Blood Flow Restriction: The safe technique with an intimidating name…

Posted by: Reform Physical Therapy in Sport Tips on April 27, 2023

What exactly is Blood Flow Restriction?

The goal of BFR is to quicken the healing process.

BFR is a technique that reduces the blood flow to an extremity, which causes the muscles to work harder metabolically. Forcing the muscle to become more acidic triggers the brain to release growth & healing hormones, which leads to healing with time and repetition.

We know, Blood Flow RESTRICTION sounds intense, but it is an evidence-backed technique that is safe and our therapists are properly trained to utilize it correctly.

What’s the benefit of Blood Flow Restriction? How can it help *me*?

BFR is a way to avoid the muscle micro-tearing that results from traditional strength training & exercise. Emphasizing the chemical reactions within the body to lead healing, can have a system-wide impact.

Of course, there is a local impact to the muscle effected, BUT it can also have systemic effects within the body helping tissues heal all over. Think of it as an added bonus beyond what typical strength training an offer.

How do I know if Blood Flow Restriction is right for me?

Well first, your Physical Therapist will be able to give you a definite answer as to whether or not BFR can help you achieve your goals or speed up your recovery process.

BFR can be used for a plethora of conditions & on a wide range of ages. Most commonly we use BFR for:

  • Athletes! Athletes of all kinds that are hoping to fast-track or enhance their muscle growth can benefit from the effects of BFR.
  • Post-Surgical! Those who are in the early stages of recovery post-surgery and have limited movement can benefit, since BFR commonly requires less effort or movement.
  • Older adults! BFR allows muscles to work ‘harder’ in a shorter amount of time and less effort.
  • Stubborn elbow, wrist, or hand pain! When there is pain in these areas, the range of motion is typically reduced. BFR allows for a heightened likelihood of strengthening those muscles.
  • Knee, ankle, or foot pain! Similar to the above mentioned, if movement is restricted or limited, BFR can be a great workaround to alleviate the pain and strengthen the necessary muscles.