Compression socks and compression sleeves are used to improve the health of your body – whether you’re wearing compression socks to prevent swelling on long flights, or you need to wear compression arm sleeves to manage lymphedema symptoms. These are all of our posts related to health and compression.
We are often asked if sheer stockings provides the same compression as thicker, surgical weight stockings. And when one thinks about it, how does a fine sheer fabric give the same amount of support as a much thicker, opaque fabric? This question can be answered by explaining the difference between compression and containment.
Compression is the force pushing in on an object. For compression stockings, that object is your leg. If you wrap a fine thread and a thick rope around your leg, and pull on the ends with the same amount of force, you will be applying the same amount of compression to the area under the thread and the rope. But what happens if your leg swells, and starts pushing back against the thread and the rope? This is when containment comes into play. The thick rope will do a much better job of containing the swelling, than the thin thread.
Now let’s examine the two main reasons people wear compression stockings. The first is venous insufficiency. This is when the valves in your veins that keep the blood from flowing south, don’t work properly. Blood pools in the veins and you develop varicose veins. Compressing the leg helps the valves work more efficiently. There isn’t a lot of force pushing back or swelling, so the amount of containment the fabric provides isn’t that important.
The second most common reason for wearing compression stockings is to treat edema or swelling. Excess bodily fluids that would normally be removed by the venous or lymphatic system accumulate in the tissue, causing it to swell. Edema can be caused by many conditions and medications. Here both compression and containment are very important in controlling and reducing the swelling, so a heavier or thicker fabric is probably the best choice.
The amount of compression and/or containment you need will depend on the condition being treated and the severity. Talk to your doctor.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body. Most people who are diagnosed with MS are between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. Additionally, women are 2-3 times more likely than men to be diagnosed with MS.
Multiple sclerosis can affect your brain, spinal cord, muscle control, vision and your balance. Symptoms and their severity are different for everyone. MS occurs when your immune system attacks and damages myelin, a fatty material which protects your nerve fibers. This limits the brain’s ability to successfully send signals throughout your body. To diagnose MS, blood tests, physical exams or other tests can be performed.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but symptoms can be managed through a variety of treatment options, depending on the severity of the symptoms. It is important to rest and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. When you feel up to it, exercise is important to help build strength and keep your body healthy. Be aware of what your body is feeling. Limit stress and be cautious of your body temperature rising, this can cause symptoms to get worse.
Compression socks can be used to help manage swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs. Compression stockings are designed to increase circulation, which helps to prevent fatigue, swelling, and pain. They also help to prevent and manage blood clots (DVT) and varicose veins. Ask your doctor what compression level will benefit you best.
Generally, 15-20 mmHg compression is ideal for mild swelling and fatigue. This level of compression is also recommended for travel, everyday wear and to help speed up muscle recovery after a long run or tough workout. 20-30 mmHg compression is often used to manage moderate swelling and fatigue. This moderate can also help manage dysautonomia symptoms.
What does dirt have to do with compression…nothing specifically, but it turns out that like compression socks, it can be beneficial to everyone’s overall health.
I grew up in a small town, in central Wisconsin. As soon as I got home from school, I changed into my play clothes and headed outside until dinner. I’ve always been very fastidious about cleanliness, but that didn’t stop me from exploring the pond behind our house , the creek across the street, and all the dirt in between. I played with frogs, bugs, and worms, ate vegetables right from the garden, and my dog loved to lick my face. Now that I’m closing in on 60, I give a lot of credit for my good health to all of the germs I met as a kid. Now science is confirming the importance of the microbes and bacteria we are exposed to at a very early age.
In their new book “Dirt is Good”, scientists Jack Gilbert, PHD and Rob Knight, PHD, along with Sandra Blakeslee explain the importance of germs in the development of our immune system at a very early age. And, how growing up in an over sterilized environment can actually be detrimental to our health in the long term and cause a lot of the new allergies we’ve seen in the last few years. It’s not just playing in the mud, though. The authors encourage a lot of behaviors that might make parents squirm, like letting a dog lick their child’s face, or eating something that’s been on the floor.
So, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where nature is easily accessible, don’t be afraid to let your kids go outside and get a little dirty. It’s great fun for them in the moment, and offers the possibility of significant health benefits years later.
And to those of a younger generation, when your parents or grandparents complain of aching legs, or you notice spider or varicose veins on their ankles, encourage them to try a pair of compression stockings. A mild or moderate compression is typically all that’s needed to treat these symptoms. Both are easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and like a little dirt, can provide health benefits that last into old age.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleeping problems, and tenderness. Other symptoms may include cramping, tingling or numbness in the feet or hands, headaches, anxiety, poor concentration, or depression. Although doctors have not been able to determine what causes fibromyalgia, your family history, trauma, or an infection may increase your risk. You are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia if you are a woman, or if you have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Wearing compression socks can help manage fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and inflammation. Compression stockings help to improve circulation and provide relief for swelling and fatigue. You can even find stylish compression socks for men and women, that don’t even look like traditional compression stockings. If you are unsure about what compression level you need, ask your doctor, then give us a call at 1-877-545-8585 to find a great fit for you.
With fibromyalgia, there always seems to be a new symptom that arises that you finally realize has some connection to the disease. Swollen ankles and leg pain are one of those symptoms. Support hosiery seemed to be a logical try for a solution. They worked wonders at making my legs less painful, and lessening the swelling. This is just one of the suggestions being offered to sufferers of this strange disease.
National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is May 12! If you or a loved one has fibromyalgia, please take some time to share an informative article or educate someone else about fibromyalgia. If you want to help make a difference, here are some ideas of how you can get involved for National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.
How do you manage fibromyalgia? Comment to share your tips below!
Lymphedema is a chronic lymphatic disease that affects 10 million Americans and hundreds of millions worldwide. Symptoms include swelling in one or more parts of the body. Although many people are affected by lymphedema, many patients go undiagnosed or untreated due to a lack of knowledge and resources. To change this, many organizations, companies, doctors and patients are coming together to promote awareness and find a cure for lymphedema.
The Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 to promote research in the fields of lymphatic diseases, lymphedema, and related disorders. Through their industry outreach program, LE&RN has established partnerships with the biotech and pharmaceutical industries working to find improved treatments and cures.
The Lymphatic Education & Research Network offers support and provides resources to lymphedema patients, including a tool to find a local lymphedema therapist. LE&RN has established a patient registry and tissue bank to serve as a repository of information for current and future researchers. Several fellowship grants are awarded each year to doctors, scientists, and organizations working in the field of lymphatic research. The immediate goal is to expand our understanding of the lymphatic system.
Actress Kathy Bates partnered up with the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) to build awareness about lymphedema. Some people are born with it, others, like Kathy Bates develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Lymphedema is commonly caused after the lymph nodes are damaged or removed from breast cancer treatment, or it may develop after injury or surgery.
Medi For Help
Mediven, a compression hosiery company, is making a difference in Haiti. Medi For Help was founded in 2010 after an earthquake struck the country leaving more than 300,000 men, women and children injured. This relief project provides amputees with lower limb prostheses and offers orthopedic, wound care and lymphedema treatment. Medi For Help has provided treatment to 4,500 Haitians and counting. The project provides support once the patient starts walking again. Medi For Help also now treats patients with diabetes or those recovering from a car accident.
Compression Garments To Manage Lymphedema
Although there’s no cure for lymphedema (yet!) the condition can be managed with the help of a lymphedema therapist, compression garments, Manual Lymph Drainage, and other techniques. Many compression companies are paving the way in wound care and lymphedema treatment to provide innovative, comfortable and effective high compression garments.
Strong & Durable Wraps
Compression wraps are a great alternative to high compression garments and are much easier to put on. Many brands like CircAid, BiaCare and Solaris offer durable and effective options to manage lymphedema. Browse our Wrap Catalog for a variety of ankle, thigh high and full leg wraps.
