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Do you Voodoo?

By: Clint Russell, DPT

What is Voodoo floss? I’m sure you’ve see people wrapping their elbows or knees and wondered why. How is that supposed to help? I’m going to give you a little more information on these bands and what exactly they do to hopefully help you understand what is going on from a physiological standpoint. There are also some video demos at the bottom.

Voodoo floss refers to using elastic bands for wrapping around problem areas to create change. This has been around in the powerlifting world for many years and has been popularized by Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD. They are widely used by CrossFitters, olympic lifters, gymnasts, and powerlifters. However they are not widely understood.

There are 4 proposed effects of flossing:

  • Fascial Shear
  • Occlusive Hyperemia
  • Temporary Joint Centration
  • Pain Gaiting

Fascial Shear: The body has layers of fascia that are supposed to move upon one another. These adhere to each other and become restricted. If we add compression, and then force motion, it will break up the myofascial restrictions. This will then allow the layers to move more freely, resulting in increased range of motion. Research mentions using passive or active range of motion with the bands to create change. I have had much better results both for myself and others, with active movement while using compression with the bands.

Occlusive Hyperemia: When the band is wrapped around an area, blood flow is partially occluded. When the tissue goes through active range of motion, a pressure gradient is created and blood is pushed out of the area. When the band is taken off new blood rushes in to the tissue. This is proposed to cause one or both of these benefits:

  • flushing out waste products
  • quickly supply new nutrients and hormones to the area
  • help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle soreness

A study was performed regarding the effects of compression band treatment on muscle recovery after an eccentric fatiguing exercise. One group used floss on their quads post leg exercises. Two days post recovery, according to peak torque, the banded subjects were able to produce more power than the non-banded subjects.

Temporary Joint Centration: By compressing the joint down and adding movement, the joint is approximated in a better position. This reinforces a better pattern of joint movement. When a band is placed around a joint and the joint is forced to bend it creates a fulcrum at the axis of motion, causing a gapping effect within the joint space.

Pain Gaiting: When applied tightly, it causes a stretching sensation on the skin, which can be a bit painful. This can override the body’s pain signal for the joint that is wrapped, allowing more freedom of movement.

Harrison, Roehl, Skog et el al. The Effects of Compression Band Treatment on Muscle Recovery after Eccentric Fatiguing Exercise. University of Wisconsin 2014.

Kochoa, Paul DPT, Using a Voodoo Band to Restore Motion. Professional Physical Therapy &Training LLC. 2017.

Stevens Benjamin D.C. Voodoo Floss: How Does it work? Valeo Health Clinic 2014.

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Krysia Angle

Physical Therapist

Krysia grew up in the Northern Virginia area. She completed her undergraduate degree in Dance at Towson University, and her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree at Old Dominion University. In addition to physical therapy, she has certifications to teach yoga, and the Pilates method. Her husband’s Navy career brought her to San Diego. She has worked with many athletes and artists throughout her career. She enjoys helping people use movement as a way to heal, and get back to doing the activities they love.


Alyssa Tieber, DPT

Alyssa grew up in Missouri and received her undergraduate degree in Athletic Training at Missouri State University and then got her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her husband’s career in the Navy brought their family to the San Diego area. Her career focuses on helping kids and adults recover from orthopedic injuries to accomplish their individualized goals. She has worked with athletes from many different sports and levels from little leaguers to Division 1 athletes to weekend warriors. Her passion is to share her love for movement and help others reach their potential to live a healthy, active life.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification

Melissa Rollenhagen, DPT

Melissa has always had a love of sports that led to her career as a Physical Therapist. She was born and raised in Michigan and attended Central Michigan University to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Her husband’s career in the Navy recently brought her to San Diego. She has been practicing for 13 years with an emphasis on sports related injuries and rehabilitation. She has a passion for helping people achieve their goals and live their best lives.


Founder & CEO

Bryan “Clint” Russell, DPT: Clint decided to go to PT school after years of running a gym and researching how to help himself and others stay strong and prevent and rehab injuries. A native Texan, he played football and rant rack in high school. He attended Texas A&M before relocating to San Diego with the Navy. Prior to attending PT school through University of St. Augustine, he worked as an instructor at SERE school. He is the owner of CrossFit Coronado and runs the PT practice alongside the gym.


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