WHAT IS PERSONALIZED BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION REHABILITATION?
During Personalized Blood Flow Restriction (PBFR) training, a patient works out with a narrow, elastic band around the upper portions of the exercising arm or leg. This band partially restricts venous blood flow but does not affect arterial inflow to the extremity. Doing this produces a systemic response comparative to heavy weight training. Performing high repetitions of a particular exercise while wearing the elastic band and using light weights, will allow the patient to receive the strengthening benefits of heavy lifting without the stress to tissues that may be healing from a recent injury or surgery.
How Does This Work?
In a nutshell, exercising with lighter weights while using blood flow restriction, causes a local disturbance of homeostasis, as the working muscle does not receive enough blood flow to sustain contractions. This creates a release of autonomic and anabolic hormones that move throughout the body. This systemic response augments the local response, causing increased protein synthesis. Because little damage is done to the soft tissue by avoiding heavy weight lifting, improvements in strength and endurance can come quickly. All tissues both proximal and distal to the blood flow restriction bands can benefit from these effects.
Who Benefits from BFR?
BFR training can be performed in a regular fitness routine, but can also be safely performed under the supervision of trained professionals in outpatient physical therapy clinics. BFR can safely be used on patients in the acute phase of rehabilitation following most upper or lower extremity surgeries, including ACL reconstruction, meniscectomy, hip/knee replacement, rotator cuff repair or any tendon repair. Research has shown BFR can minimize loss of muscle mass and decrease bony healing time during the early immobilization phases, allowing patients to improve both muscle size and strength without the stress of heavy lifting on healing soft tissue. Patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteopenia or osteoporosis may also benefit from BFR. Additionally, BFR has been utilized after strokes or spinal cord injuries and with athletes who want to improve performance.
Is BFR Safe?
Research has shown that BFR is not only comfortable for the patient, but also safe and effective when exercises are performed appropriately and when equipment is monitored by a trained blood flow restriction professional.