Thursday, January 19, 2023

Stimcare Patches Multi Tester Review: Injury & Pain Relief, Stimulation, and Inflammation Draining

Article by Mike Postaski, Jeremy Marie, Derek Li, Jeff McIntyre, and Michael Ellenberger

Stimcare Patches


Editor Note (Sam) Stimcare is a French company founded by Arnaud Tortel. Arnaud has long been associated with Salomon treating many of their elite athletes as a physiotherapist while also incorporating the Stimcare ttreatment essence into Salomon’s NSO apparel in collaboration with top athletes including Kilian Jornet, Emilie Forsberg and François d’Haene

I saw Arnaud in action, or I saw the long line of athletes outside his hotel room door  at Golden Trail Series Final on Maderia Island where he treated dozens of athletes nightly after the 5 stages of rough fast and slippery trail runs over 5 days. 

I was amazed some were able to get back out there the next day after I saw them gimping after each race. Many were festooned with multiple blue patches, Stimcare patches that is.

Elhousine Elazzaoui of Morocco finished 2nd on the last stage and 8th overall. 2 days before the last stage he could barely walk. I thought he was done! Note all his Stimcare patches.


So I had to try to connect with Arnaud. He was of course too busy treating the wounded chance we sat next to each other on the plane back to Portugal and we connected.

What are Stimcare patches and what are they supposed to do? From Stimcare’s site:

STIMULATE: Increases the dilation of blood capillaries in the muscles


DRAIN: Accelerates the drainage of the inflammatory zone of the ligaments, joints and muscles


RELIEF: Promotes muscle relaxation, reduces joint and ligament discomfort quickly and effectively

The STIMCARE patch uses the patented eNOsyntexTM technology based on the oxidation-reflection principle.

We set out to find out if and how they worked with our testers having a wide variety of run related ailments.

The patented eNOsyntex technology is composed of a unique blend of natural mineral oxides carefully selected for their infrared reflection properties. This natural mirror reflects more than 95% of the infrared radiation (between 3 and 20 microns) naturally emitted by the cells of the human body. This concentration of infrared reflected at precise points under the patch, stimulates the enzyme eNOsynthase (sensitive to far infrared) which accelerates the dilation of capillaries, resulting in a fluidification of body fluids, an accelerated elimination of toxins as well as a better supply of oxygen and nutrients. oxygen and nutrients. This activation has the effect of increasing the drainage of the inflammatory zone , bringing rapid relief.

Arnaud generously sent over 200 patches to the RTR team to test. Here is what they found, noting that this is not a scientific study. 

Mike Postaski: When offered the chance to try out StimCare patches, I took up the opportunity - but not necessarily for running reasons. My wife was dealing with some neck issues from office work, and at nearly the same time, I also strained my neck a bit from an awkward ski fall. By the time I received the patches, those issues had cleared up. I entered a local “Santa Run” which was pretty fast (at 20 degrees F too) - and picked up a slight strain on a tendon behind my knee. Good chance to test the patch.

I applied the patch late in the day (after the race) after taking a shower and fully drying off. 

The strain was on the tendon on the inside of the upper left leg, just above the knee. I don’t even know what it’s called, but it must have been some kind of micro-tear. I felt some acute pain when applying downward pressure on the floor and articulating my leg. As you can see it’s a pretty tricky spot, prone to twisting and stretching with motion. I didn’t cut any slits in the patch - and actually I applied it when my leg was bent, which was probably a mistake. When I fully extended my leg after application, I could feel the patch pulling a bit, and I thought it might fall off. I tried not to stretch out my leg too much initially.

I was surprised that the patch did stay on - for an entire week in fact! The week included 15+ hours of training - running, indoor biking, and one skimo session (and showers of course). I actually peeled the patch off after a week otherwise it would have stayed on even longer - it was just starting to show some fraying at the edges - but still fully adhered.

As far as effectiveness, it’s obviously not a randomized controlled trial, but my little strain/micro tear did gradually go away over the course of the week. The patch itself felt comfortable throughout the week’s training, and did not hinder movement or mobility at all. 

The patch does feel supportive in a way similar to KT tape, but the StimCare patch claims to provide additional benefits other than just the mechanical support. How does “reflecting the body’s own infrared radiation” work exactly? I have no idea, but in my case the observation is - a) the patch sticks very well, and b) my issue was resolved within 1 week. I will definitely continue to use the StimCare patches if any other niggles pop up.

Tester Profile

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. In 2022 Mike won both the Standhope 100M and IMTUF 100M trail ultras within a 7 week period - both extremely rugged Idaho mountain races. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

Jeremy Marie: When I was offered the possibility to test the patches that we often see on Salomon elite athletes, I was instantly interested. Being always a bit skeptical of these kinds of new health “devices”, I’ve also immediately jumped on my screen and browsed the internet for medical tests and validations, observations on the technologies behind the patches.