Everyday Compression For Lymphedema
Many brands offer compression knee highs, thigh highs, pantyhose and armsleeves in high compression levels to manage lymphedema. Choose from a variety of sizes, styles, fabrics and compression levels to find the perfect fit for you. Each brand offers different sizing, so make sure to check the size charts for an accurate fit. Save yourself some work and use our Size Machine to automatically calculate your size in all the biggest brands!
Stylish and Supportive Options
Say goodbye to boring old beige armsleeves and stockings. Introducing LympheDivas fashionable compression armsleeves, gloves and gauntlets in a variety of sizes, lengths and compression levels for the perfect look and feel. Looking for more patterned armsleeves? Try the Juzo Signature sleeves, available in three compression levels. Add some style to any outfit in the Juzo Dream Collection, available in a variety of knee highs, thigh highs, leggings, pantyhose and armsleeves in solid and tie-dye seasonal colors.
Lymphedema Awareness Month Giveaway!
In honor of the second annual World Lymphedema Day on Monday, March 6, 2017, BrightLife will be offering a $100 gift card for lymphedema compression garments. Through the month of March, enter to win below!
To enter, log in with your email address or Facebook information below. Then, choose how you would like to enter: You can answer a question, leave a comment about the blog post, follow us on Twitter, or tweet a message. Click here for more help. Good luck!! The contest ends Friday, March 31st at midnight.
Early last week, I saw a segment on the Today Show about a 90-second shower routine that will increase circulation and alertness in the morning. Since BrightLife Direct is all about healthy circulation, I thought it warranted an investigation.
The idea is simple. Follow your normal cleansing routine in the shower, but instead of jumping out after your final rinse, stay in for an extra 90 seconds and adjust your faucet to the following:
30 Seconds: COLD 30 Seconds: HOT 30 Seconds: COLD
Then get out of the shower!
Sound terrible? I have to admit the first time it was! A few of us in the office experimented with this showering technique and reported back about a screaming 30-second countdown, dancing in circles and screaming, or simply standing and screaming. The cold water is a real shock, but each of us reported feeling some immediate effects. Hearts were pounding, blood was flowing and we all reported feeling wide awake!
Personally, having lived in Russia, I know that hot-cold therapy is an ingrained part of many cultures including Nordic countries. Russians consider going to the bath house (or banya) an important part of their weekly routine. There they sit in a incredibly hot sauna, jump into a cold pool of water or snow, and then head back to the sauna.
So, why do they do it? A myriad of health benefits! Entrepreneur.com did a full analysis and found that cold showers can help reduce stress, burn fat and improve both the vascular and immune systems!
Not enough to convince you to get under the icy water?
A journalist at the New York Times also experimented with cold morning showers and found that it increased his productivity during the day. He says that turning the shower to COLD every morning is a real struggle for him, but that “…the point is that starting your morning by tackling challenges head-on will help encourage similar behavior throughout the day.” And there’s plenty of research to back that up as well! When people tackle difficult situations first thing in the morning, they’re less likely to procrastinate throughout the day.
Your last piece of trivia on cold showers? Kathryn Hepburn was a huge proponent of them!
After a week of showers, our company’s founder is a full convert! He says that the experiment is “life-changing.” While I’m not a morning shower person, I plan to keep it up on the weekends. How can I skip out on all of the potential health benefits? If you’re a bit nervous to go full throttle on the cold water, ease yourself into it by going a bit colder (in the same short spurts) every day. You can work your way up to ice cold after a few days.
Try it out and let us know what you think!
Disclaimer: Many of the articles I read warned that people with heart conditions should check with their physician before experimenting with cold water therapy! So, please check with your doctor if you have any concerns.
