If you’re into keeping up with the latest trends and want to know what’s up next for the science of NormaTec, then here are a few studies you want to know about. The first of which studies found that NormaTec increased temperature on both the non-compressed limb and the compressed limb. At first glance this might seem rather unimportant however, this study leaves researchers with the indication that NormaTec could potentially have broader recovery effects than just on the area of which it’s used. In other words, NormaTec has the potential to significantly promote recovery throughout the entire body, even when only used in one area. The other promising study found that in rats, pneumatic compression was shown to increase blood vessel growth, an effect that could have major implications for improved performance relating to blood flow, training adaption, and more. This, of course, was only a pulmonary finding and was not conducted on humans. Overall, with confirmation from further studies, these two findings could potentially change the recovery landscape and make NormaTec an undeniable game-changer.
What is the future science of NormaTec?
Does NormaTec blunt training adaption?
The question of whether NormaTec blunts training adaption really boils down to the further question, when exactly should you use NormaTec and how long each session should be. Although these are commonly considered questions, they are not easily answered. Research has shown conflicting results on what’s ideal timing for use of compression. With the studies that have been done, most have been conducted under different parameters, utilizing differing timing for their research. However, one meta-analysis attempted to bring clarity to the issue found some basic results. In the review, researchers shared that compression was most effective in enhancing performance the day following use. This indicates that the use of a compression device post-workout in preparation for the following day’s workout or competition could provide benefits. This is not the only opinion, however. Many researchers point to the claims that inflammation is your body’s natural signal to adapt to training and that reducing that signal could prevent adaptation from workouts. It’s because of this, many scientists recommend that when you are training with the goal to get the very most out of every workout, compression is not a great option, especially right after a workout. While on the contrary, if your goal is to perform at your very best the next day, whether for a competition or workout or if you want to feel less sore for the following day, NormaTec should be of no worry.
A further and separate point to look at is belief. It’s well documented that when you believe in something, your belief has a profound effect on showing more positive results compared to when you don’t believe in it. You probably are most familiar with this effect by its common name, placebo, and you could draw the notion that if you feel compression helps your recovery, it might be the best thing for your recovery. In general, the research behind these topics is fairly limited however, it does appear compression, when used directly post-workout, can improve subsequent performance, but might reduce your training adaption.
From my perspective as a professional athlete, I find it best to bookend my day with the NormaTec boots. Monday through Friday, I am in the pool at 6:00 a.m. and I typically feel the worst as soon as I wake up. I find that I swim much better when I get up 20 minutes earlier grab my morning coffee and sit in the NormaTec boots to help my body wake up. This could be considered part of my warm-up or topping off the recovery from the previous day’s work. I also find that sitting in the boots right before bedtime allows me to fall asleep faster and have less interrupted sleep. I typically do not wear the boots immediately after a training session unless I am in taper mode. Race week, I practically live in the boots!