Electrostimulation: It doesn't sound like the most relaxing thing in the world, but a French company is hoping to change this impression. The VEINOPLUS Sport is one of the latest devices to use this method for providing post-workout muscle recovery. It's designed to provide all the benefits of an active recovery without the negatives.

If you're familiar with intense workouts, you've probably used or heard of active recovery – essentially working out at a decreased intensity level to help in muscle recovery. As unattractive as more working out directly after a rigorous training or a competitive session might sound, some believe that it's the best way to stimulate blood flow, flush out lactates and revive sore muscles. Activities like cool down laps are implemented into training sessions to promote muscle recovery. The other type of recovery is passive recovery (i.e. rest).

Parisian manufacturer Ad Rem Technology has adapted electrostimiulation, which it also uses in a therapy device, specifically for sports recovery. The VEINOPLUS Sport device splits the difference between active and passive recovery, providing a shortcut to the benefits of active recovery that you can do while sitting still.

The company calls it "second heart technology." Stimulated by low frequency, low intensity impulses from two electrodes, the calf muscles work like second hearts, increasing blood flow and pushing nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. Ad Rem says they do so while consuming less oxygen and energy (glycogen) than they would during active recovery. It claims that glycogen replenishment is comparable to passive recovery since you're essentially at rest. The idea is that you can sit down in the locker room and enjoy all the recovery benefits of both active and passive recovery.

In addition to those "whole body recovery" benefits activated by the calves, athletes can also use VEINOPLUS electrostimulation for local recovery. They can apply the electrodes to specific muscles used in their activity in order to decrease soreness and prevent cramps.

Clamping a pair of wires to the muscles probably won't appeal to every athlete, particularly those that don't work out that heavily and don't have problems getting their muscles back to normal. But it may appeal to athletes that constantly push themselves to perform at the highest level. After three years of research and development, Ad Rem launched the Sport device at last year's London Olympic Games and says that 150 French Olympic, including 22 medal-winners, used the device for recovery. Its small, light form factor makes it easy to travel with, even if you have a global competition schedule.

The VEINOPLUS isn't breaking new ground – other devices market electrostimulation muscle recovery. According to Ad Rem, the advantage is that while many other devices require four or more electrodes, the Sport uses only two.

A September 2012 study by France's National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance found that the device improved anaerobic performance at one hour postintervention when compared to passive recovery in a group of soccer players. It concluded that such technology could be beneficial for "athletes engaged in sports with successive rounds interspersed with short, passive recovery period."

The VEINOPLUS Sport is available now for €180 (approximately US$234).

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