BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION THERAPY
BFR is a form of exercise that manipulates the body’s circulatory system. BFR utilizes pneumatic bands to allow arterial blood flow but reduces venous return to create an optimal anabolic environment for muscular hypertrophy while exercising. Given the superficial nature of veins, only moderate pressures are required. 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 utilizing Doppler Ultrasound. If limb occlusion pressure (LOP) is properly measured using Doppler Ultrasound, and clinical guidelines are followed about working pressures, the risk of using BFR is extremely low. Once the safe pressures have been established by the clinician the patient/client will be put through a series of individualized exercises.
Simple, 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), which in turn produces hypertrophy and strength gains comparable with heavy exercise or traditional weight lifting. The hormones circulating in the blood stream benefit all areas of the body that were working creating a systemic benefit. BFR sessions are short and should never last longer than 20 minutes.
Not only can BFR training improve performance but it is a very safe and effective tool to use with the rehabilitation of injuries in a physical therapy setting. Many times patients be limited for several weeks due to restricted motion, muscle suppression, or their weight bearing status. During this time traditional early phase strengthening programs will often plateau with their effectiveness during this phase. By adding BFR to the early stages of rehab we can get the same effect as heavy high load weight lifting without stressing 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’s provides a perfect scenario for rehabilitation.
Not all patients are candidates for BFR therapy. Please consult your therapist if you are interested in this type of therapy. They will determine if it is appropriate and indicated for your condition. Certain health conditions are contraindicated for this treatment.