According to recent NASA research, compression garments can help astronauts once they return to earth to prevent orthostatic intolerance (OI). Once gravity hits, many astronauts experience a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, the feeling of lightheadedness, or even like they might faint. Whether you are in space for two weeks or six months, once you return to earth your body experiences many changes, such as a lack of strength, blood volume, differences in coordination and balance, and even a struggle to walk or stand.
To help astronauts transition better back to life on earth, NASA is teaming up with BSN Medical, an international company that supplies therapeutic medical compression garments. BSN engineers are designing custom three-piece elastic gradient compression garments to protect astronauts against orthostatic intolerance (OI) symptoms, which occur when the body reacts to an upright or standing position.
It’s not just astronauts who can benefit from wearing compression garments to prevent orthostatic intolerance. Other chronic orthostatic intolerance conditions such as Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH) fall under the OI category. NMH occurs when your blood pressure is normal while sitting or laying down, but is much lower after standing or being in an upright position. POTS refers to an increased heart rate while standing, but remains normal while in a resting position. Wearing compression socks can help fight symptoms of dysautonomia and prevent the feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness after standing up.
While we have compression stockings that help manage these symptoms, this new, innovative garment designed for NASA is still in the research phase and shows a lot of promise. Check back for the latest on the development of this cool new compression garment.
Last month, Sigvaris announced that they have signed a purchase agreement with Biacare, a small manufacturer of lymphedema, wound care and bandaging products. Sigvaris is one of the largest compression stocking manufacturers in the world. Still a family owned and managed company, Sigvaris corporate headquarters are in Switzerland, but they have manufacturing facilities around the world. Their US mill in Peachtree City, GA is in the midst of a major expansion project that will double the size of the facility.
Biacare, also a family owned company, specializes in short stretch velcro wraps, bandaging, and specialty compression garments that are mainly used to treat lymphedema, lymphoedema and serious venous diseases. Biacare’s CompreFit and CompreFlex lines of compression wraps have excellent customer reviews, and their bandaging is very competitively priced.
The merger of Sigvaris and Biacare completes the consolidation of the small family run businesses that specialize in the manufacture of specialty lymphedema garments in the US. Mediven purchased Circaid in 2014. Lohmann & Rauscher purchased Solaris in 2015, and BSN-Jobst purchased Farrow Medical and JoviPak in the past year.
BrightLife Direct has sold products from all of these small specialty manufacturers for many years. As a whole, we see the mergers between these large stocking mills and small specialty businesses as being a positive one for our customers. Before the corporate acquisitions, products made by Circaid, Farrow, JoviPak and Solaris could not be returned once they were opened. Corporate backing has changed this. Like we do on compression stockings, BrightLife Direct can now offer our 30-day guarantee on ready-to-wear wraps that can often cost hundreds of dollars for just one limb.
These mergers have also fostered some great innovation. Medi and Circaid have led the way with the development of Reduction Kits used during the initial decongestive phase of lymphedema treatment. In the decongestive phase, the affected limb is wrapped every day with multiple layers of bandaging, padding, and gauze. This treatment can go on for months, and the whole wrapping and unwrapping process can take hours each day. Reduction Kits are customizable short stretch velcro wraps that eliminate all the wrapping. These garments can change the life of someone dealing severe lymphedema.
If you suffer from venous disease, lymphoedema, or lymphedema and would like to learn more about short stretch wraps, we have just put together a PDF brochure that explains the many options available. We’re happy to send you a copy by email, that you can print out and take to discuss with your doctor or therapist. Just fill out the form below.
We frequently suggest wool socks to our customers (because we love them!), but our recommendations are often rebuffed. Too hot! Too Scratchy! We get it – wool socks have a terrible reputation, but we’d like to change that.
So, what are our favorite wool socks?
Allegro Wool Compression Socks 15-20 mmHg For Men and Women
Sockwell Wool and Bamboo Blend Compression Socks 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg Men’s and Women’s Styles
Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Compression Socks 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg For Men and Women
Sigvaris Merino Wool Compression Socks 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg Men’s and Women’s Styles
There are many reasons to wear compression garments for humans and animals alike. Did you know that horses can wear medical compression bandages to stimulate the lymphatic flow in their legs? This helps to remove lymph fluid and toxins while managing swelling. Yes, after a long day of standing or running around, even horses get tired and swell up like the rest of us!
Interestingly enough, horses have about 8,000 lymph nodes, which is the most out of any mammal. This makes them much more prone to developing moderate to severe swelling, or lymphedema. In comparison, there are about 500-700 lymph nodes in humans, which are much larger than the lymph nodes in a horse.
