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St Mary's Research Confirms Blood Flow Restriction Training is an Effective Rehabilitation Method

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New research from the Sport and Exercise Physiology Research Group at St Marys University, Twickenham has reviewed the use of blood flow restriction training as a tool for clinical rehabilitation from injury. The study, led by St Mary’s PhD student Luke Hughes, performed a meta-analysis and systematic review of published trials and demonstrated that blood flow restriction training may be a safe and useful rehabilitation tool for injured individuals. Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Physiology Dr Stephen Patterson said, “Blood flow restriction training has been around for the last 10 to 15 years. Whilst it has been researched since its inception, professional sports teams and military personal are now using it. “Blood flow restriction uses specialised tourniquet (blood pressure) cuffs, which are inflated to a pressure at the end of the leg or arm, reducing the blood going into the limb and restricting all of the blood from flowing back out. This in turn reduces the oxygen to the muscle, allowing the individual to use very light loads but obtain the same strength and muscle size changes as observed with heavy weights”. Whilst the research was positive in the use of blood flow restriction for rehabilitation use, the researchers suggest that it is a technique that should only be applied by experienced and trained practitioners. Luke Hughes said of the findings, “Blood flow restriction training has been shown to be as safe as normal resistance exercise, however care should be taken to ensure that the correct equipment and pressures are set for each individual”. The findings from this study support other recent research from the Sport and Exercise Physiology Research Group when investigating the use of blood flow restriction training amongst applied practitioners. Dr Patterson added, “Whilst the evidence is clear that practitioners in elite sport are using this technique, the parameters by which they apply blood flow restriction do not always match up with the research. From this research we suggest that anyone considering using this technique ensures that they understand the effects different pressures and cuffs can have on the adaptations and responses to this exercise mode”. The study, entitled: “Blood flow restriction training in clinical musculoskeletal rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis “ was published in British Journal of Sports Medicine and “The role of blood flow restriction training for applied practitioners: A questionnaire-based survey” was published in Journal of Sports Sciences.
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