The main problem is using the word “feel,” said Dr. Clara Lee, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Ohio State University. Many women who undergo reconstructive surgery often face broken promises from doctors. They don’t want to give patients false hope or the wrong information, but misconceptions still occur. Dane’e McCree decided to have her breasts removed after learning she had an increased risk of breast cancer, but she didn’t feel like the doctors warned her about the full picture. Although the appearance looks natural, Ms. McCree reports that they’re completely numb, unable to feel anything. “I can’t even feel it when my kids hug me,” she said.
While the breasts may feel “natural” on the outside post-surgery, the patient is unable to feel anything, not even air blowing on the skin. This can be very dangerous! According to the New York Times, “several women interviewed recounted times when they had not realized a bra was cutting into their skin until they saw blood.” Reconstructive surgery focuses on the appearance of the female body, not how the woman feels.
As of now, roughly 25 to 60 percent of mastectomy patients experience nerve damage. The best chance for sensory restoration is to use the woman’s own body tissue instead of an implant to increase the chance the nerves regenerating, but even this results in limited feeling. Luckily, this may be about to change.
A Houston a plastic surgeon, Dr. Aldona J. Spiegel, is working to reconnect the nerves to improve sensation, but Spiegel is careful to explain that it won’t feel like it did before. There are many factors to consider, including the risk of causing chronic pain in an attempt to restore sensation. If you or someone you know is considering breast reconstruction surgery, make sure they know all the facts to make the best decision for their health.
A strong Dollar, compared to the British Pound and Euro, means now is a great time for Americans to travel to Europe. And every trip to Europe needs a pair or two of compression stockings. Frequent flyer miles are great, but you don’t want to arrive for your dream vacation with sore, swollen legs and feet. The reason your legs and feet get so achy when traveling is that your muscles are not being flexed or used enough, and blood pools in your leg veins. This lack of fresh oxygenated blood can cause soreness and cramping in your legs, and swelling in your ankles and feet. If you’re at higher risk for blood clots, are overweight, or you have notoriously poor circulation, this could lead to more serious problems like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
There are a number of ways to increase circulation when you’re on a long flight. First, and most important is to get up and move! Stand up, shake your legs, and walk the aisles when possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option if the seat-belt light is on. The easiest way to increase circulation is by wearing compression socks or stockings, often called “travel socks.” Travel socks provide graduated compression from your ankles to your knee. This increases circulation naturally, coaxing the blood to flow back to your heart, instead of getting trapped in your legs and feet. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for compression socks to take on your trip:
Medical-grade compression socks will have a compression rating of 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg, but for traveling, it’s fine to wear socks that have a compression rating of 15-20 mmHg. (This is assuming you don’t suffer from other venous disease.) These ratings simply tell how tightly the compression socks will squeeze your leg (i.e. 15-20 mmHg is a lighter compression than 30-40 mmHg, which will feel much tighter on your legs and be more difficult to put on).
Find socks that have graduated compression. This means that the compression will be tighter at the ankle, and will gradually become looser as the sock extends up your leg. This will help return blood to your heart.
Pay attention to the material the socks are knit from. Travelers often prefer natural fibers like cotton, because they’re plush, absorb moisture, and are very comfortable. Polyester, merino wool, and fabrics embedded with copper and silver are great for absorbing excess moisture on the skin, keeping your feet cool, and decreasing foot odor. No one wants stinky feet on a plane!
Socks don’t have to be labeled as “Travel Socks” to be used on a long trip. You only need to find socks with a stated compression of 15-20 mmHg, and at least knee high. If you prefer thigh-highs or tights, they work just as well in the same compression level.
If you’re looking for the best quality compression socks at a great price, be sure to check out our full selection of Travel Socks. If you think of compression socks as thick, flesh-colored tights your grandmother wears, you will be pleasantly surprised with these. No one will know you’re wearing compression!
Allegro Premium – Italian Cotton Socks are a favorite among flight attendants – so you know they’re good! They are priced at $19.09 per pair, and during the month of January, like all our Allegro stockings, they are part of our Buy-3-Get-1-Free Sale. You can mix and match any Allegro items, so everyone in your travel group can get a pair or two. Compression socks are great for everyday wear while traveling too. They provide all day leg comfort while hiking, on city tours, and country walks.
