In the last few years, there has been a shift in the approach minimizing muscle loss and stimulating strength gains due to an injury. We are referring to Blood Flow Restriction therapy or BFR. Now this therapy is available exclusively at United Rehab in our region. Joining us for this week’s House Call to explain BFR is Jason Posey, physical therapist and certified BFR therapist at United Rehab in Bridgeport.
BFR is the application of a specialized tourniquet system to a proximal arm or leg, which is inflated, to a personalized and specific pressure to reduce blood flow to an exercising extremity. The application is brief and intermittent, typically about 6 minutes per exercise, but can last up to 30 minutes based on the specific protocol. With BFR therapy you can create significant strength and hypertrophy gains or increase in size of skeletal muscle.
BFR therapy consistently demonstrates greater results compared to work matched controls exercising without BFR. The positive results have been seen in patients after injury, in the elderly, and in athletes. It has also been applied extensively in a military rehabilitation setting on severely compromised patients.
BFR therapy allows the patient who has weak resistance early in the rehab process to make greater strength gains through less wear and tear on the body.
Good Examples of this would include:
· A post-operative orthopaedic patient
· A patient who lives with a chronic condition, such as arthritis
Both of these patients cannot tolerate a high intensity exercise program. However, BFR therapy allows these patients to show greater strength gains.
As a certified BFR therapist, I received and completed certification in this therapy. I am very well versed in BFR, the scientific rational as well as how to apply it clinically.
I can confirm that BFR training can be a safe and effective tool for rehabilitation. (You may want to site an example of a patient but do not use any names). It has consistently demonstrated to be a safe modality.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate to high load resistance training to improve muscular strength and hypertrophy. BFR has been performed on thousands of subjects, with little to no side effects.