This month we will focus on all the various forms of technology we use regularly at the clinic to enhance patient care! Today we are focusing on Blood Flow Restriction.
Did you know?
The use of Blood Flow Restriction technology with tourniquets has been an absolute game-changer in both rehabs and sports-specific training the last few years. BFR sessions put little stress on joints and are perfect for rehab and in-season training for athletes
So what is BFR?
BFR is a form of exercise that manipulates the body’s circulatory system. This method utilizes pneumatic tourniquets to allow arterial blood flow but reduces venous return to create an optimal anabolic environment to aid in muscular hypertrophy without the cellular damage caused by heavy lifting. The arteries are not occluded with this procedure and continue to feed the limbs blood flow during the treatment session. The bands are inflated to individualized pressures prescribed by our clinicians.
How do we incorporate this into Physical Therapy?
Sport/position-specific low-load exercise produces profound muscle “burn” comparable to intense anaerobic training. This strong fatigue triggers the body to release hormones such as human growth hormone (HGH) and IGF-1 which in turn aids with muscle growth comparable with heavy exercise or traditional weight lifting. The hormones circulating in the bloodstream benefit all areas of the body that were working creating a systemic benefit. The BFR “burn” is an intense experience with profound effects.
At our clinic, we have 2 very different BFR systems at our disposal with very different technologies built-in.
B Strong bands are very safe and comfortable to use. They have a guidance app to help you establish safe working pressures based off of cuff size, patient age, and fitness level. These bands are very safe and they have proprietary safety technology built into them. Even if completely inflated (not recommended), arterial flow can never reach limb occlusion pressure (LOP) This is the pressure required to completely block arterial flow. The B strong system is great for younger or de-conditioned patients, or patients looking for a great home use system as well as individuals new to BFR training. These bands are also more narrow and much more comfortable for aerobic exercise such as running. They work great and are still very applicable to high-level athletes as well.
The Smart Cuffs Pro system from Smart Tools is designed to be used by a medical professional. These cuffs are listed with the FDA as a Class 1 Medical Device.
They offer two unique proprietary modes we use regularly in the clinic.
Personalized Pressure feature: This mode allows for fast, “worry-free LOP” calculation. With the built-in pressure sensor and onboard computer, there is no need for an external doppler probe or hand pump. The unit will do everything for you. Working pressures can range from 50-80% LOP in the legs and 20-50% LOP in the arms. These are set by our clinicians.
AutoRegulate mode: This option will allow the user to maintain the pre-set LOP % pressure throughout the exercise duration.
At @evolutionphysiopro we use BFR with rehab and also offer sport-specific sessions for athletes looking for an added edge or supplemental sessions on recovery or regen days.
Please call our office if you are interested in adding BFR technology to your program. We offer sessions at both our Denver and Parker offices.
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