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The health problems associated with spending long periods of time sat down in front of computers are well documented. These can be back, neck and shoulder problems resulting from low quality or poorly set up seats, Carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist related problems from using uncomfortable mice and keyboards, or eye strain and headaches from prolonged monitor use. However, there is one problem that often gets overlooked when talking about the office environment but is potentially the most dangerous of all - Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Everyone now knows the health risks of DVT because of the huge media exposure it got when the link between it and long haul flights became more established. What a lot of people don't realise, though, is DVT doesn't just happen because you take long haul flights; it can happen anywhere. Any extended period of immobility can cause a dangerous reduction of blood circulation that in turn can lead to the creation of blood clots that cause DVT. In other words, sitting in an office for eight hours a day could potentially be lethal.
Of course, not all circulation problems are quite so severe as DVT. Sitting around all day can simply leave you feeling sluggish and lacking in energy, and extremities like hands and feet can also get cold and uncomfortable. If you're a fit and active person this doesn't tend to be too much of a problem, but if you're less mobile, whether due to old age, disability, or for any other reason, then an alternative solution is needed.
The classic exercise that doctors have prescribed for use on planes is rocking your feet back and forth from your heel to the ball. This tenses your calf and shin muscles creating a pump like effect which forces blood to move more freely through your lower legs. This is quite effective but also easy to forget to do and/or ignore. Also, if you're disabled or don't have full control over your legs then you can't voluntarily control this. All of which brings us to the device I'm looking at today, the High Tech Health Circulation Booster. This uses electrical impulses to stimulate your lower leg muscles into contracting without you needing to think about it. So now you all know the science behind it let's see if it's actually any good.
For a start, it's quite a large device, which is understandable considering it has to accommodate two potentially large feet. However, I did find that the three or four extra inches in height it added underneath my feet meant my long legs (I'm six foot two inches tall) couldn't quite fit comfortably under my desk. Instead, I had to splay my knees out to the sides or put the Circulation Booster as far back as possible and stretch my legs out, neither of which were exactly natural sitting positions. Still, I was able to keep working while the machine was working away, which is the main thing.
As you've probably guessed, to use the Circulation Booster you simply place your feet on the dimpled rubber pads (it works through socks but not shoes), set the time you'd like it to run for (30 minutes being the default) and the intensity level you'd like, then press the auto button to set it going. Intensity levels run from 0 all the way up to 99, but I found 15 was quite enough for me.