Personalized Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFR)

Chicago Spine and Sports is excited to offer a new, innovative exercise approach to help speed your recovery! We are one of a very few clinics in Chicago offering Blood Flow Restriction Training/Therapy.

What is Blood Flow Restriction Training/Therapy (BFR)?

It is the application of a specialized tourniquet system to a proximal arm or leg, which is inflated, to a personalized and specific pressure to reduce blood flow to an exercising extremity. The application is brief and intermittent, typically about 6 minutes per exercise but can last up to 30 minutes based on the specific protocol. Typically, to increase strength and hypertrophy a person would need to lift a significant amount of weight (60% of a 1 Repetition maximum or greater). With BFR you can create significant strength and hypertrophy gains with loads as low as 20% 1RM.

Chicago Spine and Sports utilizes specialized tourniquets created by Delphi, the leading manufacturer of FDA approved tourniquets.  

The use of BFR began in the military as a means to help amputees and limb salvage patients accelerate their rehabilitation and strengthening program. Over time and through more research, BFR has become a major component for treating injuries at top orthopedic clinics as well as professional and collegiate teams.

How does BFR work?

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy combines the use of a tourniquet and Doppler system placed on the arm or thigh that restricts blood flow to the spot where injury and/or surgery took place. By restricting a specific percentage of blood flow to a limb, the muscles aren’t required to work as hard in order to see strength gains and hypertrophy. The body’s natural stress response to BFR is to release growth hormone factors that help repair ligaments, tendons, muscles. While traditional strengthening methods take 12 weeks to see noticeable hypertrophy, research has shown BFR strengthening gains in as little as 2-3 weeks.

BFR also reduces stress on joints during the remodeling and recovery phase of tissue healing. With the use of BFR, patients who used to be limited by the body’s natural healing process can start strengthening earlier. Earlier strengthening equals a faster recovery. A faster recovery means patients getting back to doing the things they love to do. 

What are the Effects of BFR?

  • Increased strength at low loads
  • Increased hypertrophy at low loads and faster times
  • Increased hormonal response to training
  • Improved tendon and ligament healing
  • Potential for improved bone healing
  • Improved recruitment of Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers
  • Improved VO2max

Is BFR right for you?

If you’ve suffered an injury or have had an orthopedic surgery and you’re wondering if BFR Therapy could work for you, contact us for more information. We will be happy to discuss any and all questions that you have. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Krebs and Chicago Spine and Sports is certified in Blood Flow Restriction Training through Owens Recovery Science, the leading company in Blood Flow Restriction Training, Certification, and Research. For more information on Owens Recovery Science, the Mechanisms of Blood Flow Restriction Training, and the equipment used at Chicago Spine and Sports, please visit