The patches throw back IR waves emitted by the body, especially where there is some scar tissue, in order to locally slightly increase the temperature, maximize blood circulation by expanding blood vessels, and enhance the metabolism.

Expected effects are some pain relief, shortening healing time, minimizing muscular stress…helping to heal the pains that every athlete can have to deal with in his everyday life.

My skepticism has kinda silenced down as there are some principles that I can see working  - and now I had the opportunity to test it.

The patches just came when my wife developed some pain near the hip. She runs once or twice a week and does one crossfit session, plus some yoga. 

She accepted to be patched, and her feedback was quite good. No miraculous healing (I’ve warned here not to expect some magic), but indeed some pain relief during the four days she kept the patch on. It’s difficult to assess on any quicker healing, but the fact was: she felt some comfort and relief with the patch.

Not long after that first experience, I’ve finally developed some pain in my low back, a quite sensitive place for me, well helped after probably my biggest year - I’m talking about sports - and some 17-20h per week of training (run, bike, swim). And with this came quite a bit of tension in the left hamstring - I’m pretty sure that the two are tightly linked as I know that some imbalances in tightness/contraction between posterior/anterior chains are not good at all for the back. Mixing a lot of cycling with my running, these kinds of things can happen.

I followed the instructions on the Stimcare website for hamstring pain, and also the one for lower back pains, and put the patches at night, on clean and well-dried skin, knowing that the day after was a day off.

The patches stick very strongly to the skin, and as long as you don’t sweat immediately after putting them on, you don’t need to worry about them falling off. 

It’s not easy to prove, scientifically prove, that the patches help. But those aches that I face quite regularly, do tend to last longer without the patches, and are a bit more intense. 

So I was more comfortable than without Stimcare patches.

It was quite a nice experience given my initial skepticism, and I think I can give credit to Stimcare patches in minimizing the annoyance of little to medium pains in a runner’s life. Plus, it gives you a terrific elite runner look!

I appreciate that their discourse does not oversell. The  do not promise miraculous healing, just some quickening of healing and toning down the pain.

The negative aspect is the quantity of patches that are necessary to address some pains. If you start using them on every little ache, you’ll run out of stock quickly and it can become quite costly.

Tester Profile

Jeremy MARIE, French, 40y/o. Running since 2013 and quickly transitioned to trails, focused on ultras since 2015 : TDS, Maxi-Race, “100 miles du Sud”, 90kms du Mt Blanc, GRP 120kms, Some shorter mellow races (Saintelyon 45kms, Ecotrail Paris 45kms…) with always in the mix road and flat running, but not many road races. Recovery/easy runs ~4’45/km - 4’30/km. He has an un-official marathon PR of 2h54 (solo) and 10K PR of 36’25. He does few timed road races.

Michael Ellenberger

Like Derek, I suffer from (relatively) minor, but chronic, discomforts. It might amuse readers to know that I recently compiled all of my running logs I had access to - dating back to 2007, when I started recording on FloTrack (because they were a running log platform at that time) - and my first mention of “Achilles” came within a week, in June 2007. Here we are, 15 years or so later, and I’m still dealing with it. All that to say - it’s rare that I miss training due to injuries, more than a day here or there, but that’s not to say I’m not always battling something!

So, given that, it should be obvious that I jumped at the chance to try StimCare patches. 

Like others, my first stop was to the StimCare website to figure out what to do, exactly - once there, I followed the instructions on the Stimcare website for tips on dealing with Achilles pain, and later on hamstring pain (though my niggle at that time was more directed to adductor, which I didn’t find a video for). 

Functionally, I found the patches to stick okay - they stuck very well if given a long lead time (when I applied in the evening to my quad and didn’t run until the subsequent afternoon, I think the patch lasted 3 days, and it was tough work peeling it off!), but I did notice that attempting to run (and sweat) shortly after applying the patches was a recipe for them to fall off. The Achilles is a hard place to adhere anything, already, and if you don’t give the StimCare patches adequate time to latch, they will fall off pretty readily.

For performance, I agree that determining effectiveness is tough. For my Achilles, I actually found the most success in pain alleviation, but it wasn’t massive - I think the tension of the adhesive acts similar to something like KT Tape, and allows for the reduction in some inflammation around the tendon. It was not a magic bullet, but I did notice some mild improvements. On my quad, it was hard to determine - though I also, in hindsight, would probably have placed them differently (and was by then out of patches to re-apply!).

Overall, the best thing I can say is that I did use all of the patches sent, and I was only pleased with the outcomes from trying StimCare. I won’t sit here and say this is a must-have, but I also don’t think that’s necessarily for shoe reviewers to tell you - this is functionally a medical product (or at the very least, a medical-adjacent product), and I think studies on the effectiveness and the science are probably going to be more relevant here than my impressions. But! If you’ve read the StimCare disclosures and any scientific evidence, and are interested, then I certainly would encourage you to try - the StimCare team knows what they’re doing, and I’m excited to get more patches in the future and continue to put them to use!

