Acute physiological responses to combined blood flow restriction and low-level laser

Yi Ching Chen, Yu Han Su, Yen Ting Lin, Chien Chun Huang, Ing Shiou Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Blood flow restriction (BFR) is an innovation in fitness to train muscles with low loads at low oxygen levels. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a bio-energetic approach to alleviate muscle fatigue during resistance training. This study investigated the immediate effect of LLLT pre-conditioning on BFR that accelerates muscle fatigue due to ischemia. Methods: Fifteen young adults participated in this study of a crossover randomized design. They completed a low-load contraction with various pre-conditioning (blood flow restriction with low-level laser therapy (LLLT + BFR), blood flow restriction with sham low-level laser therapy (BFR), and control). Force fluctuation dynamics, muscle oxygen saturation of hemoglobin and myoglobin (SmO2), and discharge patterns of motor units (MU) were compared. Results: Normalized SmO2 during low-load contractions significantly varied with the pre-contraction protocols (Control (83.6 ± 3.0%) > LLLT + BFR (70.3 ± 2.8%) > BFR (55.4 ± 2.4%). Also, force fluctuations and MU discharge varied with the pre-contraction protocols. Multi-scale entropy and mean frequency of force fluctuations were greater in the LLLT + BFR condition (31.95 ± 0.67) than in the BFR condition (29.47 ± 0.73). The mean inter-spike interval of MUs was greater in the LLLT + BFR condition (53.32 ± 2.70 ms) than in the BFR condition (45.04 ± 1.08 ms). In particular, MUs with higher recruitment thresholds exhibited greater LLLT-related discharge complexity (LLLT + BFR (0.201 ± 0.012) > BFR (0.154 ± 0.006)). Conclusions: LLLT pre-conditioning can minimize the BFR-related decline in muscle oxygen saturation, leading to force gradation and MU discharge in a cost-effective and complex manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1447
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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