If you’re someone who likes to roam the plane in only socks during flight – try Top & Derby’s Random Stripe, with 15-20 mmHg compression. These socks have a fun striped design you’ll want to show off and cost $24.09 a pair.
Finally, the Sockwell brand offers a wide variety of natural fiber blend socks that are a customer favorite. We stock the full line, and there are colors and patterns available for every taste. Plus, they’re Sarah Michelle Geller’s travel socks of choice. If Buffy the Vampire Slayer wears them – you can too!
Don’t travel without compression…. And Bon Voyage!
At the age of 76, Cindy Peterson has run 49 marathons, is a founding member of the Mercury Masters running team, and is also a member of the Seven Continents Club, a privilege she earned from running in at least one marathon on each continent. Cindy ran her first marathon at the age of 55 back in 1994 and has no plans to stop running anytime soon. She is currently looking forward to running her 50th marathon in a few weeks.
We found out about this amazing woman when she called our customer service staff to reorder one of her favorite running accessories – Allegro compression hosiery! She mentioned her upcoming milestone and we just had to know more. We had the opportunity to get to know Cindy in a recent interview, and pick her brain about marathon advice, strategy, training. Here are Cindy’s best tips and what fuels her motivation and dedication to marathon training.
Q: What motivated you to start running?
It all started about 35 years ago when Cindy made a bucket list of 30 things she wanted to achieve in her life. She looked at it for 2 weeks, then put it away, and forgot about it for a little over 10 years…only to find that 28 things were achieved without even trying! The 29th thing was “own a Jaguar”, and the 30th goal was “RUN A MARATHON”.
“I watched the NYC Marathon in 1993, when the Founder, Fred Lebow, ran with a brain tumor. I was so motivated that if he could run with a brain tumor and complete the Marathon, I could also run it, even though I had varicose veins, couldn’t walk a block, and was 20 pounds overweight. I was motivated!!”
Cindy crossed off the last item on her bucket list in 1994, (a year after rediscovering the list), when she completed her first marathon in NYC. Now, flash-forward to 2016, as she prepares to run her 50th marathon back in NYC in a few weeks.
“Reaching my goals with the training every day, makes me feel great, makes my mind sharp, and feel a lot younger than my 76 years of age.”
Q: Tell us about your experience with the “Mercury Masters.” How does getting involved with a group change the running experience for you?
Cindy is one of the Founders of the “Mercury Masters,” a running team for women 50 and over. It all started with a handful of runners who met in NYC once a week and trained together in Central Park.
“We really bonded together when we ran the Mini Marathon, which is a 10K women’s only race in NYC. Then we set out to run the 1996 100th Boston Marathon, where 5 of us came through the finish line together holding hands. Since then, we have 74 members in the group.”
The Mercury Masters team encourages each other by running together, attending running classes together and supporting each other. The President keeps the group motivated and informed about upcoming team races, as well as any other member news. This group of ladies have played a big role in encouraging Cindy to run.
“Running with The “MERMS” as we are referred to by other teammates, has been a wonderful experience through the years, without which I would not have completed so many marathons. We motivate each other.”
Q: How do compression stockings benefit you during training? Why do you love Allegro Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose for running?
Many runners wear compression socks to enhance performance, speed up muscle recovery afterwards and prevent injury like shin splints. Cindy loves wearing our Allegro Sheer Compression Pantyhose for training and marathons. In her early running career, she started wearing compression hosiery to manage varicose veins and relieve the pain caused by them. Compression socks have played a vital role in allowing Cindy to train.
“The support pantyhose were a big relief. I will not go out for a run without wearing support pantyhose. They give me stability, comfort and confidence, and are a part of my uniform. I would not train without them because I would not be able to run very far with the pain from the varicose veins. They were a miracle for me. I had absolutely no pain after a 6, 10, or even a 15 mile run.”
