The Benefits Of Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Sep 28, 2023

What is BFRT?

BFRT is a training method to increase muscle strength and muscle hypertrophy after injury or surgery while avoiding the stress of heavy resistance training. BFRT uses pressure cuffs to partially restrict blood flow to the part of the extremity below the cuff while exercises are performed. The goal of BFRT is for patients to make faster strength gains using only light resistance and high repetitions. The results are similar to performing heavy resistance exercises, but with reduced stress on the tissues.

How does it work?

Patients perform exercises with pneumatic cuffs placed around their upper arms or thighs. The occlusion pressure is placed at 40 to 60% of their own personal occlusion pressure as determined by their Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant. Patients perform a series of repetitions (30/15/15/15) with about 30 seconds rest in between each repetition. The cuffs are then deflated for another short rest. After this rest period, the cuff will again be inflated, and another exercise will be performed with the same number of repetitions. Muscles quickly fatigue utilizing this process.

Due to the partial occlusion of venous blood flow, there is an increase in protein synthesis and lactic acid. This stimulates a physiological response and cell swelling that you would also normally see in high intensity or heavy resistance training. Following BFRT, patients may experience some delayed onset muscle soreness over the next 24 to 48 hours.

BFRT at Suburban Orthopaedics Physical Therapy

Our Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants have been trained in BFRT and continue to see excellent results with this therapy.  If you have any questions regarding BFRT and whether it could be beneficial to your recovery, contact Ryan Borri, PT, DPT in Bartlett, or Michele Branka, MPT and Shannon Hansen, PTA in Elgin.

Our goal is always for you to have a speedy recovery and an improved quality of life!

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