Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFR) is an innovative technique to enhance your physical therapy strengthening program.
BFR was first used by bodybuilders and powerlifters in the ’60s to increase their muscle mass, and over the years the technique has been refined to become safe and applicable in a rehab setting.
To understand how BFR works, you have to first understand how muscles undergo hypertrophy (get big and strong).
When you exercise at a higher intensity, two stimuli send signals to the body to build more muscle – mechanical stress, which causes microtears in the muscle (this is normal and healthy!), and an increase in the concentration of metabolites (like lactate/hydrogen ions, and anabolic hormones). For patients in PT, things like pain, post-operative restrictions, and comorbidities can make it almost impossible to exercise at a high enough intensity to cause these two stimuli to trigger, especially if the patient is just starting their PT program. However, it turns out that only one of these stimuli, namely the metabolites, is needed to cause hypertrophy and improve strength. This is where BFR comes in!
By exercising with a pressurized strap applied to the limb being treated, the amount of venous blood (blood returning to the heart) is decreased, which allows for greater production of metabolites that remain longer within the limb. Also, thanks to the strap, the exercise itself does not have to be vigorous for the metabolites to be released.
In other words, through the use of BFR, a low-intensity exercise that would not normally cause muscle hypertrophy can do so without stressing the joints or tearing the muscles.
BFR is a safe technique to progress strengthening under a therapist’s supervision.
Contact us below to learn more about BFR or to schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of our therapists. The therapist will provide an individualized assessment to develop a customized treatment plan to help you attain your goals. We offer in-person visits at our clinic in Riverdale, concierge in-home sessions, and virtual visits over telehealth to cater to all of your needs.
We look forward to helping you achieve your wellness goals.
TeaMPT: Rachel, Julie, Christine, Yoshi, Liz, Heidi, Kasandra, Michael, and Toni