How Blood Flow Restriction Therapy Works

To achieve muscle growth, you need to add more protein to your muscles than you break down. During Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFR), blood flows to working muscles via arterial flow but the veins are restricted so blood is partially prevented from leaving. This creates a release of hormones throughout the body, which causes protein synthesis. BFR forces the body to activate all of the muscles on the limb where the blood flow is restricted. In order to maintain force output, metabolites (such as lactic acid) build up in the muscle and stimulate the large, fast-twitch muscle fibers – the kind typically triggered in heavy weight lifting that produces strength and power.

For instance, the arm might be wrapped just below the shoulder and the thigh wrapped just below the gluteal fold. The muscle is then worked at a low intensity – usually about 20% to 30% of your max.

The Results

The goal of BFR therapy is to help patients gain more strength while lifting lighter loads (and reducing stress placed on the limb). The results are amazing: Increased muscle hypertrophy (muscle size); Improved muscle endurance in 1/3 the time; Increased strength while only lifting 30% of the weight it would normally take.

Although BFR is still fairly new, it could eventually prove that high-intensity resistance training is not necessary to improve strength, which in turn, could reduce injuries.

Is BFR Therapy Right For You?

If done with professionally trained, BFR-certified physical therapists, such as the team at Southern Rehab, this kind of therapy is safe, comfortable and effective for any age or athletic ability. BFR can be especially helpful for patients wanting to heal faster from
– Most all knee pain/injuries
– Tennis elbow
– A history of ankle sprains
– A loss of strength from muscle disuse
– A stroke or spinal cord injury
– An operation like tendon repair, rotator cuff repair, hip/knee replacement
– Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
– And more!

However, if you have a history of varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or are pregnant, BFR therapy is not for you.

If you have any questions or you’re eager to give BFR therapy a try, contact Southern Rehab and Sports Medicine. With four locations in LaGrange, West Point Columbus and Newnan, we’re close by and ready to help. Fill out the form below to schedule an appointment.