What is pressotherapy?

Pressotherapy is a procedure that is said to help with lymphatic drainage, thereby potentially slimming the look of the arms and legs (because they carry less fluid), easing aches and pains, and detoxifying the body. It uses an air pressure machine to inflate a suit that squeezes your arms, legs, or abdomen in a rhythmic motion, similar to a massage.

There is some evidence that lymphatic drainage massage like pressotherapy can reduce the appearance of cellulite and release fluid in the lymph nodes which may build up after surgery or after certain cancer treatments.

This article will cover what you can expect during pressotherapy, who is a good candidate for the treatment, the benefits and side effects, and what you can expect it to cost.

 
How a pressotherapy machine works

Pressotherapy is typically performed in spas or wellness centers that may also offer facials, waxing, or massage. A trained esthetician will perform the procedure. Pressotherapy is similar to a lymphatic drainage massage, but while massage is performed by hand, pressotherapy is administered by a machine that dispenses the correct amount of pressure every time. Here’s how the procedure works:

  1. You will arrive at your appointment and be led to the pressotherapy chair or bed. You do not need to remove your clothes. While you can learn how to give yourself an at-home lymphatic drainage massage, pressotherapy should always be done in office with a trained practitioner.
  2. The esthetician will help you get into the garment (which looks sort of like an astronaut’s space suit). This can be wrapped around the legs, your midsection, arms or all three.
  3. The garment has tubes on it that are hooked up to a computerized air pressure machine. The garment will inflate with air and you will feel a squeezing sensation that should feel like pressure, not pain.
  4. A typical session will last for 30 to 45 minutes. Your body may feel light afterward, and anecdotally, some people feel they have to urinate right away, which could be due to the movement of water in the body. You can get pressotherapy done as often as twice a week.Pressotherapy benefits

    Pressotherapy stimulates the body’s lymphatic system. When it’s functioning optimally, the lymphatic system transports lymphTrusted Source, a fluid that contains white blood cells to help fight infection. Possible benefits of pressotherapy include:

    • relaxed muscles and fewer aches
    • reduction in appearance of cellulite
    • reduction of swellingTrusted Source and stiffness in the limbs
    • removal of toxinsTrusted Source, though this needs more research
    • toned and firm skinTrusted Source
    • stronger immune system due to lymphTrusted Source moving properly
     
    Pressotherapy side effects

    Pressotherapy is generally considered safe, though there are some side effects you should know about, including muscle pain if the pressure on the machine is too high and redness or slight irritation where the pressurized garments meet the skin.

     
    When to avoid pressotherapy

    Pressotherapy is generally considered safe for adults of all ages. However, If you’re pregnant, have recently had surgery, or have other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, or fever, always talk to a doctor before getting pressotherapy. If you’ve recently broken a bone or have osteoporosis or another bone condition, you should also check in with a doctor to make sure this treatment is not too intense on the injury.

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