Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Evolution of KAATSU

The Moment of Discovery

In the fall of 1966, Yoshiaki Sato was 18 years old. He was attending a Buddhist memorial service and listening to the monk chanting sutras when, not unexpectedly, his legs went numb while sitting on the floor in the traditional Japanese position (“seiza” or 正座). With a straight back while kneeing on the tatami mat floor, he started to massage his calves in order to relieve the pain as his legs were bent underneath him.

While the discomfort continued during the long ceremony, he had a revelation.

Sato realized that his blood circulation was blocked in his calves as the weight of his body was directly upon his ankles. He reasoned that his legs must have gone to sleep as a result of the reduced blood flow to the periphery of his legs. Because his calves had the “pumped up” feeling after he experienced while bodybuilding, this was the initial KAATSU moment of inspiration where the original idea of blood flow moderation training began.

The swelling and hardness in his calves led to Sato asking himself the key question that began KAATSU.

I wonder if purposefully constricting blood flow could artificially replicate the physiological conditions of hard training. If this were true, could benefits be realized by only lifting no loads or only light loads instead of heavy weights?

The answer would be answered in the positive.

Years of Quiet Experimentation

Over the next seven years between 1966 and 1973 in the quiet of his own house, the young man from Tokyo diligently experimented on himself by applying different bicycle tubes, ropes and bands at different pressures on different parts of his body. He methodically kept track of what type of bands and pressures worked and what experiments did not.

As a monk in his local Buddhist temple, he began to see results that could not be explained given the physiological knowledge of the day. But the resulting effects of KAATSU were clear, although the medical explanations did not come for another decade.

After detailed and documented trial and error, Sato gradually developed effective protocols to safely restrict blood flow and enable muscle growth. His self-research on his own body led him to determine what length and width of bands are ideal and the optimal degree and locations to apply KAATSU pressure in various activities.

Moment of Proof

By 1973 on his own body, Sato gradually developed the details and fine-tuned the protocols of KAATSU as it continues to be practiced. At the age of 25 he went on a ski trip when he badly fractured his ankle and torn the ligaments around his knee. The injuries were diagnosed and his own father, a local doctor, told Sato that it would take six months to heal.

With a plaster cast on his leg, Sato rehabilitated himself with his KAATSU bands applied to his upper leg. Because he could not withstand the discomfort of keeping the bands on for the usual duration, he released the bands and repeatedly tightened the bands while doing isometric exercises for 30 seconds on and a few seconds off three times per day.

The results of his regimen – now known as the KAATSU Cycle – surprised him to a certain extent, but really shocked his doctors because not only did his muscles not atrophy, but he fully recovered within six weeks.

Years of Confirmation

Word spread locally of Sato’s unheard of recovery. Demand for his new approach built rapidly around Tokyo, so Sato opened the Sato Sports Plaza in Fuchu where the KAATSU Japan headquarters still exists.

Sato conducted KAATSU on local people of all ages and abilities over the next decade. Injured patients, healthy athletes, older people and younger adults flocked to his office. While applying KAATSU to thousands of clients, Sato learned what worked best for people with various kinds of afflictions and injuries and from all walks of life between 1973 and 1982.

Mind – Body – Spirit Connection

Sato observed that KAATSU enabled the human body to improve and heal itself most effectively and most efficiently than any other therapy or modality.

He also encouraged people to focus mentally on their injured body part while doing KAATSU and observed how the intake of food and water before and after KAATSU also led to positive results. The mind-body-spirit connection was clearly evident.

Patenting KAATSU

In 1994, Sato applied for his first patents in Japan (Patent No. 2670421), U.S.A. (Patent No. 6149618), and Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy with 94206403.0) as he produced and commercialized the first KAATSU Training bands. He worked on injured professional golfers and Japanese Olympians as his reputation grew.

Introduction of the KAATSU Instructor Certification Program

In 1997, Sato introduced the KAATSU Instructor educational program in Japan where his defined protocols were shared with coaches, trainers, physical therapists and physicians throughout Japan. Over 3,000 KAATSU Instructors were certified and hundreds of more experienced KAATSU Special Instructors were licensed. These instructors conducted tens of thousands of KAATSU sessions annually and safely without complications.

Media attention and public acceptance grew in Japan after KAATSU was named one of the collaborative projects of the University of Tokyo Hospital’s 22nd Century Medical and Research Center in 2000.

Sato also began to offer an ischemic circulatory physiology course at the University of Tokyo Hospital and conducted joint development work with the Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation.

KAATSU Research

Beginning in the mid-1990’s, Sato began joint research with Professor Naokata Ishii of the Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Tokyo. Other researchers in Japan, including cardiologists Dr. Nakajima and Dr. Morita at the University of Tokyo Hospital, started to explore the benefits of KAATSU and various research results were submitted to peer-review publications.

KAATSU Internationalization

In 2014, KAATSU Global was established in Huntington Beach, California and the Center for KAATSU Research at the Harvard Medical School was started in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Sato and his partners, Steven Munatones, Richard Herstone, David Tawil, retired Navy SEAL Captain John Doolittle, Robert Heiduk in Germany, Péter Lakatos in Hungary and many others began expansion to the markets in the North America, South America, Oceania, Europe and Asia. Eventually, KAATSU Global developed the next-generation products that were also sold to and distributed by Dr. Sato in Japan.


