compression pants

Have you ever felt that those tight and stretchy high-waisted leggings you wear three times a week were actually helping your body take on a slimmer shape? You might not be far from the truth.

While dry brushing, foam rolling, rebounders and mineral baths can all help to reduce bloat and boost circulation, our latest profile-slimming obsession has become the compression pant.

Compression pants and tops were originally designed as post-surgical garments to help patients heal faster. If you’re familiar with the benefits of post-pregnancy belly binding, the concept is quite similar; support the fascia and muscles back into their natural shape while diluting any fluid build up in the tissues that hinder natural blood flow.

Our work-from-home wardrobe lately has been majorly up-leveled thanks to our new obsession with compression pants, a type of legging designed specifically to increase circulation, reduce bloat, and actually make us more svelte waist-to-toe.

It was Anna Zahn of The Ricari Method here in L.A. who first stoked our obsession with compression after we visited her for Ricari’s unique version of lymphatic massage (Learn more here. FYI, we crossed paths with one of the best bodies in Hollywood arriving at the spa for the appointment just after ours!).

Anna has crafted a cult following, thanks to The Ricari Method’s high-tech lymphatic drainage technology and technique. But, between their high-tech, Hollywood procedures, Anna recommends a remarkably low-tech tool to keep the body svelte and the circulation strong. Zahn’s version of compression pants reach up to the rib cage and down close to the ankle. The pants are light like tights, but just thick enough to wear around the house without being inappropriate. Zahn recommends 1 to 4 hours of wear a day (she tells us “daily wear is not mandatory, but I do see a bigger difference in client who wear daily.”) and she herself wears them 4-5 times a week.

Anna tell us, “A lot of clients share that the pants help with PMS, bloating, cramps and back pain. And they definitely help post-workout to encourage recovery. Most of my close friends use the pants all the time, which is a huge compliment for me! I was just chatting with a friend this morning about how she’s doubling down with work right now and doesn’t have time to exercise in the morning — so she puts the pants on during her Zoom calls and says it’s a game changer.”

We understand the enthusiasm Anna gets back from friends and clients alike. Compression technology is not new to the medical community. Once again, beauty pros are hacking into the benefits of tech intended for healing and harnessing that power to help align musculature and boost circulation — benefits with both aesthetic and wellness benefits (usually, the kind you’ll find us promoting).

Find Ricari Studios compression capris here. We asked Anna to share the top benefits of compression wear here:

+ Ricari’s leggings are Italian made with graduated compression engineered to manually support lymphatic drainage and blood circulation as your body moves (or doesn’t). Our manufacturer is a leading orthopedic/medical manufacturer with FDA registration as class 1 medical. Most athletic compression is just tight fabric that is more constricting than conditioning.

+ A proprietary honeycomb weave improves circulation and skin tone, reducing fluid retention by increasing metabolism between blood and tissue.

+ Ricari’s pants are medical grade and can help ease heavy legs and reduce fluid retention. Perfect for travel, exercise recovery, and relief from long hours standing or sitting.

+ Most athletic “compression” is not as effective if it doesn’t possess a graduated compression weave (that means its tighter at the extremities and lighter as you move up the body to better encourage circulation)

+ Patented honeycomb massage weave creates ripples in the skin to facilitate microcirculation (which in addition to compression aids in reducing fluid retention, poor circulation, uneven skin tone, cellulite, and lactic acid buildup)

+ You can combine with compression socks for full coverage (many clients do this for flying) – it’s nice to have the option to remove socks if you get too hot.

+ Ricari recommends regular wear (1-4hr) at least four times a week (you can wear every day) for 30 days to feel maximum benefit.

+ Leggings vs socks. Most people are familiar with socks, and socks do help with ankle swelling and soreness. However, leggings specifically compress the lymphatic networks at the back of the knees. If you want to encourage lymphatic circulation, you want to compress the major lymphatic networks at the back of the knees, pelvis and stomach — think of it like squeezing out a full sponge. Most clients find increased benefits from leggings over socks alone.

+ Unlike traditional dress or athletic garments, compression leggings compress the surface veins, arteries and muscles and force circulating blood through narrower channels. As a result, the arterial pressure is increased, which causes more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the extremities.

+ Doctors will typically recommend these garments for those who are prone to blood clots, lower limb edema, and blood pooling in the legs and feet from prolonged periods of sitting or inactivity.

+ Use of compression therapy is not new. As early as the Neolithic period (5000-2500 BCE), images of soldiers with bandaged lower extremities were found in the drawings of the caves of Tassili in Sahara. The Edwin Smith Papyrus, which dates to roughly 1600 BCE, included additional evidence of mechanical compression therapy for legs. Hippocrates treated his patients’ leg ulcers with tight bandages, which were described in his Corpus Hippocraticum (450–350 BCE). Galen (130-200 CE) used wool and linen compression bandages to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and Oribassius (324 CE) used to treat leg ulcers with tight bandages.

+ Compression garments have been shown to help athletes during the active recovery process. Research shows that following a high intensity treadmill workout, compression garments helped to decrease the heart rate and lactic acid buildup in athletes.

Have you tried compression leggings, belly bands or socks? We’ve found compression like Ricari’s leggings make a profound difference and, now that we’re working from home, they are easier than ever to live in a few days a week. The trick for getting them on is to inch them up a bit at at time and to then slip both hands inside down the back by your bum and pull them upwards to align the pelvis. According to Anna, “You can wear them all day, but I usually find I’m good in smaller sizes around 3 to 4 hours and if I want to wear all day I’ll size up.”

We’re obsessed with Ricari’s Italian-made, high tech compression pants, but if you’re looking for more affordable options, albeit less effective, we’ve also tried these options by COS and Under Armour. Have you tried compression pants? Or a belly band after pregnancy? Tell us more in the comments!

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