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History of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR)

History of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR):

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) was first conceived in 1966 by Yoshiaki Sato in Japan. In the 1970’s, he experimented with all kinds of belts, bands, rubber tubes and elastic wraps on himself after a badly fractured ankle. Sato soon realized that he had to figure out a better way after one incidence where he accidentally fully occluded arterial flow and caused a DVT/pulmonary embolus.

Over the next 30 years, his experiments on himself and Japanese body builders led to the development of KAATSU Training (KA-additional ATSU-pressure). This proved to be safer and more effective and was comprised of a narrow, elastic, pneumatic bands that could adjust air pressure to assure that the arteries stayed open during training.

From 2000-2005, development of KAATSU training programs started and between 2000-2010 “KAATSU Kiosks” in Japan started to become more widespread, along with increased scientific publications. The only problem was that the equipment could not be purchased, so many Westerners had to start developing other types of equipment to reproduce Sato’s results.

From 2010 to the present, BFR training has become increasingly popular in rehabilitation and training. In addition, there are well over 500 peer reviewed publications in English.


My personal history with BFR started in early 2019. I got certified with Owens Recovery Science. However, after going through the certification process, I was dismayed at the how expensive the equipment was and that I could only use ONE band at a time and have to be tethered to an “IV pole” during all exercises. To get the best results from BFR, one really needs to perform it at least 3 times per week and in my setting, it just wasn’t realistic. In addition, the more I researched the potential harmful effects that FULLY occluding arterial flow could cause and the liability of this, I started looking elsewhere.


In my research, I found B Strong BFR. It has a very wide range of applications for a very diverse patient population regardless of ability level. In addition, it is much more cost effective so that my patients can purchase their own bands. PLUS, LIFT Therapeutics is an Affiliate of B Strong, so I pass on the savings to my patients.  And more importantly, it is completely safe, as it does NOT occlude arterial blood flow.

Of course, I would have to clear each and every patient for contraindications, measure for proper bands and thoroughly educate on all aspects of using the bands and how to perform the individual programs I design. Also, you could potentially use FOUR bands at once and have TOTAL freedom of movement while bands are in place!


What does BFR do?

There is a cascade of events that occur when the B Strong bands are properly placed and inflated to recommended pressures and are used with a prescribed low weight and low load exercise program designed by me.

1. As the band inflates and constricts, it pushes blood out and back towards the heart and collapses the veins directly beneath band. It also pushes lymph, interstitial water and blood in small vessels, out of the way. The major arteries are harder to compressed because of the cylindrical shape and thicker muscled walls.

2. Then, when exercise is added, the “muscle pump” is engaged and what blood in the extremity pushes past the venous blockade, emptying the limb. When the muscle relaxes (during the 30 second rest periods between sets and the 60 seconds rest in between prescribed exercises), fresh arterial blood rushes in to refill the distended limb, restoring the pulse and endothelial health.

3. This disturbance of homeostasis causes local anabolic responses (decrease pO2, pH, ATP/PC, while increasing lactate and Pi concentrations) leading to up-regulating protein synthesis and recruitment of additional motor units to do the work.

4. Now, the Central Nervous System responds with a robust, anabolic systemic Neuro-Immuno-Endocrine response, which amplifies local responses.

As you can see, it is a very complicated process that I have tried to boil down in to simplistic terms. Did I lose you?

Essentially, because the absolute work time with the B Strong bands on is limited to a 20-minute easy and light weight workout, the patient progresses more quickly and can recover faster.  With time, activities become more and more sport specific and the patient can potentially return to activity with more normalized neuro-motor patterns and less risk of a 2nd injury and in half the time. In other words, irrigation plus rain = fertile ground.


Additional Benefits from B Strong BFR:


Purchasing Information Through LIFT Therapeutics B Strong Affiliate Program:

10% Code: LIFT Therapeutics

Prices for a Single Pair Pack (includes 2 bands (can be a set of arm bands or leg bands), pump, carrying case and code for app) with code: $260.06                (without code: $288.95)

Prices for a B Strong Training System (includes 2 arm bands and 2 leg bands, pump, carrying case and code for app)  with code: $386.95    (without code: $429.95)

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