Blood Flow Restricted Therapy

Blood flow restricted (BFR) rehabilitation is the brief and intermittent occlusion of the blood flow in veins using a tourniquet while exercising. Using this technique you can exercise with significantly lighter weight while still creating a hypertrophy (growth) and strength response. Traditionally to get hypertrophy and a strength response in your muscles you would need to lift a heavy load.


The goal is to reduce just enough blood flow to create positive changes. However the amount of pressure used varies between individuals. The size of your limb, density of the soft tissue in your limb, blood pressure, placement of the tourniquet, and width of the tourniquet, all must be taken into account when determining your personalized pressure. Your healthcare provider will utilize a specialized tourniquet system built with a monitor to account for these variables. Additionally, your healthcare provider will discuss potential contraindications to this treatment with you to determine if you are a candidate.


Once your personalized pressure is determined you will begin specific exercises based on your rehabilitation plan. Even though you are lifting a light weight your muscles will begin to feel like it is working very hard. This feeling In your muscle is the buildup of lactate and is the desired response of this training. It is important that you complete the total number of sets and repetitions prescribed by your healthcare provider in order to maximize this response. You may also begin to sweat and feel your heart rate rise similar to what you experience during a heavy workout. This is common and expected.


After you have completed your exercise session and you build up sufficient lactate many positive effects can occur. These include an increase in growth hormone and other metabolic muscle growth factors. There will also be an increase in muscle protein synthesis, your muscles’ ability to grow. You should discuss proper nutrition guidelines with your healthcare provider to maximize these effects

Side Effects

Adverse side effects are rare. The most common effects are residual swelling in the limb, a fatigued muscle and possibly some mild soreness. These are transient and usually resolved within 24 hours. If you have prolonged swelling, fatigue or soreness, discuss this with your healthcare provider along with any other concerns you may have.


Results with BFR

Blood flow restriction training (BFR) is a game-changing injury recovery therapy that is producing dramatically positive results:

  • Diminish atrophy and loss of strength from disuse and non-weight bearing after injuries
  • Increase strength with only 30% loads
  • Increase hypertrophy with only 30% loads
  • Improve muscle endurance in 1/3 the time
  • Improve muscle protein synthesis in the elderly
  • Improve strength and hypertrophy after surgery
  • Improve muscle activation
  • Increase growth hormone responses

Game Changing Quotes

“Blood flow restriction training has been a huge compliment to the medical and performance care of our athletes. Having athletes perform exercise earlier during the rehab process and allowing them to take ownership of their training has been extremely successful toward helping our athletes miss the least amount of time possible from injury. I just wish I knew about blood flow restriction training sooner!”
Chris Stackpole, DPT, ATC, CSCS
Portland Trailblazers – Director of Player Health and Performance

“I have seen great gains in strength with patients in the clinic and with professional athletes using Blood Flow Restriction training.  This tool has been an influential game changer in my practice.”
Steve Scher
Detroit Lions – Team Rehabilitation

“Blood Flow Restriction therapy is one of the biggest advances for our injured service members from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has helped many wounded warriors regain the high quality of life to which they are accustomed. Just as importantly, it is easily transferable to the civilian community, where it can provide benefit to thousands of people who are struggling to recover from their injuries. I am proud that something that was born from the need to help service members recover from catastrophic, life-changing injures, can now benefit the American public, who have shown such great support for our military heroes.”
COL Donald A Gajewski
Former Director
Center for the Intrepid
Brooke Army Medical Center

“Blood Flow Restriction has the unique benefit of enhancing and exciting the targeted muscle so that those with muscle inhibition can overcome this deficit quicker, with less atrophy development. We are excited to be onboard with the initial use of this great innovative treatment and device.”
Russ Pain, PT
Ironman Sports Medicine Institute – Memorial Hermann

“Owens BFR training was one of the best aspects of my recovery. As both a limb salvage and amputee patient my consistent use of the BFR training facilitated an amazing growth in my strength and balance. I couldn’t recommend this training, or Owens, stronger to anyone.”
Ryan Keogh CPT (R)
3rd Battalion – 75th Ranger Regiment

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