Luckily there’s a solution. Juzo manufactures medical compression bandages that are specifically designed for horses to support and stimulate lymph flow. However, horses can benefit from wearing compression bandages for more than just swelling. Compression garments are recommended for anyone (humans and animals) standing for long periods of time to help increase circulation, to prevent and relieve swelling or fatigue. Since horses are almost always standing, compression can also be used as a preventative method to keep your horse in the best shape possible. Here’s how EquiCrown bandages can benefit your horse:
Juzo’s EquiCrown bandages provide precisely-defined pressure to relieve swelling in the horses’s legs. These flat-knit compression bandages are soft, durable and stretchy as to not interfere with performance. EquiCrown bandages are designed to promote circulation, treat wounds and scars, prevent and relieve swelling, and for managing injuries. These breathable bandages are even safe to machine wash and dry! EquiCrown compression bandages are available in ready-to-wear and custom sizes to fit mild to severe swelling. Here’s how it works:
Still have questions about how these innovative bandages work? Comment below!
This year, BrightLife Direct is giving back to the physical therapy community by providing a scholarship to help an aspiring physical therapist continue their education.
The 2016 BrightLife Physical Therapist Scholarship was open to all students studying to be an occupational therapist, physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. We received so many wonderful applications from students who are incredibly passionate about helping their community and returning their patients to a state of independence.
With so many amazing occupational and physical therapy students all working to improve the lives of others in their own way, it was challenging to choose a winner. The recipient of this year’s scholarship is one that is very deserving. This student’s hard work ethic, professional goals, and dedication to patients in need stood out to our Scholarship Committee. It is our pleasure to congratulate Lacy as this year’s Physical Therapy Scholarship winner!
Lacy is a hardworking student at Angelo State University, recognized as one of the top students within the program. She goes above and beyond the course requirements to impress the Angelo faculty with her ability and commitment in the classroom. Lacy is a natural leader and is involved in many community service activities and organizations, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. As a child, Lacy was passionate about science and helping others. She was inspired to pursue a career as a physical therapist after seeing the outstanding progress and happiness of patients and their families as they heal and are able to get back to their normal lives. Experiences like watching someone walk again for the first time after a stroke motivated her to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
“Experiences with my brother’s vehicle accident, a friend’s back surgery, my mother’s frozen shoulder, and volunteering at a local therapeutic riding facility all introduced me to the idea that this field could restore a broken, pained person to a functional and pain-free daily life. Such an idea is wholly beautiful.” – Lacy (excerpt from essay)
As the first member of her family to graduate from a university, we know that she will continue to break barriers and make her family and professors proud. We look forward to seeing her grow as she continues down this path of excellence, and we wish her the best in the future. To learn more about Lacy, click here to read the press release.
This blog was originally posted in July of 2014, but it’s a question we are asked often at this time of year, so we felt a refresh and re-post was in order.
It’s summertime, which means pools are open, and people are fleeing to the beach every weekend to escape the heat. For those of us that have to wear compression stockings from morning to night, this can be a difficult time of year.
I was excited to see one of my favorite lymphedema bloggers, Monique at LymphedemaRunner.com, addressing the issue in a blog post. Monique admits to being self conscious about wearing her stockings to the beach and pool at first, but found strength and inspiration in watching CrossFit Athlete Deborah Cordner Carsen proudly rocking her Elvarex stockings during a Triathlon.
Definitely check out the blog above to read more about Monique’s experience wearing compression to the beach and pool. Here are the basic FAQs on compression and water activities:
1. You CAN wear your compression stockings in the ocean, lake, pool or other water source. But, all of these environments will be hard on your stockings – causing them to deteriorate more quickly than regular daily use. We recommend setting aside a set of stockings or armsleeves specifically for water activities. These could be an older pair that you’re not worried about destroying, or a less expensive garment that won’t be a huge monetary loss (like Allegro).
2. If you will be submerged completely in water for most of your water excursion, you don’t need your stockings or sleeves. The pressure on your body underwater actually replicates what your compression garment does outside of water. If you go without your compression garment, do make sure your affected limb will be under water and put the garment back on quickly after leaving the water. If your affected limb is not submerged in the water, you should be wearing your compression garments.
3. As always – stay hydrated. Being in the sun at the beach or pool may leave you dehydrated. Pack plenty of water!
Some additional information on water activities and lymphedema can be found on LymphNotes.
