What is Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) therapy utilizes an FDA-approved occlusion cuff to decrease blood flow to a limb, while performing light exercise, which results in amazing muscular strength and endurance gains.
How Does it Work?
By restricting blood flow to the muscles of that limb, the muscle is tricked into thinking that it is undergoing significant breakdown. This stimulates the muscle to signal a greater response for repair although no true damage is occurring. The body will release growth factors as well as begin a repair cascade that mirrors that of lifting heavy weights. This technique has been shown to decrease return to activity time in many post-surgical conditions in which the joint cannot be loaded with heavy resistance.
BFR therapy is also a very effective recovery tool used with an athletic population undergoing intense training. By training with BFR therapy on recovery days further stimulate repair of the muscles without any further muscle tissue breakdown. This improves recovery time and allows a faster return to intense training/activity.
Why Is This So Important?
A problem in our profession is that in order to increase muscle size and strength, it is well established that you need to overload muscle tissue to stimulate growth. However, a lot of our patients, either due to injury or pain, cannot tolerate the loads necessary to gain muscle strength. But by using Blood Flow Restriction Therapy, we are able to get similar gains without using heavy weight and therefore, protecting an injured joint.