Blood flow restriction training — Reeve Connect
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Blood flow restriction training

Michael007 Member Posts: 1
Hello nurse Linda,

I am new to the community. C-4/5 nearly complete.
The past year and a half I’ve been using Blood flow restriction training as part of my exercise regimen. I’m wondering if you have heard of it and know if anybody here is using it also? I did a couple quick searches and couldn’t find anything.

I’ve had incredible gains in muscle mass since I’ve been using it. In my first two months using the compressive straps on my upper thighs on my FES bike rides I gained one and a half inches of circumference!!

I just called the spinal cord injury Gym in Thornton Colorado that I used to work out at and was surprised they had not heard of it. That got me wondering if people at the Christopher reef foundation were aware of this modality and if not I figured I’d spread the word.

just in case you’re not aware of it, BFR incorporates using compressive straps inflated to restrict Venous blood return moderately and slightly restricting arterial inflow while doing some type of resistance training or movement. Because of the induced hypoxia, increase in lactate and Cellular metabolites the body thinks it’s getting a very intense work out. This results in increased growth hormone, stem cell activation, increases in micro circulation and vascular integrity, Muscle mass, muscle strength. Because of these metabolites getting into the bloodstream the results are not only in the extremity being exercised but they actually are systemic. This is by far the best bio hack I have ever encountered. 

i’m wondering if there is a platform for me sharing my experience here and the forums or newsletter or what has the best reach.

when I first learned about this in an interview I literally cried because I knew this modality could be a key to me living longer and functioning better. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see how my legs look now… It’s really mind blowing. 

Boulder Colorado


  • AskNurseLinda
    AskNurseLinda Moderator, Information Specialist Posts: 170 Information Specialist
    100 Comments 25 Likes First Answer Name Dropper
    Hi, Michael, blood flow restriction training is a new idea in exercise physiology. The idea is to grow bigger skeletal muscles which are muscles attached to bones (not other types of muscles for example cardiac muscle as in the heart, or smooth muscles as in the bladder.) The technique involves low load resistance training while using a cuff to restrict blood flow.  It has not been completely studied in individuals without spinal cord injury. Even less research has been performed with blood flow restriction in individuals with SCI.

    I did find some studies that would be of interest to you.

    A small study was done with nine individuals who have incomplete spinal cord injury. This was an initial project to see if the process was safe, not for training results. Subjects demonstrated safety without added cardiovascular strain or heightened pain. Autonomic dysreflexia and deep vein thrombosis was not seen. However, this is a study of nine individuals with incomplete SCI so it cannot be applied to the population of individual with SCI. Still is is a good test of the process.  Since it was a small study, the outcomes were rated as an evidence grade of IV which means more information in follow up studies needs to be completed.,for%20BFR%20exercise%20in%20this%20population%20is%20unknown.

    This next article is a summary of the process, not specifically with individuals with SCI but it provides a good understanding of the therapy.

    A link to an article about functional electrical stimulation added to blood flow restriction training for individuals with SCI is here:

    When you click on any of these three reports, be sure to scroll to the end of the article where more similar research articles will be found.

    The verdict on blood flow restriction training is unknown at this point. As more information becomes known, there will be some positives and some negatives discovered. The individuals who will best benefit will also become more clear. To readers, I have to say do not try this without checking with your personal healthcare professional. There could be unknown issues with autonomic dysreflexia, blood clots, pressure injury to the area where blood supply is reduced or any sort of other complications that are yet to be uncovered.

    Michael, if you are feeling embolden, and I think you are, drop an email to the authors of any study. Researchers are keenly interested in what interests individuals with SCI. Since you are having success, they would like to hear your thoughts and comments. It will help drive the direction of their research.

    If you want more information, search the Pubmed data base where you will find many articles. In addition, since you are interested, try searching the clinical trials database for studies that you can either become a participant (you might not have to live in the area where the research is located) or at least see what kind of studies-and outcomes- are being found.

    Thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention. I see there is already some interest in the topic, so keep us apprised of your experience. You have found your platform right here. Keep us informed about your progress. Readers, be cautious with new therapies to ensure it is safe for you as a unique individual. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

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