Lastly – a few product recommendations. If you have just one affected leg, you might try the Juzo Varin 3511 Thigh w/Hip Attachment and Open Toe – available in 20-30 or 30-40 or 40-50 mmHg. Sigvaris offers a similar option in 20-30 mmHg and 30-40 mmHg in the 862 line.
CrossFit superstar Deborah Cordner Carsen recommends the Jobst Elvarex, which is a custom order product.
If you’ve watched all the videos on properly putting on your compression socks and you’re still having trouble, this blog is for you. Let’s face it – pulling on compression stockings is a challenge. Before you spend another 30 minutes fighting to get your socks on, try out some of these tips, tricks and tools to help you get your socks on fast and easy.
This video demonstrates three different ways to put your compression stockings on – the heel pocket method, wearing donning gloves, and using a stocking donner:
The heel pocket method is a great way to get on stockings made from a thick fabric or socks that provide a high level of compression (over 20 mmHg). Don sheer or less firm compression socks with donning gloves to protect delicate fabric from snags and runs. Donning gloves are great for anyone with limited hand mobility, arthritis, or have weak hands or fingers to get a better grip on the fabric. These gloves are the easiest, cheapest and most effective tool available to help you put your compression socks on.
The Jobst donning glove is unique because it is actually a cotton mitt with the palm and fingers dipped in a latex solution to grip onto support hose. It is a loose fitting glove which can be easier to put on for people with limited hand mobility. On the downside, there are no ridges or nubs on the latex which limits it’s ability to move stockings up the leg. We have heard from customers that this glove wears out too quickly.
If you are sensitive or allergic to rubber (latex), try the latex free Juzo donning gloves. These gloves work excellent for protecting the fabric, but do not have any nubs to help grip the garment. If you want something that will get a strong hold on the sock, try these:
The Medi glove has textured fingers and palms for additional gripping power to help you get the compression stocking over your foot and heel. Then you can use your palms to slide the hose up your legs rather than pulling. The Sigvaris glove is our highest-rated glove and features very pronounced ridges that makes it easy to don stockings and armsleeves. Here’s what our customer’s have to say about Sigvaris gloves:
“These are the best donning gloves that I and/or my patients have found for compression stockings of all materials and compression amount. I have been working with patients who have Lymphedema and are required to wear high amounts of compression. It’s a struggle to get them on even when you have the strength and mobility, so these gloves are a great aide for everyone. The price is very reasonable compared to other compression stockings manufacturers.”
If you have trouble bending over or crossing your legs, stocking donners do the work for you. Donners come in regular and wide-calf sizes, as well as some for putting on armsleeves and pantyhose. Long story short – there’s a donning device to make anyone’s life easier! Stocking donners require patience and practice, and are most useful for individuals who have trouble bending at the waist. Since there a lot of donners to choose from, we’ll cover our customer’s favorites.
The Jobst and Medi stocking donners make it easy for people who have a hard time bending at the waist. Simply stretch the stocking over the frame and step into the sock until your foot is on the floor. Slowly lift the handles to work the stocking up your leg. Both Jobst and Medi offer donners designed specifically for larger calves. Here’s how it works:
The Doff N’ Donner is an amazing tool! This can be used to get your stockings on and to take them off. This cool device works with open or closed toe knee highs and thigh highs. Watch this video for a better understanding:
Once you master using the Juzo Slippie Gator, you’ll be incredibly happy with it. This tool is especially useful for customers who have a lot of trouble bending over to touch their feet. Using a leg sleeve with handles and a rubber foot pad, you’ll be able to quickly and comfortably pull your stocking on in minutes. Like the Doff ‘n Donner, the Gator can be used to put stockings on and take them off.
A healthcare worker told us, “I bought the Juzo Slippy Gator to try with some of my clients. Most people I work on can’t bend over, much less pull compression socks up. The Gator is a great tool and has moved two of my clients to independently donning their socks.”
Watch this video to learn how to use the Juzo Slippie Gator:
The Easy-Slide for Open-Toe Stockings is only available for open toe socks and stockings, but it is simple to use and makes putting open-toe socks on a breeze. It’s getting rave reviews from customers and therapists alike.
“This device makes placing compression stockings on my patients a breeze. No more pinching, no more struggling to place the stockings on the patient. Saves me quite a bit of time in my busy day.”
The Juzo Slippie and the Easy-Slides for open and closed toe use slippery and durable “parachute” nylon fabric that you put on your leg and pull the stocking over. Using your new favorite donning gloves, work the stocking up the leg and pull the donning aid out from the top of the stocking or through the open toe. If you wear closed toe stockings, make sure you are using a donning aid designed specifically for closed toe style stockings.
