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Blood Flow Restriction

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Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) is the intermittent and brief partial occlusion of venous blood flow to the limb. A tourniquet is wrapped around the limb (either the thigh or the upper arm) and is inflated. This sensation feels similar to taking your blood pressure and should be pain free. The device then reads your individualized limb occlusion pressure (LOP) which will be used when you are performing exercises. 

Limb occlusion pressure (LOP) is the minimal amount of pressure needed to occlude the blood flow. Once this is obtained, your physical therapist can calculate what percent of pressure is optimal for exercising safely and effectively. 

The purpose of BFR is to reduce blood flow to the limb to force the muscles to work with less oxygen to the muscles. This tricks the body into thinking you are performing high intensity exercise without requiring you to perform high intensity training. This is a way to achieve maximum benefits in a shorter time frame while putting less stress on the body compared to regular training. 

The benefits of BFR include:

  • Increase muscle size 
  • Increase muscle strength 
  • Improve aerobic capacity 
  • Improve cell/tissue healing 
  • Improve bone density and function
  • Reduce pain and prepare for high intensity exercise 

BFR is ideal for those who patients who are unable to lift heavy loads, tolerate intense exercise or those who will or have already undergone a surgical procedure. It is also beneficial for athletic populations who have sustained injury and are trying to return to sport. 

Consult your physical therapist at Americare Physical therapy in order to learn more about BFR. 

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