Blood Flow Restriction

Blood Flow Restriction

Increase strength with less stress on vulnerable areas

Blood Flow Restriction, or “BFR,” is a type of therapy that allows patients to increase muscle size and strength with lighter loads than traditional strength training. A skilled physical therapist applies pressure to the patient’s limb using an external device (similar to a blood pressure cuff) to limit oxygen supply to the muscle, which causes the body to switch from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism.

When combined with low intensity exercise, BFR allows patients to achieve the strength and size gains associated with heavy lifting without placing that high level of stress on areas that may be healing from a recent injury or surgery. This makes BFR particularly valuable for patients suffering from pain and weakness.


Research shows that Blood Flow Restriction is helpful to those suffering from osteoarthritis and patellofemoral (kneecap) pain, as well as post-surgical ACL reconstruction and knee arthroscopy patients. Current studies are also evaluating the efficacy of BFR for joint replacements, Achilles repairs, and shoulder pathologies.


At Excel Physical Therapy, we utilize the Delfi system of Personalized Blood Flow Restriction. Regulated by the FDA as a Class 1 device, the Delfi system has a built-in doppler which ensures that appropriate pressure is being applied. As the patient moves through their exercise program, the pressures adjust accordingly. We provide one-on-one supervision to any patient using BFR.


If you’re interested in trying BFR, please set up an evaluation to discuss your options with a qualified physical therapist. There are a number of medical conditions which would be considered risk factors or contraindications for Blood Flow Restriction therapy, including active cancer, elbow surgery, or a recent DVT blood clot.

Interested in learning more about BFR? 

Contact your local EXCEL office or request an appointment online to get started. We’ll get you set up with one of our BFR-trained physical therapists who can answer all your questions and determine if it’s the right treatment for you.. 

No prescription? No problem.

You can start physical therapy without a prescription or referral from a doctor, through a program called "Direct Access." Even better, it's usually covered by insurance. Give us a call, we're happy to check your coverage for you.