Friday, July 06, 2012

What science has to say about Michael Phelps' compression jammies (pajamas)

I claimed that wearing compression pajamas was a patently absurd idea in regards to muscle recovery post workout. When I woke up this morning I began to think that maybe I should research it some more. So, will wearing "techsuit jammies" to bed actually help you recover?

A study by Davies V, Thompson KG, Cooper SM. of the Sports Council for Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom. From the National Institute Library of Medicine is not so sure:
"... Data indicates that [Creatine Kinase] responses and [Perceived Muscle Soreness] might be attenuated by wearing compression tights in some participants after drop-jump training; however, no benefit in performance was observed. ..." 
In a another study for the School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, New Zealand 2iSPORT Biomechanics, Sydney, Australia, Skins Compression Garments, Sydney, Australia 3Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Oxford Brookes University by Faulkner JA, Gleadon D, McLaren J, Jakeman JR. they came up with the same result:
"... The present study has demonstrated that lower-limb compression garments may lower the effort perception associated with 400 m performance, despite no differences in overall athletic performance. ..." 
Next comes a German study of the studies to determine if compression garments assist in recovery. It was conducted for the Department of Sport Science, University of Wuppertal. by Sperlich B, Born DP, Haegele M, Zinner C, Holmberg HC.
"... In competitive sports different types of compression garments (socks, shorts, tights and whole body suits) have become popular. The results of scientific studies regarding their effectiveness, however, are heterogeneous. The aim of this literature review is to (i) survey the scientific data regarding performance enhancing benefits and the support of recovery when applying compression fabrics and (ii) to describe the practical relevance for the application of compression textiles in the competitive sport context. 
METHOD: In order to detect relevant publications for the present review an internet search using the medical databases "Medline" and "PubMed" was performed. Altogether, 37 studies were analysed. All publications were from the years 1987 to 2010.

RESULTS: The literature review showed no general scientific indications regarding the benefit of compression garments in competitive sports.

CONCLUSION:In particular, the different study designs and different clothing styles as well as different pressure gradients gave rise to contradictory data. ..."

I did find one study that was positive in regards to compression garments for 40-kilometer time trial cyclists but the study was conducted on just 14-athletes an has some reviews connected to it that were wary of the results.

You mileage may vary.

Here is a rebuttal from Micaela:

Hi Tony, 
I trust my first hand experience for now, psychological or otherwise. If wearing the compression shirt helps to the point that I can avoid the use of anti-inflammatory, analgesic and muscle relaxant drugs, I'll take it. It seems the medical community has embraced it entirely...but is that so far removed from similar benefits to recovery from training? 
 Here is another interesting link -[Link] 

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