We found out about Firefly in speaking with the Head PT/Trainer at the Orlando Magic. Frankly, we like to think we're pretty on top of this stuff. Once we looked into the device, we were surprised how many pro teams are using it for recovery and we'd never heard of it!
We also discovered on a recent trip to Nike that a bunch of their top athletes have also started using it. The best sign of a device that really works is when all the pros are using it, but nobody wants to talk about it!
The device is called a Firefly. It's super easy to use and, for a recovery device, it's not expensive.
Originally developed as a recovery tool for orthopedic patients to keep blood flowing to their lower extremities post-surgery, it's been adapted as an "active recovery" device that increases blood flow and dramatically lowers inflammation in your legs and feet.
What is it?
The Firefly sticks on your leg just below your knee and uses a low-grade electric buzzing signal that stimulates the peroneal nerve on the knee, contracting your calf muscle and increasing blood flow...
You simply stick it on, strap it in, sit back and watch your muscles twitch. The best part is that you can go to work, walk around, and carry on your day while the Firefly is helping you recover (but I would avoid driving as your foot can "flutter" if you have it turned up high)
If you're trying to speed recovery from an injury, just performed a heavy training block, or are keen on multi-tasking, Firefly is your secret weapon to faster recovery.
Recent research papers validate Firefly as a device to increase blood flow although the real benefits are visible on diagnostic ultrasound. You can actually see the reduction in inflammation first hand as blood goes rushing through your lower extremities. 🦵
Personally, I love Firefly. It's convenient. I can use it while hanging with my kids, while cooking dinner, even while sleeping. I can literally see it working, I can feel it working- although it's not uncomfortable or painful. Best of all, it makes a huge difference in recovery time and I always notice a major decrease in soreness after using it.
Firefly is a reusable device but has a limited lifespan. It's good for approximately 30 hours of use, then you dispose of it and use a new one. The reason is that the sticky gel becomes less effective over time and you can't swap the battery or recharge it.
Another important usage note to get the most out of your device is to use the knee strap. If you're purchasing for the first time, get the Starter Kit with the Knee Strap included!
While you may not need the knee strap the first time you use a firefly (as the gel is super sticky), after a few uses, you will want the knee strap to keep the firefly anchored firmly in place. It also makes it much easier to go walking around and do things while you have the firefly on.
If your competition schedule requires heavy travel, you're trying to expedite recovery from an injury, or just performed a heavy training block, Firefly is your secret weapon to faster recovery.
How to use the device
The firefly operates at 7 different intensity levels. Athletes typically wear it from 2 - 4 hours at a time. However, many athletes are wearing it for the duration of overseas flights, or as an overnight aid from injury.
How to wear the Firefly
Firefly is placed directly over the fibular head (round bone below the joint line of the knee). Be careful not to impinge on the crease of the knee.
When activating Firefly look for calf pump and slight dorsiflexion as blood flow increases muscle contraction.
With your heel on the ground, you should see your foot move. The pulse becomes insignificant after a couple of minutes and you can carry on with your normal activities.
Twitching is more noticeable when your leg is flexed and less when your leg is straight.
If you need to recover quickly and/or are required to spend time in planes, trains, and automobiles, the firefly becomes invaluable.
Battery Duration and Information - Each Strap has approximately 30 hours of usage (1 to 2 weeks depending on how much you use it) - These are one-time use straps so batteries cannot be recharged or replaced.