Tips and Tricks:
Once the stocking is in the right position, use the palms of your hands to smooth out any wrinkles. Your stocking is applied correctly if the toe is in the toe box, the heel in the heel box and their are no wrinkles around the ankles or leg. Ideally, your knee-high should end about one inch below the crease in your knee. Never pull the stocking up the calf or thigh by just the top of the garment.
If you have swelling or edema, it is best to don your stockings early in the morning when you get out of bed. Our legs start to swell while we are standing and the compression stockings applied early will keep the swelling down throughout the day.
Before you put your compression socks on, apply baby powder, corn starch or Alps Fitting Lotion to help the stocking glide up your leg more easily. As an added bonus, this lotion protects sensitive skin and makes dry, chapped skin feel silky and smooth.
I’ve been wearing compression hose for 5-6 years now and they used to be a major nightmare to put them on! As soon as I tried the ALPS Fitting Lotion everything changed. Now putting on the hose is as easy as putting on a pair of socks–they just slide right on smooth as silk. ALPS has no odor and seems to protect my skin from some of the dryness and irritation that continuous wear of compression stockings have caused me in the past and a little goes a long long way. It’s an awesome product… a definite buy buy buy! Also BrightLife Direct is a great company with which to work. I can’t recommend them highly enough! You can’t go wrong.
Compression Assist Donning Aide is great if you have no problem bending over to reach your feet but still have a lot of trouble pulling the sock up. Spray your legs with the lubricant before putting on your socks or stockings, and see how easily you are able to pull the sock up! Compression Assist is hypoallergenic and it won’t harm the compression sock fabric. Plus, it reduces wrinkles and creases, all while keeping you comfortable. Here’s what our customers are saying:
“I was somewhat leery of ordering “Compression Assist”. I was starting to get accustomed to taking 15 plus minutes to don each sock. I was pleasantly surprised. It now takes just a few minutes and much of that time is smoothing the sock.”
Do you have another tool that helps? Let us know in the “Comments” section. And, check out all of our donning aides at BrightLife Direct.
As fewer nurses and other professionals are required to wear white, compression hosiery manufacturers have discontinued or have made plans to discontinue white in their hosiery lines. If you are looking for white or ivory sheer or semi-sheer support hosiery you may have noticed that it is harder to find. This posting is for you.
Here are links to products you may be looking for:
With Father’s Day right around the corner, we have the ultimate gift guide for last minute shoppers, plus a chance to win him a gift! Dad’s can be difficult to shop for, but we searched the internet to find some gifts that every dad will love and use! Plus, one lucky winner will bring home a BrightLife Direct gift card for their dad this Father’s Day – giveaway details & entry below.
Instead of going out for dinner, prepare a nice barbecue for your dad this Father’s Day. Pick up his favorite snacks, grill some burgers, and sit back and relax. If your dad is a sports enthusiast, throw around the football or play some backyard baseball. If you really want to surprise him, pick up some tickets to see his favorite sports team, or head over to see that movie he’s been talking about.
When it comes to getting presents, for my dad I always find my mind blanking. I want to get him something that I know he will love and use. Every dad always tells you it’s the thought that counts, but every now and then it’s nice to get him a gift that “wows” even him! For the fitness-friendly dad, pick him up some accessories for his next game or workout, like a golf bag or weightlifting gloves. You can even cheer him on from the sidelines in a customized beach chair.
For the dapper dad, think of Mad Men’s Donald Draper, and ask yourself what he would like for Father’s Day. If your dad has a beard, introduce him to beard oil or conditioner – it’s all the rage in the beard community these days. No beard? No problem. The Art of Shaving has you covered on travel accessories, aftershave and all the shaving essentials your dad could want. When it comes to grooming, you can’t really go wrong and your dad will appreciate one less stop on his list of errands!
Let’s face it. All dads can use a watch. Whether it’s to be on time to that board meeting or to pick the kids up at school, time is of the essence. If your dad frequently says “if you’re not five minutes early, you’re late,” a watch is a great present for him. Or on the other hand, if your dad tends to run a little late, a watch is a perfect Father’s Day gift to help him keep track of time. You can even get a watch with a built-in GPS and fitness tracker if your dad is focused on being healthy or active. Another practical gift he’s sure to love is a new wallet. Hopefully your dad isn’t rocking the George Costanza wallet from Seinfeld, but if he is, definitely do him a favor and help him get organized. He will be very thankful!
