So today I’m gonna talk about some compression sleeves that help cool you down made by StimGear. But first, here’s a bit of back story into why I decided to try them out in the first place.
It’s been really hard for me to stay active the past few years since some health issues cropped up. Mainly with the hives and anaphylaxis whenever I exercise/heart rate gets too fast/body temp increases too quickly (cholinergic uticaria? – still undiagnosed, but that’s a whole different rant). Basically whenever I exercise (weight train/worse with cardio) or go from a really cold temp to hot temp my whole body breaks out in hives and welts. It got to the worst it’s ever been the last time I tried to hike Iron Mountain. I literally almost went into anaphylaxis. I couldn’t breath, tunnel vision, eyes swollen, hives on every centimeter of my body. My body also just felt like it was severely over heating and it felt like my brain was on fire. It was actually pretty scary and traumatizing. I honestly haven’t done this particular hike in years. Half because exercising in general is really hard with these symptoms showing up in some combination whenever I exercise and half because I just associate it with that particular day. Mind you I’ve done this hike a million times before with no issues before all these health things cropped up. But I’ve pretty much avoided it since that day.
So I still try to go on adventures and hikes, but do a million things to help control the symptoms. It’ll let me do things without dying, but very uncomfortably usually. There will still be a billion hives (which take hours or at least half a day to fully go away). Or I’ll just have to take really long breaks for the reactions to calm down & popping a few antihistamines before starting again. Or carrying around little ice packs (not great when you already have a heavy pack btw!).
Soo…onto what this post is really about! My friend Ben designed these compression sleeves (StimGear – stimgear.com) with coolant packs you slip into the wrist pockets. I bought a pair to try out because I really wanted to see if they could help. I finally gave them a try today hiking Iron Mountain again for the first time in years! How they work: “By targeting cooling points, you can cool down your circulatory system – decreasing recovery time and increasing performance.” My hope was that the targeted cooling would not only help with performance, but help with my hive issues which seem to correlate with my body temp issues.
*This is not sponsored and I did not receive these for free to review. I really wanted to see if they would work and bought them for myself!
I popped one into each sleeve at the beginning of the hike and replaced them about 2 miles in. Let me just say…I think I finally found my solution. ZERO hives! Not even one. Yes there was still a bit of redness and flushed skin, but no welts, raised hives, annoying itchiness that makes me want to rip off my skin! My brain did not feel like it was on fire! I think that it helped cool me down and helped my body acclimate to the changing temperatures better. Instead of going from zero to really hot it helped me transition as I got going and helped keep me cool as I continued. And by the time I was further into the hike my body was fine even without the coolants! I didn’t have to pop 10 benadrylls to keep going. Nothing! It just felt like a nice normal hike before all these weird symptoms cropped up. Just hiking and some water. I definitely want to test this out further. Like on a run where my heart rate and temp increase a lot faster in a shorter amount of time (cardio always has worse symptoms vs strength training for me). I really want to see if it will help mitigate things still and how well. I will also be taking these with me to Havasu Falls to test it out to see how they do with longer endurance type activities!
Aside from helping with the hives and body temp regulation issues. I definitely felt an improvement in my overall performance using them vs without. I felt a lot less out of breath, my pace was a lot faster (it might actually be one of the fastest times hiking up without straight out running it). I really felt refreshed, cooler and like I had a little extra kick in my step while using the sleeves. I also did not sweat as much, maybe it was the weather, maybe it was my sweat wicking shirt, I don’t know. I just know my back felt a lost less moist between my backpack. It really just felt like it gave me an extra boost on the hike! This is definitely going to be coming with me on future adventures!
One issue I have with the cooling packs is some can preemptively pop on accident, which is unfortunate. So I will probably have to carry them in a sturdy box (until the design on the coolant packs are refined) on backpacking trips so they don’t accidentally get used up before I slide them into my sleeves. But aside from that I have no real complaints about the sleeves. Maybe the coolants could be a little smaller, or I could use a few more color options. White tends to get dirty really fast for me and black does attract a lot of heat when the sun’s out. But a small color selection for a new company isn’t a big deal so I’m pretty happy so far with the performance of the sleeves.
Stay tuned for how they perform on runs & when I take them to Havasu Falls. Update coming soon!
*Medical Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.