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BFR Training for Health and Well-Being

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • Blood flow restriction (BFR) training improves strength and builds muscle using very light weights. Metabolically, it decreases your risk for sarcopenia and most other age-related diseases
  • BFR increases brain derived neurotropic factor, a brain growth factor that contributes to neuroplasticity and enhances cognitive performance
  • BFR has been adopted by the NFL and other major professional sports organizations, where it’s being used for recovery and rehabilitation
  • In 2018, the American Physical Therapy Association approved BFR as an indication for rehab, making it part of physical therapists’ scope of practice
  • Never use a regular tourniquet, such as what you’d find in an emergency room, for BFR. Applied hard enough, the lack of elasticity could make it very dangerous, potentially causing a blood clot or nerve damage

In this interview, Mario Novo, doctor of physical therapy, discusses the many health benefits of blood flow restriction (BFR) training. It’s a phenomenally easy way to take control of your health, especially if you’re elderly. I don’t know of any intervention that will improve your health as dramatically.

BFR training was developed by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in Japan over 50 years ago. In Japan, BFR training is known as KAATSU, which translates into “additional pressure.” It’s a perfectly descriptive name, as the KAATSU device consists of inflatable bands that provide additional pressure on your limbs.


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