Air compressors already have a wide range of important uses in healthcare facilities, but an American inventor has now created new compression leggings designed to improve the circulation in patients’ legs.

While elasticated compression leggings are fairly commonplace, the new active design uses air compressors to gently massage the patient’s legs from ankle to knee. In so doing, it assists with the flow of venous blood back up the body and towards the heart, reducing the risk of unwanted medical consequences like deep vein thrombosis.

Ray Stockton of Dickinson, Texas, designed the prototype, and says: “A vital impact on one’s life can be as simple as blood flow.”

He adds that his leggings “effectively stimulate and encourage the return of lower-extremity venous blood toward the heart – thus one’s blood runs as originally intended”.

The leg compression occurs in a wave-like motion upwards from the ankle, to mimic the natural forces applied to the legs during walking. As a result, the inventor says the active device works better than previous similar products at maintaining healthy circulation in the legs.