you can wrap around your arm. Take note of where the yarn meets on your arm and measure the distance between the two points with a ruler.
More Things to Consider
- Materials: Most compression sleeves will be made from elastic material, limiting your options. However, if you are purchasing a compression sleeve for athletic or fitness purposes, you will want a moisture-wicking and antibacterial sleeve, to ensure that sweating is no problem at all!
- eSmartr smart compression sleeves are great examples of sleeves designed for athletic use!
- Forearm or Full-Arm: Some sellers, like ourselves, offer compression sleeves that stretch up to the shoulder (full-arm) or ones that stop at the elbow (forearm). Most of the time, which one you want for yourself will come down to personal preference, but for contact sports or any situations that might require additional elbow support, a full-arm compression sleeve can be a great solution.
Born, D. P., Sperlich, B., & Holmberg, H. C. (2013). Bringing light into the dark: effects of compression clothing on performance and recovery.International journal of sports physiology and performance, (1), 4–18.https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.8.1.4
Faulkner, J. A., Gleadon, D., McLaren, J., & Jakeman, J. R. (2013). Effect of lower-limb compression clothing on 400-m sprint performance. Journal of strength and conditioning research, (3), 669–676. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2f50
Haslett, M. L., & Aitken, M. J. (2002). Evaluating the effectiveness of a compression sleeve in managing secondary lymphoedema. Journal of wound care, (10), 401–404. https://doi.org/10.12968/jowc.2002.11.10.26444