Safety Endorsement by Orthopedic Surgeon
BFR is currently known as blood flow restriction. This is rather a misnomer. The more correct definition would be blood flow modification. The original study and inventor for this training methodology, concept, and pressure device was discovered in Japan over 40 years ago by a physician name Dr. Yoshiaki Sato, MD. His discovery has been accepted globally and now being used in professional athletes, military and hospitals. The method he coined is known at “Kaatsu” training, which literally means “additional pressure.” The idea is to add individualized external pressure to slow down venous blood return while still allowing some arterial blood flow in the exercise limb to create increase capillary response and elasticity to trick the brain that body is undergoing stress and causing it to promote growth hormones to start the cascade of protein synthesis of fast twitch type 2 muscle fibers. The greatest benefit is the exercise loads and intensity can be at a much lower 20 – 30% rep max, while still being able to stimulate muscle growth which normally requires 75% rep max in normal work-out. Numerous sports orthopedic surgeons, scientists, and clinicians are slowly adapting this concept for both professional athletes as well as for rehabilitation. Frequency and duration also plays a role in its effectiveness and physiological response. Studies have shown a minimum of 3 sessions a week for 3 weeks or a total of 9 visits will have tremendous improvement in strength, balance, muscle hypertrophy (increase muscle size), and overall enhancement of functional and athletic performance.
BEWARE: All good things has copycats and imitations. This device needs to be conducted by a medical certified Kaatsu Specialist due to need of controlled environment for safety. Pressure has to be calibrated as it changes on a daily basis depending on your physical condition. Other imitations uses straps, tourniquets, and uncalibrated pressures may cause abuse and over training especially in the bodybuilding world in the gym. These are the few complications if done incorrectly: 1) Rhabdomyolysis (muscle injury), 2) nerve damage, and 3) rare cases of syncope or fainting episodes. Kaatsu training done correctly reap significant benefits and has proven its effectiveness and reliability for over 40 years.