Cindy wears the Allegro Essential Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose (#32) in 20-30 mmHg compression for long training runs and marathons. This level of compression is ideal for boosting athletic performance and for managing varicose veins. Cindy also likes to wear the Allegro Essential Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose (#14) in 15-20 mmHg, which is great for speeding up recovery and relieving muscle fatigue and minor swelling.
“The Allegro open toe pantyhose gave me great support on my calves, quads and my toes were free. They had more stability than my previous hose, and I was able to start running again. It was an amazing find!!”
You may have seen runners wearing bright colored athletic knee high socks. Other runners and gym-goers opt for compression leggings or pantyhose for full leg coverage. Cindy loves wearing sheer pantyhose with an open toe. Since there is no difference in the compression provided between an open or closed toe style or between a sheer or opaque fabric, it’s mostly up to personal preference.
“I love the sheer style because it gives my legs a great look. It does not look like I am wearing pantyhose at all. The reason for the open toe is so my toes are not constricted at all. Two years ago I had major surgery on my toes, which made my feet wider. My support pantyhose would constrict my toes and cause me great pain and discomfort.”
Q: What’s an overall week of training look like for you?
When Cindy isn’t training, she is running about 6 miles a day, 6 days a week, adding up to a total of 30 miles each week. While prepping for a marathon, Cindy averages 50 miles weekly. If you want to run a good marathon, Cindy advises completing at least three 20 mile runs. To prepare for a marathon, it’s a complete lifestyle change. Diet is also important, just like exercising and staying hydrated.
“When setting out for a run, I eat a banana, and that’s great for a 6 to 8 mile run. When running a long run, I bring “Gu” which is an Energy Gel. I also have a product called “The Right Stuff”, which is an electrolyte drink additive for hydration to make you perform stronger and recover faster. It is developed by NASA for astronauts.”
Q: After completing 49 Marathons, what advice do you have for beginner runners?
Cindy’s advice to a runner preparing for their first race is to partner with a friend or join a group like the Mercury Masters for motivation. This will help you stay dedicated, the time will go by faster and you have someone to push you. When you’re running with a friend, they won’t let you make excuses for missing a run! It also makes it more fun to train for the same race and help each other grow.
“The time spent running will go quicker and you will begin to feel the energy you get from the daily run. Eventually, you can plan for your first 5K, and move on to a 10K. Training is the key, and maybe you can even plan to do your first marathon. All you need is DETERMINATION! I ran my First Marathon at age 55. You can do it too no matter how old you are!!” – Cindy Peterson
Want to know more? Check out this interview Cindy did with New Jersey TV:
Here at BrightLife, you’re not just another customer. If you need compression, we’re here to help! For Get To Know Your Customers Day, we would love to hear from you. Don’t be shy, share your story with us! Over the years, we’ve heard from people who use compression for travel and lifestyle, as well as lymphedema, dysautonomia, diabetes and more.
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Whether you wear compression garments for traveling, fatigue or to manage a condition, we have what you need to live a comfortable, healthy life. Allegro compression hosiery is our exclusive line of affordable, high quality compression socks and garments. We offer the same kind of products as the bigger brands, but at a much lower cost to you. Allegro is a longtime customer favorite and is one of our best selling brands. To learn more about Allegro, check out the full online Allegro Catalog.
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Our excellent customer service team is here to assist you with any questions you may have. With years of experience and specialized training, our helpful team can help you find the best garment for your needs. BrightLife Direct works hard to offer you the lowest prices on the best products available. Plus, we’re also the only place to get free shipping in the US with no minimum purchase when you order online!
Check out what our customers have to say about us:
Laura Baker helps to raise awareness for fat disorders, and recently connected with our company. We’re here to support our customers however we can. If you’re passionate about a cause or are advocating awareness, reach out to us!
We take pride in our caring customer service team and offering the latest and great compression products available. If you have questions about the perfect product for you or don’t see what you’re looking for, just give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.
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