Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy or “BFR” is a physical therapy treatment that restricts blood flow to a muscle. In BFR, the physical therapist applies a device, similar to a blood pressure cuff or tourniquet, to safely partially compress the blood vessels underneath.

The therapist determines the amount of pressure to use: enough pressure to completely restrict the venous blood flow (blood leaving the muscle) while allowing arterial blood flow (blood going into the muscle). By doing this, a low oxygen environment is created in the muscle which begins a cascade of events leading to an increase in growth hormones, muscle size, and muscle strength.

During BFR therapy, a patient exercises with the BFR device on the arm or leg, typically doing high repetitions of a particular exercise using light weights.  This allows the patient to receive the benefits of heavy lifting without placing unnecessary stress on the limb or tissues that might be healing from a recent injury or surgery.

The benefits of BFR are as follows:

  • Increased strength faster than traditional strength training
  • Increased size of muscle
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Maintain muscle mass during periods of disuse (after surgery or injury)
  • Increased bone density

At Bodyworks Physical Therapy, your physical therapist will help you determine if BFR Therapy is right for you!

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