Great Italian Compression Socks – A Short Story

Several years ago Peter Smiley, co-founder of BrightLife Direct, and I took a tour of compression hosiery mills in Europe.  We heard about a small manufacturer in Northern Italy that was making a sock which had become a big hit in Europe.  We found the small family-owned factory in the snowy foothills of the Alps and were shown their famous knee high sock.  It was love at first wearing.  A compression sock with a casual and airy softness and a classically elegant look.

The sock has a terrifically soft hand, is ultra-stretchy, lightly ribbed and has a one inch top hem that stretches to almost twice its flat size.  It is woven with a blend of top-grade cotton, each strand wrapped with amazingly resilient European fibers to hold compression.  Even with the socks’ success in Europe, it had never been distributed in the United States.  We pounced.

BrightLife Direct began to sell the Allegro Italian Cotton Sock for women on our web site in 2007.  The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.  In response to your requests, we added larger sizes for men and more colors. We now have five “unisex” sizes and five color options.  This original sock was offered in a moderate 15-20mmHg graduated compression and we named it “The Swing.”

Soon we began receiving requests for the same sock in a higher compression.  Back to Italy we go (feeling sorry for us is not obligatory) with marching orders for a 20-25mmHg firm version which BrightLife Direct would name “The Samba.”  We introduced “The Samba” in 2009 in the same five unisex sizes and colors that we offered with “The Swing.”  To date, this is the best-selling compression product in our catalog.

In January, 2011 BrightLife Direct introduced “The Paso Doble” to our Italian cotton series. “The Paso Doble” is a very firm 25-30mmHg for our customers whose condition or swelling requires even more graduated compression.

Kip Bright

A Brief History of Compression Stockings

Interested in a little hidden lore about compression hosiery?  Over 90% of the support stockings we sell are made in the United States.  However, the invention and use of compression therapy began in Europe. The best-known compression hosiery manufacturers such as Jobst, Juzo and Mediven, originated in Europe before World War II.  In the 1950’s as Americans started to understand the benefits of wearing compression stockings, European manufacturers opened US  operations.  You may remember brand names such as “Supphoseâ€?.

Did you know that compression and support hosiery is much more popular in Europe than here in the US?  Most European governments pay for up to six pair a year for each of their citizens who need the benefits of compression therapy.  They know it enhances the health of their citizens and helps prevent more serious, and costly, health problems.  Because Americans are learning about the health benefits of wearing even light compression leg wear, their popularity here is growing very quickly.

Thanks to online specialists like BrightLife Direct, you can now save 30% to 50%, or more, on the best compression hosiery in the greatest range of colors, styles and compressions available in the US today.  And shipping is quick. Most orders ship the same day.  When you add the rising cost of driving to stores, with the discounts offered online, there is no reason to shop any other way!

Pete@BrightLife Direct

Compression Stockings May Relieve Sleep Apnea

A group of researchers at the University of Brescia in Italy has found that wearing compression socks during the day reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea at night.  Their report was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by abnormal breathing during sleep.  An apnea is a pause in breathing, and these can occur 5 to 30 times or more per hour.  Most individuals are unaware it is happening, even upon waking.  Symptoms are fatigue, impaired cognitive skills and reaction times, and behavioral changes.  The same symptoms one experiences after a bad nights sleep.

Over 85% of sleep apnea is caused by a physical blockage of the air passages.  In the Brescia study, lead by Dr. Stefania Redolfi, researchers measured the accumulation of interstitial fluid in the neck.  Swollen tissue can press on the pharynx and interrupt breathing.

In one of the tests, a group of patients wore compression stockings during the day for one week, to see if this would have any affect on fluid accumulation in the neck at night.  The test resulted in a 60% reduction in neck circumference increase, and a 36% reduction in the occurrences of apneas per hour of sleep.  Dr. Redolfi speculated that wearing compression stockings over longer periods of time may show even better results.

Pete@BrightLife Direct