REVIEW – Tired and achy legs. When you’re active, they come with the territory. When you’re old and active, the territory seems to get much larger. If only I had a masseuse on standby that could come over at a moment’s notice to give me a nice foot/calve/thigh compression massage. Hey – even better, if they could combine heat, like hot stones to that hand compression massage – yeah, that would be great! Of course, that isn’t practical or cost-effective. That’s why physical therapists, Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck created Bob and Brad – a website dedicated to physical therapy. Along the way, they have developed a series of therapy devices, including our subject today, the Bob and Brad leg compression massager with heat.
What is it?
The Bob and Brad leg compression massager is a therapy device that provides compression massage to your feet, calves, and thighs. It can combine that with heat across your feet and calves. They claim it can:
- Help relieve pain and fatigue
- Help enhance circulation
- Provide relaxation while working or watching TV
- Help with recovery
What’s in the box?
- Assembled massager with left and right foot/calf boots and thigh wraps plus connected controller
- Power adapter
- User manual
- Travel bag
- Massage areas: three – feet, calves, thighs
- Intensity levels: four
- Compression method: airbags
- Heating modes: three – low, high, off
- Heating areas: feet and calves
- Massage modes: four – feet only, calves only, thighs only, whole leg
- Automatic timer: 15 minutes
- Adjustability: Velcro wraps adjust for up to 19-inch calves and 27-inch thighs
- Display: backlit LCD
- Power: 110VAC to 12V/2A, 24W consumption
Design and features
There’s no getting around the fact that the Bob and Brad leg compression massagers are a little unwieldy. If you have trouble with mobility or flexibility, you will have some difficulty getting into these. There are several really strong velcro panels that you have to open and then close as you bend your feet and legs into the proper location. There is a fair amount of bending and contorting all while positioning the stiff control cables that attach the controller to the boots. Then you have the two air hoses to manage that connect the thigh wraps to the boots. It isn’t horrible, but it certainly isn’t a quick step-in process.
Here’s a look at the side of one of the boots.
I’m holding the foot portion. The large velcro patch above that is the closure that wraps around your calf.
The inside is lined with soft and comfortable cloth.
This is the closure on the thigh wrap.
The thigh wraps connect to the boots with an air hose.
The air hose is removable but needs to be connected during use.
The stiff and flat control cables are permanently attached to both the controller and the boots.
They both connect to the bottom of the controller, right next to the power connection.
The controller is large. It has a monochrome backlit LDC display.
All functions are controlled with a six-button pad.
Pressing the Heat button cycles the heat from off-low-high. Pressing the Mode button cycles through the four modes:
- Auto – full leg massage (foot + calf + thigh)
- Mode 1 – foot massage
- Mode 2 – calf massage
- Mode 3 – thigh massage
The -/+ switch steps the intensity level down/up through the four available levels.
The power switch turns the unit on and begins the massage or turns the unit off and deflates the airbags.
The back of the controller has all the usual tech info.
If you want to take these along with you when you travel, Bob & Brad include a carry bag that is just big enough to hold everything in about 20 inches by about 12 inches by 5 inches thick.
The only setup needed for the Bob and Brad leg compression massager is to plug the power adapter into the wall and the controller. Then, open the velcro and put on the boots and thigh wraps.
We spent the day wandering around the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. What that equated to was really a lot of standing in line. Days like that do a number on my aging legs. After we got home, my legs were a little achy and antsy. Seemed like a perfect opportunity to test the Bob and Brad leg compression massager!
After some twisting, bending and contorting, I was all strapped in and ready to go. The velcro closure lets you customize the fit across a wide range of leg sizes. The manual recommends that you “don’t wrap too tight or too loose. That’s a little vague. It does explain that you should size it so that you can easily slip fingers between your leg and the boot.
I opted for the full-leg massage on intensity level 4 and high heat.
The display screen shows you where the massage is happening (foot, calf, thigh – in this case, all three at the same time), the heat level, mode, intensity level, and remaining time. It is only visible when the backlight is on and that light doesn’t stay on for more than a few seconds after pushing a button. I’d like an option to leave the light on.
This uses airbags to provide compression and that air has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the controller. There is a small air compressor built into the controller, which means it makes a vibrating noise. It isn’t terribly loud but it certainly isn’t silent. The other thing that an air compressor produces is heat and the controller does get warm. Again, it isn’t what I would call “hot”, but it does get pretty warm. Care needs to be taken so that the controller sits out unobstructed and doesn’t slip between cushions. This will help prevent overheating.
So, what is it like to use the Bob and Brad leg compression massager? It feels like someone is squeezing your feet, calves, and thighs. Picture a person with large hands, wrapping them around your leg and then squeezing. The massage starts with the feet, then the calves, then the thighs. Once all are compressed, the unit cycles around, varying the compression level across all three areas. Of course, you can choose a mode to isolate just one area, but for me, getting my entire leg massaged is the sweet spot.
I also opted for high heat. The heat is modest and I liked that. It never felt uncomfortably hot – just pleasantly warm and it enhanced the overall experience.
In a much-too-short 15 minutes, the air started bleeding out of the airbags and the massage was done. The manual says to limit use to 15 minutes, but I was a rebel and used it for a second 15-minute session. After 30 minutes, my legs felt great. The manual does caution that overuse can make the controller overheat, so that is something to watch out for.
It would be awesome if this was battery-powered so you don’t have to be near wall power, but I expect that the size of the battery would be too large to be practical.
What I like
- Does a very nice job of providing a heated compression massage across the entire leg
- You can target specific areas if needed
- Comfortable once you get into them
- The construction appears to be first-rate with tough fabrics and strong velcro closures
- The range of intensities means even folks with sensitive legs can still get a nice massage
What I’d change
- Cumbersome to put on and take off
- 15 minutes isn’t long enough for me
- I’d like an option to keep the display light on
- Battery power would be awesome
We’re aging, but still active. We both get sore and tired legs from time to time. Having a personal leg masseuse always on-call isn’t practical. Having the Bob and Brad leg compression massager is nearly as good, and is much easier to schedule. I’ve used it several times now and each time, my legs come out feeling great. I expect this will get a lot of use around here.