blood flow restriction therapy (bfrt).

What is Blood Flow Restriction Therapy and how does it work?

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFRT) is achieved through the application of external pressure over the extremities via a cuff while performing rehabilitation. The applied pressure is sufficient to maintain arterial inflow while occluding venous outflow distal to the occlusion site. The goal of Blood Flow Restriction Therapy enables patients to make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads, thereby reducing the overall stress placed on the limb. BFRT works by decreasing blood flow to working muscles with the aim of promoting hypertrophy, and preventing disuse atrophy of muscles. This treatment is typically used during exercise, but can also involve the use of compression devices alone.

Physical therapist in our Manhattan NYC clinic using BFRT technology and training a patient.

Personalized blood flow restriction rehabilitation, therapy and training

Personalized Tourniquet System (PTS) for Personalized Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation (PBFR), is manufactured by Delfi Medical Innovations, Inc, a world leader in tourniquet technology and safety. The PTS for PBFR device is specifically designed to safely regulate and control tourniquet pressure for PBFR applications and includes advanced personalization and safety features.

BFR therapy pressure tourniquet on a table.

What to expect during BFRT

During BFR therapy, a patient works out with pressure tourniquet. The tourniquet partially restricts venous blood flow, but not arterial inflow to the extremity. Doing this produces a systemic response, comparative to heavy weight training. High repetitions of a particular exercise while wearing pressure tourniquets and using light weights allows the patient to receive the benefits of heavy lifting without the unnecessary and potentially dangerous stress to tissues that may be healing from a recent injury or surgery.

Locations offering Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Are you interested in Blood Flow Restriction Training & Therapy?

Our physical therapists will customize a BFRT plan just for you. We will work in an effective way to get you back on your feet, focused on your wellness before, during and after therapy.

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Benefits of Blood Flow Restriction Training

Diminish atrophy and loss of strength from disuse and non-weight bearing after injuries or surgery

Increase strength with lighter loads

Increase hypertrophy with lighter loads

Improve muscle endurance in one-third the time

Improve strength and hypertrophy after surgery

Improve muscle protein synthesis in the elderly

Improve muscle activation

Increase growth hormone responses


Understanding how mechanical tension and metabolic stress impacts your muscles

When a muscle is undergoing stress, the concentration of anabolic hormone levels increase and the activation of myogenic stem cells results in protein metabolism. This can result in muscle hypertrophy. Release of hormones, hypoxia and cell swelling occurs when a muscle is under metabolic stress, and if that happens to you, you could be a good candidate for blood flow restriction therapy.

Release of Hormones

Exercise results in a significant increase in growth hormone. While growth hormone itself does not directly cause muscle hypertrophy, it helps with muscle recovery and potentially facilitates the muscle strengthening process. High intensity training regulates myostatin and provides an environment for muscle hypertrophy to occur.


Resistance training results in the compression of blood vessels within the muscles being trained, leading to a hypoxic environment, and an increase in anaerobic lactic metabolism and the production of lactate.

Cell Swelling

Cell swelling occurs when there is blood pooling and an accumulation of metabolites. This causes an anabolic reaction, results in muscle hypertrophy, and may actually cause mechanical tension. Ultimately, this will activate the myogenic stem cells and help with eventual recovery.

Who Can Benefit from BFR?

BFR therapy can be performed as part of a regular fitness routine as well as under the supervision of trained professionals in outpatient physical therapy clinics. BFR is often used to treat patients in the acute phase of rehabilitation following upper or lower extremity surgeries, including ACL reconstruction, meniscectomy, hip/knee replacement, rotator cuff and tendon repair. According to research, BFR can minimize loss of muscle mass, decrease bone healing time, and allow patients to improve both muscle size and strength. BFR is particularly suited for patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Athlete performing a leg extension while in blood flow restriction training and therapy.

Uses of Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

  • ACL reconstruction
  • Achilles tendon repair
  • Quad tendon repair
  • Anyone who has a non-weight bearing injury or not able to rehab with any weights
  • Anyone with a musculoskeletal injury (except for head and neck injuries)
  • Anyone looking to improve muscular strength and endurance

The Owens Recovery Science Method

Professional Physical Therapy utilizes the Owens Recovery Science Method, which is a single source for PTs, OTs, ATCs and other medical professionals seeking certification in Personalized Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation (PBFR) therapy and the equipment needed to apply it. The method involves the use of Personalized Tourniquet System (PTS) for Personalized Blood Flow Restriction (PBFR) rehabilitation, a device specifically designed to safely regulate and control tourniquet pressure for PBFR applications and includes advanced personalization and safety features.

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We will work in an effective way to manage your pain during and after therapy.