NormaTec: The Secret Weapon for Athlete Recovery

NormaTec is an innovative tool for enhancing recovery from a wide range of athletic endeavors.  Initially used by elite athletes in endurance sports, NormaTec is quickly spreading among all fitness levels as a clean, simple, yet very effective recovery tool.

Moveo Sport and Rehabilitation Center has recently acquired this innovative treatment tool. The patient wears two full-legged boots, which are pumped with air in a given pattern. The generated compression massages the lower limbs to increase circulation, reducing inflammation and edema. This speeds up the repairing of microtrauma to tissue, which occurs during workouts.

NormaTec works by intermittently using massage and compression to increase circulation in the lower extremities.  The increased circulation reduces inflammation and edema, and repairs micro trauma to the tissues from high levels of fitness.  It uses the body’s own defense and repair systems to improve circulation and heal the body between workouts, training, or races.

NormaTec is unique from other compression pumps. It uses its patented Sequential Pulse Technology that imitates normal physiology. Unlike traditional compression therapy that uses one single pressure, NormaTec uses a dynamic pulse. This mimics and enhances the body’s natural muscle pumps. It propels fluids up and out of the legs, flushing the limbs of inflammation. And while the pulsing pressure works its magic in one area, there is a static pressure held just below. This mechanic is similar to rolling up the end of a toothpaste tube. It prevents backflow and accumulation of fluid in the bottom area, allowing maximum pulse pressure to work the fluid up. This copies the action of the one-way valves in our veins.

NormaTec was originally developed to help medical patients with circulatory or edema issues recover more quickly and fully.  It is still used widely in medicine to aid recovery from disease, injury, and surgical procedures.  Its effectiveness as an athletic recovery tool has become apparent in more recent years, and the newer NormaTec Sports Medicine version is designed especially for athletes.

Moveo Sport and Rehabilitation Centre is pleased to offer NormaTec as a part of their treatment options for anyone dealing with fitness related micro trauma, pre/post training recovery, and any physiological condition that involves inflammation or edema.

Gary Robbins, a local elite endurance athlete, used NormaTec most recently in preparation for the H.U.R.T. 100-mile run in Hawaii. He smashed his old course record, finishing strong with a time of 19:35.

“I have been experimenting with the NormaTec for a few months now, having seen that it was used by numerous Olympic athletes in London. So far I use it via Moveo once a week and I schedule my hardest run of the week around my ability to access the NormaTec. The chamber style set up of the compression that flushes out the legs has certainly contributed to much less DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and hence faster recovery times and the ability to train harder after a big effort.”

“What I truly love about the NormaTec though is that you don’t have to do anything but sit there and let it work away on your legs. I usually bring in a book or read my favorite blog for the thirty minutes of recovery. I use it every week and I’m saving up for my own so that one day I can hopefully use it on a daily basis. Anything that shows up on Olympic athletes, and medal winning Olympians at that, is certainly something that I want in my own personal repertoire!” – GR

The Canadian National Cycling Team has also been lucky enough to use NormaTec as a regular part of their racing as recovery over the past few years:

“BMX racing is a very high intensity, and high consequence sport. In order to train and perform at my best I put my body thought a lot! It is no surprise then, that a visit to Moveo Sports and Rehab Center is a regular occurrence for me. Dr. Jenn Turner and the rest of the staff make Moveo such a positive and fun environment. They have such a wealth of knowledge in so many different areas and are always on the leading edge with research and technology. Before or after my treatments I often use the Normatech recovery pants for a full lower body flush. Having the opportunity to use this equipment not only makes my legs feel great, but it also allows Jenn more time to work on the areas that really need it.
Thanks for keeping me on top, especially when I end up up-side-down!”

Mischa Partridge
Canadian National BMX Team

BMX pic

Moveo chiropractor and owner Dr Jenn Turner works with the Canadian Olympic cyclists. Here is the bronze-winning Team Pursuit Cycling team enjoying the wonders of NormaTec between races at the 2012 London Olympics:


Moveo will be offering a FREE NORMATEC WEEK April 29th to May 3rd, 2013. Thirty minute NormaTec treatments will be offered free of charge all week, on a first come-first served basis. There are limited appointment times, so call soon! Regular treatments are $10 per session.

To book your free appointment, call Moveo at 604-984-8731.

What Is a Kinesiologist?

The study of kinesiology focuses on human movement and body function. At Movéo, we kinesiologists work largely with the chiropractors and physiotherapists to create a rehabilitation program tailored specifically to each individual patient. Because chiropractor appointments are only 2o minutes long–and our doctors prefer to spend as much time as possible being hands-on–we spend extra time after treatment to teach exercises and correct posture. These exercise programs strive to increase and maintain stability, strength, endurance, and range of motion. The continuation of exercises during the recovery stage of an injury is important for a number of reasons:


  • Once the acute stage has been resolved, we want to regain range of motion and re-strengthen the injured area to original health. We also want to continue exercising safely to retain strength; this is to prevent further muscle loss


  • To minimize the risk of recurrence or chronic pain, we mend any biomechanical errors or imbalances by addressing other weaknesses that are the result of, or reason for, the initial injury. This will increase overall strength and stability. 


  • We educate our clients on the mechanics of their specific injury. Our ultimate goal is to help you become conscious of your own body so you can make minor adjustments in positioning and movement to avoid re-injury.


We can also help you with chronic pain and discomfort throughout your daily life. Office ergonomics, mini breaks between work tasks, posture while driving–we will address these common issues and help you find relief within your busy life.

