What Is Voodoo Floss?
by Dr. Michael Smith
On May 23, 2015 I gave a brief presentation for the Biohackers - Seattle MeetUp group. The following is a brief overview of my talk. For the biohackers in attendance, I promised a few videos showing more applications of the recovery tool, Voodoo Floss, I demo’d at the meet up.
Early this spring, James Caldwell reached out to Kinetic and told us he was organizing a MeetUp.com group in Seattle for Biohackers and if we would be interested in attending. Of course, we were like “Absolutely!!!” and then we were like “wait...what’s biohacking?”
James, who is actually from Vancouver, Canada, passionately explained that there is a group of people whose “sole purpose is to bring together like-minded people obsessed with the pursuit of better living and optimal performance through biohacking and self-tracking.”
Yes, Mr. Caldwell, count us is.
Still, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But upon arrival, I quickly found out this group of people were all about sharing and seeking knowledge and having a fun time doing it. Like James said, biohacking at it’s core is simply to find ways to be the best version of yourself - on a macro and micro level - through nutrition, exercise, meditation, prayer, supplementation, hard work, dedication, floating, having fun, cellular biology, personal relationships, bioneurofeedback, technology, gadgets, etc. It was a pretty cool group of people!
The title of my presentation was “Using Functional Approaches and Modern Techniques for Restoring Motion, Improving Movement Quality, and Recovering Faster." Which is a suuuuper fancy title for me showing you how to use Voodoo Floss Compression Bands. So, here is an overview of what Voodoo Floss Bands are, what they do, and some videos showing proper applications and use.
What Voodoo Floss Compression Bands Are:
Voodoo floss is an awesome tool. It’s a tool we use and recommend in and outside of our clinic. Basically, we are making positive subjective changes to our joints and soft tissues through compression + tension + movement. These changes will often increase joint mobility, decrease pain, and speed up recovery. Thus, optimizing performance and improving movement quality.
Did you catch all the vague language there (often, changes, tissues), nothing specific? That’s because we do not know exactly what is happening on a physiological level. There are several really good hypothesis - fascial shear (myofascial release, well, kinda), occlusion and reactive hyperemia (rush of good blood in, garbage out), joint centration (tension creates stability within joint, stability = greater mobility, kinda) - but for the sake of this blog I’ll bypass the science… not very biohacker of me.
But, what we do know, is that we can get results! By educating our patient on when, why and how to properly use this tool, the patient can then be empowered for self corrective care and higher level recovery and performance….very biohacker of me.
The bands are made of latex rubber, do not use if allergic.
Avoid using on head, neck, chest, belly, or back.
The band is compressing, if you feel like your blood is being occluded too much, your limbs are turning purple or faint, or your have numbness/tingling… please stop using immediately.
When to Use Voodoo Floss:
The Voodoo Floss can be used really at anytime, warm up, cool down, and in between workouts.
I usually floss before a workout utilizing exercise specific movements, depending on the workout, I get more out of it than a lacrosse ball or foam roller. Second, I’ll use after a lift, it really seems to keep soreness down and help initiate and speed up recovery.
Finally, I use the day(s) after a tough workout. When I’m really sore, and laying down on a foam roller sounds miserable, I’ll use the floss.
I also floss every night before I go to sleep….. get it? Floss. Love you, Dad.
How to Use Voodoo Floss:
Wrap anchor strip around the joint or soft tissue area.
From there, use roughly 50% tension or pull and overlap the bands.
Tuck the end of the band under.
Move in OPEN chain, all ranges of motion.
Move in CLOSED chain, loaded and exercise specific ranges of motion.
Now here is the question you always need to ask yourself…. WHY? Why do I always get sore in my shoulder, even when it’s not a shoulder workout? Why do my hips and hamstrings always feel tight, even though I floss/stretch/foam roll/mobilize/etc. allllll the time?
Just like with pain, a lot of times feeling “tight” or “immobile” is the body’s way of saying, “Hey, we have a problem!” The “tightness” is often a protective mechanism or compensation for instability or a dysfunctional movement pattern. Those compensations equal decreased efficiency or energy leaks and decreased performance…. Not very biohacker of you.
So as always, if you need help finding out the “why”, go talk to your favorite movement specialist (sports chiropractor, physical therapist, strength coach, etc). At Kinetic, we pride ourselves in finding out the “why” and empowering our patients with the knowledge and tools to get them to the best version of themselves. That’s the fun stuff. We may have a chance at biohacking after all...
Voodoo Floss is a tool to help with recovery. But, if you're experiencing chronic pain, there's underlying issues that need to be addressed. Click below to schedule an appointment at one of our three clinic locations in Seattle.