UPMC Therapist: Blood Flow Restriction therapy not just for athletes

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From the article...

"Every four years, the Summer Olympics shows the world the latest training or recovery method the greatest athletes have taken up. In 2016, many athletes had red circular marks on their skin from “cupping,” an ancient Chinese practice involving suction on sore muscles and tendons.

This year, the hot trend appears to be tourniquets, more specifically blood flow restriction therapy. While the Olympians may have made it mainstream, it’s a technique that physical therapists and trainers have been using since the 1960s for post-surgical patients and injuries involving muscle weakness. 

How It Works

This training involves restricting blood flow to certain muscles for limited periods of time in a controlled manner by a physical therapist with specialty certification in blood flow restriction techniques.

The therapy both enhances the effects of training and stimulates recovery. It requires the application of a device like a blood pressure cuff or tourniquet to safely compress the blood vessels underneath.

The goal is to apply enough pressure to completely restrict the venous blood flow (blood leaving the muscle), while allowing arterial blood flow (blood going into the muscle). When done correctly, blood ends up pooling in the muscle beyond the tourniquet, creating a hypoxic environment in which the tissue is deprived of oxygen. This lack of oxygen is said to increase growth hormones, muscle hypertrophy, and muscle strength."

Read more at the NorthcentralPA.com website.