BFR: A Few Thoughts in Closing


One question that I have received before is what cuff should I use? My answer is that there are multiple options, from elastic squat bands (functional BFR), to the use of FDA regulated cuffs such as those from Owens Recovery Science. At Refine PT and Performance, we are currently using the Smart Tools Cuff.


Regardless of your choice, make sure to account for limb circumference and cuff width in your application of BFR, because both of these factors dramatically affect how much blood flow is restricted. The generalized range of pressure used in the research is typically around 160 mmHG and 200 mmHG. Venous flow should be occluded while arterial flow is safely restricted. Generally BFR is applied at 50% limb occlusion pressure in the upper extremity, and 80% in the lower extremity, although new approaches are emerging.  The main point is that it’s very important how much blood flow is restricted, not necessarily the device used (keep safety in mind here). It is very helpful to have a self-regulating cuff, because pressures will change with movement, but the pricing can be much steeper.


In the past few posts we’ve discussed all things blood flow restriction training. If you’re wanting more info, there are a ton of advocates and front runners that I’d follow to stay up to date. They are much smarter than I am, and I am regularly referring to research and the thoughts of leaders like these to build a deeper base with these topics.


Mario Novo
-Owens Recovery Science
-Mike Reinold and Champion Physical Therapy and Performance
-Zach Long
-JP Loenneke and colleagues 
-Many, Many more


Hopefully you’ve learned a few new things over the past few posts, but I encourage you to dig deeper on your own! The best rule of thumb is to continue learning as often and as much as possible, and keep an open mind. Many times over, new research overturns traditional rehab principles (such as the lack of effectiveness of ultrasound). It’s incredible how resilient we are as human beings, and how efficiently we were designed to function.


If you have pain, restrictions, or have recognized this style of training/rehabilitation as being something that could help you achieve your goals, we’d absolutely love to help. We pride ourselves on seeking to provide the the utmost in one-on-one patient care, and the use of blood flow restriction is no exception to that rule. We have seen significant improvement with its application in the clinic, and the goal will always be to help you achieve your goals when you walk through our doors. If you would like to discuss its potential application in your case, please give us a call!


Tyler Vaughn
Owner Pathology Apparel
Refine PTP