blood flow restriction therapy
Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFR) is a form of exercise that manipulates the body’s circulatory system. BFR training utilizes pneumatic bands to allow arterial blood flow but reduces venous return to create an optimal anabolic environment for muscular hypertrophy while exercising.
Arterial flow is not occluded with this procedure and the arteries continue to feed the limb's blood flow during the treatment session. The bands are inflated to individualized pressures prescribed by our clinical guidelines. Once the safe pressures have been established by the clinician, the patient will be put through a series of individualized exercises.
Simple, low-load exercises produce profound muscle “burn” comparable to intense anaerobic training.
This strong fatigue triggers the body to release hormones such as human growth hormone (HGH), which in turn produces hypertrophy and strength gains comparable to heavy exercise or traditional weight lifting. The hormones circulating in the blood stream benefit all areas of the body that were working, thereby creating a systemic benefit.
Not only can BFR training improve performance, but it's a very safe and effective tool to use with the rehabilitation of injuries in a physical therapy setting. Often, patients can be limited for several weeks due to restricted motion, muscle suppression or their weight-bearing status. During this time, traditional early phase strengthening programs can plateau with their effectiveness. By adding BFR to the early stages of rehab, we can get the same effect as heavy load weight lifting without stressing the healing structures. This type of exercise is also great in healthy aging patient populations with advancing osteoarthritis. BFR allows these patients to exercise at low intensities while creating an environment where the body believes it is working at higher intensities so that muscular hypertrophy pathways are activated. It provides a perfect scenario for rehabilitation.
Not all patients are candidates for Blood Flow Restriction therapy. Certain health conditions are contraindicated for this treatment. Your physical therapist will determine if BFR is appropriate and indicated for your condition.