Oct 26, 2022Fred Robinson

The Rise of Compression Apparel

In today's sports, the use of compression is ubiquitous on almost every playing surface. Why have compression's benefits become so popular in the first place?

For many athletes, compression sleeves are a routine part of their training and recovery regimen. In this blog post, we'll explore the history of compression gear and learn why they are now an essential piece of equipment for athletes.



When it comes to what we know about compression therapy, one might surmise that it's a 21st-century technology. Wrong. This form of treatment has existed since 450-350 BC! The use of compression bandages as a medical treatment is a time-honored technique.

Ancient Greeks used compression to offset the effects of gravity. Writings in the Corpus Hippocraticum discuss compression therapy as it was used to uphold posture to benefit wound healing of the lower limbs. Roman soldiers who marched for days at a time learned quickly that applying tight strappings to the legs reduced leg fatigue. 

French surgeon, Guy de Chauliac, published the Chirurgia Magna in 1363, mentioning how compression therapy can improve varicose veins. The use of elastic compression occurred with the development of elastic stockings in the mid-1800s and the discovery by Charles Goodyear in 1839 of a vulcanizing process for rubber that would increase its elasticity and durability.

In the 1930s, as the global price of rubber began to skyrocket, several companies set about developing alternatives. DuPont's neoprene was the first commercially available synthetic elastomer. (Like most petrochemical-derived fabrics, neoprene has had a significantly negative impact on the environment. In 2009, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) named neoprene the allergen of the year.)

Compression apparel, as we recognize it today, began with a pair of socks. German engineer, Conrad Jobset, invented compression socks in 1950 to help with varicose veins. The purpose of these socks was to create pressure on leg muscles, bones, and tissue. 

In the 1980s, we saw compression's first emergence in sports. Runners mainly used them to increase oxygen and blood flow, preventing tissue damage and shin splints. This allowed for a longer run and a quicker recovery. 

As the popularity of compression apparel grew, different types of gear emerged. Calf sleeves, leg wraps, arm compression, and fitted apparel were just a few of the new variations. The shift in sportswear was evident as famous athletes and teams wore different compression garments in the 2000s. 


As of the writing of this blog (2022), the need for optimal compression gear still exists in sports and medical arenas.

For athletes, compression supports the muscles and decreases the amount of muscular vibration. This can reduce muscle fatigue, thus allowing better endurance. It can reduce swelling, prevent injury, and protect muscles.

Compression therapy is well-researched and has proven medical benefits in providing relief. Compression can improve blood flow to help with certain medical conditions or aid post-surgical recovery. Frequent travelers or pregnant women may also use compression aids to manage swelling and leg pain. Consult your physician for guidance in medical compression.  



At its inception a few years ago, Body Helix recognized the lack of high-quality compression gear in the market. Antiquated wraps or cheaply made gear were the only choices for athletes. Body Helix compression gear is formed from sound science using today's cutting-edge technology. 

Body Helix products consist of comfortable, uniform medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 mmHg. The pressure given by a bandage or wrap has been and still is, in the hands of the person applying it. It's only possible to achieve a specific and consistent pressure with a wrap or tape. 

A compression sleeve should provide comfortable support, yet it should not limit movement in any way. Body Helix compression products have incredible stretch and elasticity. Our sleeves will stretch more than the human body's range of motion. This means you won't alter your mechanics during the activity. 

Many compression products contain neoprene (think petroleum, non-biodegradable) and latex. Body Helix materials are non-petrochemical and latex-free. Standard neoprene products are made with open-cell materials (think sponge). Unlike Body Helix products, neoprene gear allows the absorption and accumulation of sweat – a breeding ground for bacteria. Our material is closed-cell and naturally resilient against moisture.

Our form-fit technology allows for uniform medical-grade compression and ensures the product stays in place. It won't slip. And our products can be machine washed and dried.

Remember, not all compression is created equal. Our materials are manufactured with ISO13485 Certificates, the international quality standard for medical equipment manufacturers. This is not a mandated certification. We voluntarily take this extra step as a commitment to quality. 

 We have the best option through our robust collection of state-of-the-art compression sleeves. Body Helix offers the highest-grade compression material in the world. We refuse to compromise. Our products are lightyears beyond others on the market.  

At Body Helix, we start with an unapologetic obsession for exceptional quality and make innovative products. We believe in and promote salutogenesis. Your wellness is our primary directive. We continually research to provide reliable information and actionable tips to optimize your fitness.

Learn. Share. Inspire.

Andrew Puckett
Director of Marketing
Team Body Helix

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