Our bodies rely on many complex systems, and one of the most important is the circulation of blood. This life-giving fluid delivers oxygen to our cells, while transporting nutrients and wastes in and out of our different tissues. If asked about how this fluid gets pumped through our bodies, most people will naturally think about the heart first. However, there are many other “pumps” involved in blood circulation. Our leg muscles are essential to keep blood (and other fluids) from pooling. Spending hours in a chair at work or in an airplane or in a car can reduce circulation.
In hospitals and other clinical settings, there are bulky pneumatic wraps that can repeatedly squeeze a patient’s leg to encourage circulation, but these are not practical for consumer use. Magzor is a robotics company that was working on a “smart suit” to aid wounded soldiers that could apply pressure to limit blood loss. The developers realized that this same concept could be applied to a massage wrap for consumers, resulting in the ADAFlow. They have developed a prototype that provides a peristaltic compression; it generates a “pressure wave” that moves along the leg. They even have a provision so that it can sync with the wearer’s heartbeats so that it works in concert with the heart rather than oppose it. The battery-powered device can be used anywhere you might sit for long periods, from a desk chair to a car seat to an airliner seat.
The company has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help take the prototype to production, with the first products scheduled to ship by March 2017. The company is very careful to describe this as a massage device, and not to make any health or medical claims about its benefits. However, the company is also very clear on plans to pursue clinical trials and FDA clearance for using the device in the treatment of circulation problems such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and congestive heart failure.