Another thing every dad will be thankful for? Compression socks! If your dad has a bold style, pick him out a pair of Sigvaris Microfiber Shades compression socks. Available in four striped colors and two new shades – heather navy and heather graphite, these socks provide 15-20 mmHg compression to prevent fatigue and swelling while energizing legs. Microfiber is moisture-wicking, so it will keep him cool and dry. These socks are great to wear while exercising, or afterwards to promote muscle recovery.
Give your dad the gift of comfort. The Allegro Milk Socks aren’t your average compression socks. These socks are ridiculously soft and come in a variety of solid colors to pair with suits or jeans. The Milk Socks provide 15-20 mmHg of compression for travel and everyday wear. If your dad sits at a desk all day or is standing for long periods of time, these socks will prevent his legs and feet from being sore and tired at the end of the day.
Lastly, don’t forget a personal touch. A handmade card or nice picture frame goes a long way. Handmade gifts are always worth more than any present. A nice dinner at home, swapping old stories and spending some time together will make a memorable Father’s Day. Plus, it will give him a chance to reminisce about the “good ol’ days.”
And finally, the part you’ve been waiting for – enter below to win a $50 gift card for Father’s Day! Share the giveaway on social media or leave a comment on this blog post to win. The winner will be announced on Friday so you can surprise your dad with a gift card on Sunday. Good luck!
Customers often tell us, “I’ve tried everything, but I can’t get my compression socks on. What else can I try?”
If you have sensitive skin, weak hands, or severe swelling, getting compression socks on and comfortably in place can be a struggle. Luckily, more and more companies are offering alternatives to traditional compression socks – compression wraps. These products wrap easily around the leg and attach with velcro straps.
CircAid, Farrow Medical, Solaris, BiaCare and Juzo all make ready-to-wear wraps that can be easily donned by most anyone.
Circaid Juxta Lite provides dynamic compression, is inelastic, and can be worn day and night. Compression increases when you are active and decreases when you’re at rest. A Built-In Pressure System (BPS) can be adjusted to provide 20-30, 30-40, or 40-50mmHg. CircAid JuxtaFit Essentials and Premium are are more durable and long-lasting option. Made with a thicker fabric, these wraps are easy to maintain and adjust. All of the CircAid products fit a calf up to 25″.
“I bought this because my 93 yr old mother had started having leg edema 6 months ago and could not tolerate putting on or leaving on regular compression stockings (even the lightest compression). These have been easy to put on her and so comfortable that she is willing to wear them even when asleep. Love that the compression is adjustable with the little card.” – Vancouver, WA
FarrowWrap for the calf and foot, is made out of strips of short-stretch fabric, with velcro closures. A liner stocking is typically donned first, then the strips are folded over in sequence starting at the ankle. A wrap for the foot, and hybrid liner with compression in the foot only are also available. FarrowWrap is available in two compression levels, Lite (20-30mmHg) and Classic (30-40mmHg). Fits up to 67cm calf (~26.3″).
“The leg wraps are easy to apply, comfortable to wear, very effective, and are easily removed.” – Mount Vernon, OH
ReadyWrap Quick-Fit by Solaris mimics traditional bandaging and is made using non-elastic Velcro straps. ReadyWrap is available for the foot, calf, knee and thigh. Pieces can be worn individually or together to provide compression from the toes to the groin. Fits a calf up to 68 cm (~26.7″). Extender tabs can add another 10 cm (4″) to the wrap, allowing it to fit up to 78 cm (30.7″)
“These ReadyWrap Calf Units are awesome. no more pulling up and at the same time pulling your muscles. As long as they are on correctly, they hold your leg together. A big plus in my world.” – Plymouth Meeting, PA
BiaCare has CompreFit and CompreFlex options which are incredibly easy to don. Just slip the wrap over your foot and adjust the velcro straps. CompreFlex Lite contains just the calf wrap, while the CompreFit and CompreFlex wraps include a foot/ankle wrap. These wraps can be purchased with extender straps to fit a calf up to 74 cm (30″). Upper leg wraps are also available in this line.
“I really am loving my new “stocking”. When my leg was being wrapped by the “OT” staff the wrapping lasted 1 day and then was too loose. This can be adjusted as needed…A super invention!” – Port Orchard, WA
Juzo has just launched their own wrap and it’s already getting rave reviews. While this wrap functions similarly to the options above, it is unique because it offers customers two color options in one wrap – it’s fully reversible. Currently the Juzo Compression Wraps are only available for the foot and calf, but the upper leg wraps will be added soon. Fits a calf up to 23.5″.