Michael is a patent attorney and graduate of Northwestern University Law School. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). Michael’s PRs include a 67:43 half-marathon (Chicago Half-Marathon) and 2:22:18 marathon from the 2022 Chicago Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.


Mac- Full disclosure: I am pretty skeptical of similar LOOKING products. In my experience, I consider KT tape to be a placebo (placebos work, by the way, if you believe in them), and although lidocaine might take the edge off of pain, it does much to address the root cause of an injury. 

With that in mind, I was excited to get to try these, both for myself and for the athletes I coach. StimCare makes the intriguing claim to treat injury by using your body’s heat to increase blood flow to treat problem areas; no transdermal medication needed. 

So far, I have applied these to a shoulder injury, tennis elbow, a lower back strain, and two calf strains in my athletes. Only one of these athletes had ever used any sort of patch before, but 3 of them had used some sort of compression device for competition or recovery (these patches don’t claim compression - nor should they - I am just trying to paint as complete of a picture as possible). 

We watched the application videos and tried to follow all recommendations while applying the patches. 

I don’t have a super scientific way to test these, obviously, but I did give my athletes a subjective scale to grade the patch on after 5-7 days: 

1: The patch made the injury worse, 

2. The patch made no difference, 

3. The patch made the injury somewhat better, and 

4. The patch made the injury much better. 

Of the five athletes I have tested so far, four gave the patch a 3 (somewhat better) and one gave it a 4 (much better). The 4 was one of the calf strains, for what it’s worth. Surprisingly to me, not a single athlete reported a 2 (no difference). 

What does all of this mean? Well, it means that - with a small sample size and unscientific data collection - I am encouraged by the potential of these patches. I would love to hear more experiences in the comments section. 

Tester Profile

Jeff Mac is a former 275 lbs American football defensive lineman who took up running at age 30. Now, at 6’4” (193cm) 200 lbs (91kg) , he has PRs of 19:19, 1:33:34, and 3:19:20. He runs 50-70 miles per week. He coaches high school runners.

Derek Li: My injury is a bit more chronic. I was in the middle of my marathon build for the Chicago marathon in October. At some point in early September, I started to feel some soreness in my left upper hamstring. I was sort of getting by with stretching and massages and cutting short the odd workout but things were slowly getting better. 

By race day in October, the hamstring was still sore and tight but I got through the race well enough and came very close to a lifetime marathon PR. I obviously pushed very hard because I could barely jog 2 weeks after the race from the pain in the hamstring. 

I went to see a Sports Medicine specialist and the scan showed edema around the conjoint tendon of the hamstring where it inserted into the hip bone. The size of the edema also made it suggestive of a tear. I got a platelet rich plasma injection into the area of inflammation on 9th November, 5 weeks after the marathon, and had another couple of weeks of slow jogging, massage, stretching and strengthening work after that. 

I only got back to some semblance of smoother running in late December. I started using the Stimcare patches on 17th December so this was some time after I had already done a fair bit of rehabilitation and the platelet injection for the injury. 

The great thing about Stimcare is that they are run by health professionals. As my injury is quite specific, the introductory videos on their website did not address my concern as to where I should apply my patches. I emailed Stimcare and got a reply within 1-2 days with very detailed instructions on where to apply the patches. Unlike most injuries, they felt that my problem was due to an imbalance of tension between the anterior chain and posterior chain of my injured leg, and an imbalance of tension between the left and right leg as well.

I got a list of 9, yes NINE, places to apply patches. 

I started doing this and one of the first things I noticed was that the patches come off quite easily if you run very soon after applying the patches. By trial and error, I found it best to apply the patches before bed and then running in the morning, to minimize the risk of the patches coming off early in the run. 

Bear in mind that during this testing phase of the Stimcare patches, I’ve already gone through quite a lot of rehab and continue to do regular strength and stretching and massage work alongside building up the running volume and pace. 

So far, things are getting better very gradually. I would say I am still not really running pain free, but at least I can feel like hip extension and hamstring power are at say 90-95% of pre-injury level. 

It’s hard to really say how much the patches have contributed really. I do feel like they give me better awareness of ankle angulation during foot strike but in terms of medicinal properties, I am not so sure. 

The photos give you an idea of where I am applying patches. 

Only one patch right against my left buttock is not visible. 

Both legs require patches and consequently, I go through a lot of patches at a time. I would like to keep testing, but I’m running out of them pretty fast! 

Derek is in his 40’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:39 marathon PR from the 2022 Zurich Marathon. Derek is a family medicine physician.

Stimcare Patches for Sport (tested here), and for Arthritis, Periods, Digestion 

can be purchased direct from Stimcare HERE (Ship Worldwide)

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