You pose a great question, and I’m sure you’re not the only one wondering about compression devices for recovery. I personally have a NormaTec device (though it’s an older model now, from 2015 so it may be slightly different from the newest versions), but I have also used the Rapid Reboot and Elevated Legs brands as well. The compression and “massage” you get from these devices is not the same as a deep tissue massage, but it certainly feels good and I do think it’s enough to keep the blood moving, thus flushing out and bringing fresh blood and nutrients to the muscles, which
helps speed up the recovery process.
In addition, the convenience of being able to use it immediately after your training session in the comfort of your home may be the best argument for them. How often can you get a massage right after a hard workout? For most people that’s not very practical so this is a great alternative. The compression can help reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as help you switch from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state right away. This is important because your recovery cannot begin until your nervous system is in a parasymathetic state- this is your body’s “rest and digest” mode where recovery happens. If you finish training and rush off to work or whatever other stress you have to deal with, your body will stay in the catabolic (sympathetic) state and continue to break down. By sitting down (with a recovery drink in hand) and relaxing for 10-30 minutes, your body will recognize that the stress has passed and it’s time to rest and recover. Just remember that mental stress can also keep you or put you in a sympathetic state, so don’t go diving into your work email if you know it’s likely to stress you out. Instead, consider listening to some relaxing music or reading a book. You’ll probably find that you drift off in a little nap as a result- I usually do!