Of course, our expertise applies to more than just injuries. Aches and pains, yes–but we can also assist in modifying workouts to meet our previously mentioned criteria of building stability, strength, endurance, and range of motion. Our purpose is to correct posture and method in order to enhance performance and prevent future injury. We aim to give you confidence in your biomechanics and minimize any insecurity you may have in the gym, during swims, out running, on the field, or in whatever you love to do.

Ultrasound as a Rehabilitation Tool

Therapeutic Ultrasound


You may have been offered an ultrasound treatment during your physiotherapy or chiropractic session, and you probably accepted it without too much thought. You gave in to the cold dollop of blue gel and the circular rhythm of the wand for a couple minutes, then packed up and got going with your life. You may have not even felt anything! So what exactly is ultrasound, and how does it help?

Ultrasound is a device that sends ultrasonic (high frequency sound) waves through your skin into the tissues below. Frequencies of the wave can be adjusted depending on how deep the waves must penetrate.

There are two effects of therapeutic ultrasound: non-thermal and thermal. Non-thermally, the ultrasound works to break up scar tissue by using the vibration from the wave. This is called cavitation. A mass of scar tissue experiences a pressure change with the sound wave, causing it to break up into progressively smaller masses until finally disappearing for good. For example, lithotripsy is a procedure in which gall and kidney stones are broken up by using ultrasound.


The waves are absorbed by structures beneath the skin – such as ligaments, tendons, fascia, and even scar tissue. The absorption creates a thermal effect as the waves vibrate throughout the structure. This increases blood flow into the area to promote faster recovery. Blood vessels dilate due to the heat so that swelling and edema flush out, reducing pain. Fresh blood full of oxygen and nutrients can now flow through with ease to aid in rebuilding tissue.


Our practitioners find that ultrasound used in combination with other therapies—for example, Active Release Technique or manual therapy—is more effective than simply using ultrasound on its own. Often, our chiropractors do this with Graston. The ultrasound acts as a warm-up; it increases temperature and begins the scar tissue breakdown process. Then, the Graston tool can get in to further break down more efficiently.


Ultrasound is more effective than a heat pad because, as you may have experienced, the skin is in direct contact and may become unbearably hot; meanwhile, the deeper structures receive less heat. Ultrasound can be adjusted to actually reach its target without causing discomfort—or even any change in sensation—to the skin.


There are a number of other types of ultrasound used in the medical field as well. Perhaps the best-known type is for diagnostic purposes. The sound waves create an image of internal structures like babies or injured tissue. Shockwave therapy is similar to the cavitation effect of the ultrasound therapy. Its difference is in the strength of wave—shockwave therapy is at a higher intensity, which affect the tissue composition at a cellular level in a different way. Even deep structures such as bones can be stimulated to increase cell production and bone density.


Heat vs Ice: Injury Treatments and Rehabilitation

What does heat do?

  1. Local dilation of blood vessels

This increases blood flow to a specific area. Deoxygenated blood can flow out and flush away the built up metabolic waste. Meanwhile, new blood can flow in, bringing nutrients and oxygen to promote recovery.


  1. Decreased pain perception

Injury causes nerves to constantly send pain signals to the muscle. This nerve irritation can be distracted with overriding heat signals.


  1. Reduction of muscle tension & spasm

Muscles tend to tense up and spasm when there is pain. As explained above, heat diminishes pain signals from the nerves. Tension then declines due to the decrease in pain.

When should I use heat?

  • Chronic conditions
    • 2 weeks or more after initial injury
    • Fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis
  • Muscle tension headaches
    • Apply to upper back
  • Cold, sinusitis, respiratory tract infections
  • Before deep tissue treatment
    • Active Release Technique, myofascial release, massage therapy

* For optimum effects: heat 10 min, off for 10 min, repeat 2 – 3 times.

**Do not heat an acute/recent injury! The vessels at the injury site are still weakened and cannot handle an increase in flow.


What does ice do?

  1. Local constriction of blood vessels

The cold constricts the blood vessels. Blood flow to the injury site lessens when ice is applied, thus lessening swelling and pain.


  1. Slows swelling
    Fluid accumulates in the injured site, leading to inflammation. The addition of blood to the area would further hinder the injury; thus, ice is used to control the blood flow by vasoconstriction (see above).
  2. Decreased pain

The ice will numb the nerves in the area, decreasing soreness. It will also slow the nerve impulses, thus lessening the degree of pain and pain-spasm reaction.

When should I use ice?

  • Acute injuries
    • Sprains, strains, bruises
    • From the moment of injury – 72 hrs later
  • Flare-up of overuse conditions

e.g. Tendonitis

  • Migraine headaches
    • Apply to neck when headache occurs
  • After deep tissue treatment

*For optimum effect: ice until skin is pink (10 min), off 10 min, repeat 2 – 3 times

**Use a wet towel as a barrier between your skin and the ice to avoid freezing the skin.


Alternating hot, then cold: A Flushing Effect

Heat allows the blood vessels to dilate; cold then contracts them. Alternating between the two acts as a pump and increases the circulation in the area to:

  • Push the excess fluid out from the area, thereby decreasing swelling
  • Allow blood to bring in nutrients and oxygen, which increases healing

The ratio of heat to cold should be 3 min : 1 min.

Repeat 3 times.

Always end with cold.
Ending with heat leaves the blood vessels dilated, allowing for fluid to accumulate again. Rather than re-aggravating the injury, end with cold to constrict the vessels. This will minimize the return of any swelling.


When should I use both?

  • Sub-acute stage of healing
    • Considerably less swelling and heat than at time of injury

(Depends on injury/person; 2 days – 2weeks)