January 06, 2015 5 min read
It's winter season. And many of you begin to suffer from the aches and pains associated with cold weather. Some of you feel like the chill seeps straight into your bones. In response, you protect your weather predicting joint(s) with a neoprene sleeve and continue your activities (which may include sleigh rides) until the snow melts and the temperatures climb above zero again.
Winter may not be the only time that you show off your neoprene. You may part of the group of sports enthusiasts and athletes that wear a neoprene sleeve for everyday training. Or you may find a wrap beneficial only when you are doing heavy lifting or other strenuous exercises. Either way, sleeves have a purpose and utility that cannot be understated. For many of the larger joints of the body, there is some contoured neoprene that was designed to support and protect it. In this article, we will provide tips on how to enhance your neoprene usage and why you'd use Battle Balm® to do it!
What is a neoprene sleeve? Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that naturally resists many chemicals. It has great durability and a wide operating temperature. Neoprene is used in a lot of different industries, but we're mainly interested in its personal and therapeutic usage. For the body, neoprene sleeves wrap around a particular area, usually a joint, to support and protect it. To prolong the life of your neoprene sleeve, keep it away from hydrogen peroxide, bleach, swimming pools (unless you rinse afterwards), and motor oil. Also, don't let your dog pee on it!
Why wear a neoprene sleeve?There are a few reasons for wearing one and we'll start with the more accepted ones first. Warmth. Wearing a sleeve will keep the affected area warm just like wearing a jacket keeps your upper body warm. It insulates and helps you retain body heat. Support. A sleeve should fit snugly around the joint or muscle group you wish to address. The thickness of neoprene material itself offers structural support to the joint. During contraction, the muscles under the neoprene sleeve can also push against the material and offer functional support through a joint's range of motion. Circulation. When fitted properly, the warmth and compression will assist blood circulation throughout the wrapped area. The body responds to an increase in heat by dilating blood vessels, thus pumping more blood through. Compression. The compression of the sleeve allows for the support and circulatory benefits of the sleeve. Compression also helps reduce swelling by squeezing the tissue underneath the neoprene sleeve. In that way, it helps with lymph fluid drainage on the wrapped joint or muscle group. Vibration damping. Think about the impact and vibration that travels not only in the muscles, but throughout the entire body every time your jogging feet hit the pavement. Your muscles absorb part of the impact and helps to dissipate the energy. If you're wearing a neoprene sleeve, some of this vibrational energy will get dampened by the sleeve. This means that your body deals with less impact, which can benefit tired, sore muscles. If you want to satisfy your inner nerd, break out your physics book and dig through your mass-energy equations. We won't discuss that any further here.
Who should wear a neoprene sleeve? The answer to this question is not so black and white. The medical establishment has been using compression sleeves for a number of years to assist those with circulation problems. But for those looking for a performance boost, there's conflicting data. Some research claims to increase recovery speed from soreness and lactic acid buildup. Other research shows no improvement whatsoever. So, the benefits seem to vary depending on the physical attributes and health of the individual. The fact that there are many different designs of neoprene and even more varying body shapes leads us to believe that there's no correct answer. We think that it's hard to develop a single variable repeatable laboratory test environment to quantify the usage of a neoprene sleeve. Though, we truly believe that a correctly fitted compression sleeve will improve your body's ability to stay warm, circulate blood and lymph, and reduce inflammation. If this is what your body could improve upon, then you'll respond positively to wearing a neoprene compression sleeve. You'll never know unless you fit a few different ones to see what works and what doesn't with your particular body part. So, try one on for size!
How can Battle Balm® give you a neoprene advantage?
1) Stink repellant- If you wear a neoprene sleeve, then you know that it can start to smell, especially if you don't wash it often. Battle Balm® contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients to help keep germs away and leave your neoprene sleeve smelling better than your dirty pair of gym socks.
2) Neoprene longevity - Neoprene will break down when it comes in contact with motor oil. You may not rub motor oil on your body, but you have probably used Vaseline® or some other petroleum (aka petrolatum, paraffin, etc.) pain relief product on your skin. Battle Balm® is an all natural plant-based product. It contains no petroleum or petroleum byproducts, so it won't harm your $100 knee sleeve.
3) Non-staining - Battle Balm® is a natural and organic plant-based formula. Since we don't use any harsh ingredients, you don't need any harsh detergents to wash it off! Just launder your neoprene sleeve and clothes just as you regularly do! It's that easy!
4) Skin protectant - Wearing a neoprene sleeve already protects your skin. But how about applying a product that actually protects skin and improves skin health naturally? That's right. Battle Balm® contains antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that support skin function. Did we mention Battle Balm® also has natural antimicrobial properties? Yeah, we think so.
5) Circulation enhancement- Battle Balm® provides an alternating heating and cooling effect on the treated area. The effect of the warming and cooling sensation on skin will cause your body to constrict and dilate the blood vessels in response to the perceived temperature changes, thereby acting as a fluid pump. Add Battle Balm® under your wrap and we're sure you'll notice a faster warm up time with improved circulation.
6) Improved Pain Relief - Battle Balm® contains natural analgesic herbal ingredients. So, when you decide to use Battle Balm® with your compression sleeve, you will warm up faster and open pores. The herbs in the Battle Balm® formulation will maintain direct contact with the skin due to the wrap and more effectively penetrate the area. If you get some pain relief from wearing a sleeve, try doing so with Battle Balm® underneath!
If you use a neoprene sleeve or compression sleeve to reduce pain, treat injury, and improve your joint/muscle function during sports, exercise or even just during daily activity, you must try Battle Balm® underneath. It will give you that synergistic advantage you need to perform better. Plus, Battle Balm® is earth-friendly and completely sustainable!