The Types and Benefits of Pressotherapy

Today, we'll tell you about the types and benefits of pressotherapy, a technique that's proven to be effective for various purposes. Its function is to improve blood and lymphatic flow through the use of a device.
The Types and Benefits of Pressotherapy

Last update: 12 April, 2021

Pressotherapy is one of the treatments that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. It’s a very simple, easy, and painless procedure that offers aesthetic effects. Discover the types and important health benefits of pressotherapy in the following article.

Pressotherapy is increasingly popular is the fact that it offers immediate results generating a very evident sensation of relief. In addition, it’s not an expensive procedure and, therefore, it’s accessible to most people.

What is pressotherapy?

As the name suggests, pressotherapy’s a procedure that involves a device that causes pressure on different areas of the body. Here, the objective of the pressure is to favor blood and lymphatic flow, as this generates several health benefits.

Usually, the device used has a set of separate air chambers, which professional places them around the areas to be operated on. These chambers then inflate and deflate sequentially. As a result, this movement exerts a pumping effect on the circulatory system and the lymphatic system.

Originally, pressotherapy was born in the ’60s to treat vascular problems. However, over time, experts concluded that this type of therapy was also suitable for other ailments. What’s more, the aesthetic benefits of pressotherapy aren’t minor, and that gave it a boost.

Some confuse pressotherapy confused with manual lymphatic drainage. However, although both procedures have similar objectives, they differ in several aspects. Pressure therapy involves a device, while drainage manual. Likewise, a session of pressotherapy has a shorter duration than that of drainage.

A professional applying pressotherapy to a patient's lower body.
Pressotherapy involves the use of devices, unlike lymphatic drainage, which is manual.

Continue reading: Therapeutic Massage: Types and Benefits

Types of pressotherapy

Overall, there are several types of pressotherapy, according to the technique and the device that it utilizes. The most common is pneumatic, which we described in the previous section.

However, on some occasions and for specific purposes, it can involve other techniques:

  • Pressure therapy with bandages: This involves non-elastic or elastic bandages with strong compression, or with multilayer bandages. Usually, they have a positive effect on the deep venous system.
  • Compressive sleeves: These are tight-fitting garments that the professional places on the upper extremities. Generally, this treats cases of lymphedema -inflammation due to the obstruction of the lymphatic system- or bursitis -inflammation of the synovial bursae in the joints.
  • Elastocompression boots: Typically, this is useful in treating lymphedema in the lower extremities. However, there are two types: Sequential and non-sequential. The sequential boots exert a changing pressure. Meanwhile, the non-sequential boots exert a fixed pressure.

The benefits of pressotherapy

Overall, the general benefit of pressotherapy is that it improves lymphatic and blood circulation. However, it also makes other contributions, such as the following:

  • It contributes to the elimination of toxins. Lymph transports waste substances into the blood, and with the activation of pressotherapy, metabolic waste is better eliminated.
  • It facilitates the elimination of edemas and lymphedema. The accumulation of water or lymph is frequent after a surgical intervention, or when an injury is suffered. This type of therapy helps to reabsorb the excess fluid.
  • It helps reduce blood pressure. By activating the circulatory system and eliminating retention in the circulation of lymph, it helps lower blood pressure.
  • It strengthens the muscular system. This therapy tones and stimulates muscles and joints, as well as connective tissues.
  • It improves the skin and fights cellulite. The activation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems increases oxygen in the blood, nourishes the tissues, and increases cell regeneration.
  • It reduces stress. This therapy stimulates the motor nerve points, which helps to relax the muscles. Therefore, it decreases stress.
  • It improves the immune system. The increased circulation of the lymphatic vessels leads to better functioning of the lymph nodes.
A woman undergoing pressotherapy.
Pressotherapy has many benefits beyond lymph drainage itself.

Indications and contraindications

Overall, pressotherapy is especially helpful in the following cases:

  • Lymphedema and venous edema
  • Varicosis
  • Venous return problems
  • Cellulite and stretch marks
  • Obesity
  • Before and after liposuction

Generally, it’s a very safe procedure, but it’s contraindicated in cases of hyperthyroidism, as the massage may increase the production of thyroid hormones. It’s also contraindicated in carotid sinus syndrome, as it may increase the heart rate.

Pregnant women and individuals suffering from cancer, heart failure, low blood pressure, severe infections, deep vein thrombosis, and skin diseases should also avoid this treatment. In any case, it’s always best to seek advice from health professionals to know the real possibility of undergoing these treatments.

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  • Cátedra-Vallés, E., García-Bascones, M., & Puentes-Gutierrez, A. B. (2010). Drenaje linfático manual y presoterapia. Rehabilitación, 44, 63-67.