March 22, 2021 2 min read
For decades, the conventional wisdom surrounding recovery from muscle injury or fatigue suggested a singular solution: using ice and elevation to bring down swelling. However, since this was first adopted in the mid-20th century, new research actually refutes the power of icing in regards to muscle recovery. This research centers on the idea that inflammation is the body's natural response to trauma. The body brings white blood cells to clean up damaged tissue so that it may begin repairing the area. By icing, you are artificially removing the swelling before it has a chance to heal, actually increasing recovery time, rather than reducing it.
But isn't swelling bad? How do you speed up recovery without ice? The research shows that while swelling and inflammation must be cleared, the natural way to do that is through movement of the injured area, which helps circulate the white blood cells. (Remember when you were little and your coach or parents would just say, "Walk it off?" ...They were right!) Another way to speed up recovery is through heat, the opposite approach of icing. Heating the muscle can help dilate blood vessels, allowing for freer flow of the immune cells that speed up recovery. And yet another solution is compression products, which can facilitate better blood flow and keep swelling to manageable levels.
Zensah's newest recovery product, the Heat Recovery Sock, combines gentle heating and compression to keep you moving. They are made with a special yarn that emits Far Infrared Rays (FIR) when they come into contract with a heat source such as the human body. FIR is the same mechanism by which you feel heat when you hold your hand near a hot iron.
The fabric absorbs the heat generated by the body and then reflects FIR's back onto the calf and lower leg, providing deep, gentle heating of the muscle. This in turn increases blood oxygenation, which reduces muscle fatigue by limiting the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. By wearing during and after strenuous exercise, you can cut down on sore muscles and get moving again sooner than with conventional fabrics. In addition to the soft and breathable material, the FIR properties of the fabric means that these new socks are a must have for any athlete, both serious and casual.
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