HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese is dedicated to bringing a variety of advanced physical rehabilitation therapies to assist patients in returning to their active life. A recently added therapy is Blood Flow Restriction therapy.
Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) therapy is a technique used to build muscle strength and size by applying a pressurized cuff on the arm or leg while performing specific types of exercises.
BFR safely restricts blood flow in the veins away from a muscle but allows adequate blood flow in the arteries to a muscle. As a result of restriction, the amount of oxygen the working tissues receive is reduced which places them under stress. This stress causes fatigue and will increase muscle strength and size without the need of heavy weights.
Tina Frank, director of rehabilitation at St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese, explained who might benefit from this type of therapy. “Blood Flow Restriction can be beneficial for both injured or healthy individuals, as it helps rebuild muscle mass if you are recovering from injury and leads to increased muscle mass as part of a normal, healthy training program,” she said. “BFR therapy uses low resistance exercise with high repetitions but the gains are similar to a high resistance and high intensity workout. This can be very beneficial to someone recovering from an injury or surgery because it allows for strength gains without the need of heavy resistance or too much stress to your joints. For this reason, it is a great tool to use for therapy after joint replacement.”
Additionally, BFR can also help older adults gain or maintain muscle mass. In seniors, BFR can minimize “normal” age-related muscle wasting and improve walking endurance. BFR can also be applied safely to certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
For questions or more information about how you may benefit from blood flow restriction therapy, contact St. Joseph’s outpatient rehab services at 618-526-5436 to learn more or schedule an appointment (after receiving a referral for therapy from your physician). Outpatient rehab services are located in St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Healthplex at 14160 Jamestown Road, Breese.