What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?
Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) involves the use of a personalized tourniquet device similar to a blood pressure cuff. The personalized tourniquet system applies a pressure high enough to occlude 50-80% of blood flow to the muscles we wish to affect. By decreasing blood flow to working muscles, BFR training promotes hypertrophy of muscles and further prevents muscle wasting from disuse. Normal placement of the tourniquet device is to the upper arm or upper thigh. The application of the device is brief and intermittent, typically about 8 minutes per exercise but can vary based on your exercise prescription.
Is BFR training safe?
The personalized tourniquet system has consistently demonstrated to be a safe piece of exercise equipment in the literature. It has been performed on thousands of people in the peer-reviewed literature with little to no side effects. Clinicians are always encouraged to use an FDA device listed tourniquet system specifically indicated for BFR use and with built in safety features such as the ability to detect limb occlusion pressure when performing PBFR.
Is BFR training right for me?
After an injury or surgery a patient is usually unable to tolerate heavy weight or increased resistance for muscle strengthening. BFRT allows the patient to begin strength training at a much earlier time during the rehabilitation process. Clinically blood flow restriction training can be applied to many diagnoses with very positive results including but not limited to total joint replacements, Achilles repairs, fractures, rotator cuff repairs, muscle strains, nerve injuries, post-operative knee reconstructions and cartilage repairs, deconditioned muscles and tendinopathies.
Your Physical Therapist can help you decide if BFR training is right for you.