Blood flow restriction therapy was invented in Japan in 1966 and it has since been effective in the development of muscle strength and hypertrophy. It was first introduced in professional sports and the military but today, even the average man with little to no athletic power can benefit from the blood flow restriction training.
This form of training involves working out with a narrow elastic band tied to the muscle that is being trained- either the upper or the lower limb. This is then followed by performing high repetitions of resistance exercise with the BFR band still on. This strengthens the muscles, as it gets all the benefits of healthy lifting without stress to the injured or recovering tissues
This method of training has proven beneficial for decades as it increases muscle strength and hypertrophy with lighter loads and also helps with quick recovery from a workout. There have also been studies that show how it impacts muscle architecture and attenuate muscle hypertrophy.
How Does it Work?
When a BFR band or cuff is applied to an injured limb or the limb you intend to exercise, it generates pressure, enough to occlude blood flow to that limb. This makes the affected area temporarily deprived of oxygen, a term known as hypoxia. This helps regulate how the body gains muscle protein during exercise and you build more muscle protein in the area where pressure is applied.
It’s more effective to get a personalized blood flow restriction device such as the RecoverFun Air Cuff, so you can adjust the amount of pressure according to your specific muscle needs.
The Impact of BFR Bands in Physical Therapy and Rehab
One of the most impactful uses of the BFR training recently has been in physical therapy and rehab. It can be used in rehab patients with different kinds of muscle injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament injuries, rotator cuff injuries, Achilles tendon injuries, severe musculoskeletal trauma, symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, total joint replacements, and fractures that don’t grow back together or heal properly.
What happens when the BFR Therapy is applied in an injured patient?
The goal of BFR therapy is to increase the diameter of the muscle and the protein content in the muscle fibers, which correlate to an increase in muscle strength. For this to happen, the muscle goes through a process known as mechanical tension and metabolic stress. This results in a significant increase in growth hormone, which aids muscle recovery, and also a downregulation of myostatin which controls and inhibits cell growth thereby enabling muscle hypertrophy.
During this process, myogenic stem cells are activated to repair damaged muscle fibers and aid their growth. With the muscles compressed by a BFR band or cuff, the blood vessels are also constricted, which leads to hypoxia- decreased oxygen to the muscle. Early relative hypoxia has been shown to induce wound healing due to the activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α).
Cell swelling is also another factor that occurs due to blood pooling and an accumulation of metabolites from the compressed muscle. As a result of this swelling, there is an anabolic reaction that results in muscle hypertrophy and can also activate the myogenic stem cells.
All these factors contribute to the healing process that takes place in an injured muscle when the blood flow restriction therapy is applied.
Does the Recoverfun Air Cuff Help?
The Recoverfun Air Cuff is a unique cuff created for everyone who wants to increase muscle hypertrophy or recover from an injured muscle. While there may be several BFR bands and devices out there today, not everything can promise you effective results. You have to carefully choose a band or cuff that will not only help with your muscle recovery but also give you the best result that will leave you satisfied.
Recoverfun created this air cuff to cater to everyone regardless of their needs and fitness levels. It is portable and can be handheld, so you can travel with it anywhere and use it at your convenience. It is also waterproof and easy to clean, which makes it easier when you sweat during high-intensity exercises.
More importantly, you have access to adjustable pressure controls to help you choose your preferred pressure level while exercising with the cuff. As much as BFR therapy proves to be effective, it should also be within control and the amount of pressure you should apply depends on your muscle needs. Recoverfun suggests that upper limb pressures may be between 100-220mmHg and lower limb pressures between 150-250mmHg, as a guide. You may also discuss with your fitness trainer if you need a more personalized guide to get the best results.
Who Can Benefit From BFR Therapy?
BFR therapy is for everyone and not just athletes as originally intended. Today, anyone anywhere, regardless of their fitness level, can benefit from this form of therapy. You can easily own your BFR band or cuff and exercise at will. You can include it as part of your regular fitness routine and some fitness enthusiasts use it to grow arms, legs, and booty.
It is also sometimes used in clinical settings, especially for patients who cannot perform high-intensity exercises due to their condition. It is used in acute phases of rehabilitation after certain kinds of surgeries which may include the upper or lower extremity, ACL reconstruction, meniscectomy, hip/knee replacement, rotator cuff, and tendon repair. It is also used in patients with joint inflammation. Patients who undergo this form of therapy have a decreased bone healing time with their muscles strengthened in the process.
Is BFR Safe?
BFR therapy is safe, comfortable, and effective when done properly with good equipment or supervised by a trained blood flow restriction professional. There’s no risk of increased blood clots or damaged blood vessels while using the band. However, there could be a risk of injury with improper bandwidth, increased band pressure, and improper placement of the band.
This is why it’s best to own our affordable blood flow restriction training cuffs to reduce these risk factors.