What is compression therapy?

Compression is the basic therapy for various vascular and oedematous diseases. Depending on the type and severity of the symptoms, medical compression stockings with different compression strengths and different materials can be used.

How does compression therapy work?

In compression therapy, controlled pressure acts on the vascular and lymphatic system in the tissues. This promotes blood flow in the veins to the heart and counteracts water retention (oedema). Therapy with medical compression stockings in combination with exercise is the basic therapy for the treatment of various diseases – including diseases of the vascular and lymphatic system.  

Why use compression therapy and what does it aim to achieve?

Compression therapy is used for vascular diseases, for example in venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Increased mechanical pressure on the veins promotes the return of the "used", oxygen-poor blood to the heart. Medical compression stockings can be used to compensate for the effects of vascular disease.

Medical compression therapy is also the basic therapy for lipoedema and lymphoedema in the legs and arms. It is usually performed with flat knit medical compression stockings and aims to prevent "congestion in the tissues" from building up again after lymphatic drainage has been performed, for example. For lipoedema, a medical compression stocking primarily aids in pain relief. Compression therapy can also be used to prevent venous thrombosis.

Compression therapy is also used to reduce swelling in follow-up treatment after cosmetic surgery. Doctors and wound care specialists also work with compression when treating burns and scars.

Many users appreciate the pleasant sensation of compression even if they have no health problems: The legs feel light and vital all day long, even when standing or sitting for extended periods. When traveling as well, for example on longer flights, people with healthy veins can also benefit from compression: Compression stockings help prevent thrombosis. In sports too, compression can help improve performance and promote regeneration.

Compressive supports are also used in orthopaedics, for example. They counteract swelling.

How is compression therapy performed?

Treatment of vascular and oedematous diseases usually employs medical stockings, tights, arm stockings and compression clothing or wrap bandages, which are usually used only temporarily.

How long is compression therapy applied?

The doctor will decide on the duration of the application, depending on the indication. For example, vein, lipoedema and lymphoedema patients usually wear their aids daily during the day and for life, while compression is used only temporarily while travelling, to prevent thrombosis.

More information about how long you can wear compression garments