Blood Flow Restriction Training
Want to see Dr. Mariel using the Owens Unit on herself for her own recovery from knee surgery?
Click here to read about her rehab journey after her patellar tendon rupture.
What is it blood flow restriction training?
Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) is a modality that is used while strength training that works to reduce the amount of blood flowing into and out of your limbs through a personalized tourniquet system. The Delphi Personalized Tourniquet System used here at Well Balanced by Dr. Mariel Hammond, is a state of the art medical device that adjusts the system pressure throughout treatment, giving the most accurate and effective treatment possible.
How does blood flow restriction training work?
Blood flow restriction training works to induce a ‘hypoxic state’ in your muscles, meaning they are operating with less oxygen. While this seems like it would be dangerous, it actually primes the muscle tissue itself to adapt more quickly, having to work harder and therefore grow stronger with less work! BFRT uses a strength training repetition structure of 30-15-15-15 (75 total) for 6-8 minutes of work! It is a great bang for your buck, allowing you to get more for less.
Why do I need blood flow restriction training?
When we are in a state of injury or pain in the muscle, ligament and tendon tissues in our bodies can sometimes become sensitized and have trouble growing stronger or larger due to an inability to tolerate certain activities, loads or positions. BFRT works to use only 20-30% of your maximum load tolerance to achieve strength gains like you lifted 85-90%! Research has also shown that pain sensitivity levels reduce following a bout of BFRT, helping you get back to the activities that you love pain-free!
Is it safe?
Yes! BFRT has been shown to reduce post-operative tissue scarring, risk of blood clots and infection through up regulation of various hormones. The width of the cuff decreases surface area pressure, reducing risk of skin damage from the cuff itself. Your physical therapist will screen you before use to make sure that BFRT is an appropriate modality for you. You may feel increased heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, tingling or itching and/or muscle discomfort during training – please let your provider know if you are experiencing these symptoms and training can be ceased immediately if needed.
Due to the breakdown of muscle tissue with strength training, especially with BFRT, supplementing extra protein following training will increase the effectiveness of this intervention. It is recommended to consume 20-30 grams of protein every 4 hours after BFRT usage for at least 24 hours. It is generally recommended to get 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, even without use of BFRT. Circulation positive techniques like walking may also be beneficial to get blood flowing and to reduce lactic acid build-up.
Want to try it out for yourself? Make an appointment with Dr. Mariel today for an evaluation to see if this therapy is right for you!