Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Nesheim, A. 2024. Exploratory Pilot Study on the Usage of Blood Flow Restriction Training as a Modality in Physical Therapy Settings in South Dakota and Nebraska. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Amelia Nesheim 2024.


The blood flow restriction (BFR) cuff is commonly used in physical therapy settings, but can also be used in strength and athletic training. This paper examines the effectiveness of BFR cuff training on muscle hypertrophy and strength through a review of the literature and study of application in physical therapy. The literature review started with the original development of the BFR cuff originally called Kaatsu training created by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato. Continuing to the physiological reasoning, application, and experiments. The BFR cuff is placed on the proximal portion of an extremity and the pressure is increased to occlude venous outflow. This increases muscle tension and metabolic stress which results in activated satellite cells to promote muscle repair and growth. This information provided the background information for the study which was a survey given to six physical therapists in the Omaha, Lincoln, and south-east South Dakota area. The survey was eight questions long and gained an understanding of what specialties and populations included the BFR cuff in the treatment protocol. It also addressed how the physical therapist was made aware and learned about the BFR cuff. In conclusion of this study, most physical therapists interviewed worked in an orthopedic setting and used the BFR cuff in treatment post-knee surgery. The BFR cuff was commonly learned about after physical therapy school and the physical therapists believed that BFR cuffs are highly effective. Future studies should look into the application of treatment protocols outside of orthopedic physical therapy and increase the availability of information.