Blood Flow Restriction (BFR)

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR)

Blood flow restricted (BFR) rehabilitation is the brief and intermittent occlusion of venous (veins) blood flow using a tourniquet while exercising. Using this technique, you can exercise with significantly lighter weight while still creating a hypertrophy (growth) and strength response. Traditionally to get a hypertrophy and strength response in your muscles you would need to lift a heavy load. Unfortunately, persons recovering from surgery or injury may not be candidates for higher load training. BFR training allows the patient to gain the benefits of higher load training, even during periods that they may be limited due to restrictions such as postoperative guidelines, pain, etc.

Application
The goal is to reduce just enough blood flow to create positive changes. However, the amount of pressure used varies between individuals. The size of your limb, density of the soft tissue in your limb, blood pressure, placement of the tourniquet cuff and width of the tourniquet cuff all must be taken into account when determining your personalized pressure. Our therapists will utilize a specialized tourniquet system with built in monitor to account for these variables. Additionally, our therapists will discuss potential contraindications to this treatment with you to determine if you are a candidate.

Training
Once your personalized pressure is determined you will begin specific exercises based on you rehabilitation plan. Even though you are lifting a light weight your muscle will begin to feel like it is working very hard. This feeling in your muscle is the buildup of lactate and is the desired response of this training. You may also begin to sweat and feel your heart rate rise similar to a heavy workout. This is common and expected.

Effects
After you have completed your exercise session and you have built up sufficient lactate many positive effects can occur. These include an increase in growth hormone and other anabolic (positive) muscle growth factors. There will also be an increase in muscle protein synthesis, your muscles ability to grow.