Future applications and the third generation of KAATSU products are currently being explored in the military, medical, sports performance and corporate wellness markets in the United States with plans for further expansion in Asia, South America, Europe, and Oceania.

While KAATSU has expanded to 32 countries as of 2018, there are also an increasing number of knock-offs and imitators that use KAATSU copyrighted materials and attempt to design products around KAATSU patents as the global market continues to grow.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Saturday, November 25, 2017

John Doolittle Joins The KAATSU Team

Retired Navy SEAL Captain John Doolittle as KAATSU Global's Chief Business Development Officer. Originally from Walnut Creek, California, he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992 and has a Master’s Degree in Defense Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School.

After graduation from the Air Force Academy, he received a cross commission and served as a hard-hat Dive Salvage Officer and Surface Warfare Officer with the U.S. Navy from three years in Hawaii. In 1996, he transferred to the Naval Special Warfare community and became a Navy SEAL.

From 1997 to 2002, Doolittle was assigned to Navy SEAL Team Two and served throughout Europe and Africa including a deployment in Kosovo during the 9/11 tragedy.

In 2002, he reported to Naval Special Warfare Unit Two in Germany and conducted special operations in the Baltics, Levant, Bosnia and East Africa. In 2005, he was assigned to Naval Special Warfare Unit One in Guam as an Executive Officer. In 2006, he was sent to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Special Operations Task Force West.

In 2007, he served in the U.S. Special Operations Command headquarters and was the Deputy Commander for Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Arabian Peninsula in Iraq. In 2009, he commanded the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. In 2013, he became a director for the Preservation of the Force and Family Task Force in Florida.

He has received a Bronze Star twice, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal twice.

He was first introduced to KAATSU while he was rehabilitating with injured knees and a torn bicep muscle.

Photos above show Doolittle, a former collegiate swimmer at the Air Force Academy, with his graduating SEAL's class in 1996 [bottom row, far right], upon his retirement, and introducing KAATSU to men and women from various walks of life.

Copyright © 2014-2017 by KAATSU Global

Monitoring With Masimo

"One of the best physiological monitoring devices that we use with KAATSU Master and KAATSU Nano is the Bluetooth-enabled Masimo MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter," said KAATSU Global CEO Steven Munatones.

"We can simultaneously track and archive the oxygen level in KAATSU user's blood, their pulse, the number of breaths per minute, a measure to understand how well hydrated they are, and another data point that indicates changes in blood circulation. We use the Masimo on ourselves and with our athletes."

The five specific parameters that can be tracked noninvasively include the following data points:

1. SpO2 or Oxygen Saturation is the oxygen level in your blood that indicates changes due to your heart or lung function, oxygen use by your body, or altitude. It is a percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is saturated with oxygen.

2. PR or Pulse Rate is the number of your heart pulses per minute that indicates your overall fitness or exertion levels.

3. RRp™ or Respiration Rate is the number of breaths per minute that indicates how well your heart and lungs function or how quickly you recover from exercise. It is a measurement of respiration rate based on changes in the plethysmographic waveform. The unit of measure is respirations per minute (RPM).

4. PVi® or Plethysmograph Variability Index is the variation in perfusion index over your breathing cycle, which may indicate changes in hydration, breathing effort, perfusion, or other factors. The Plethsymographic Waveform displays your real-time pulse pressure waveform. To properly measure your PVi®, you should lay down relaxed in a horizontal position and take it at the same time of the day in the same position.

5. PI or Perfusion Index is the strength of your blood flow to your finger that indicates changes in blood circulation. It is the ratio of the pulsatile blood flow to the non-pulsatile blood in peripheral tissue used to measure peripheral perfusion. The Perfusion Index values ranges from 0.02% for a very weak pulse to 20% for an extremely strong pulse.

For more information about the Masimo MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter, visit Masimo Personal Health here.

Copyright © 2014-2017 by KAATSU Global

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jonty Skinner Inducted In Hall Of Fame

Certified KAATSU Specialist Jonty Skinner, a former world record holder and USA Swimming National and Olympic team coach, was recently inducted in the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

He talks about his career and his path to the Hall of Fame above in the ASCA World Clinic in Washington D.C.

His use of KAATSU and KAATSU Aqua was explained here on FloSwimming.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Michael Andrew Goes 3 For 3

At the 2017 World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, 17-year-old Michael Andrew had an evening to remember.

At 6:24 pm, he set a world record in the 50-meter backstroke, winning the event in a time of 24.63 seconds.

At 6:40 pm, he entered the water again in the 50-meter butterfly in a semifinal heat and qualified first in 23.27 seconds, setting another world record.

At 7:11 pm, he walked up to the starting blocks in the 50-meter freestyle for his third race in 45 minutes and won the event, setting his third world record in 21.75 seconds.

He followed the KAATSU Cycle protocol between races that allowed him to recover quickly and prepare himself physiologically for his next event.

For more information on his remarkable evening, visit SwimSwam and Swimming World Magazine.

Copyright © 2014-2016 by KAATSU Global, Inc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

KAATSU Training On Proliferation and Differentiation Of Goat Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells

The video above shows the subjects of an interesting series of research projects by the China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University in Changchun, China.

The initial results were published in the Chinese language in the Chinese Journal of Laboratory Diagnosis (25 Aug 2016 issue, Vol. 20, No. 8, P. 1240) entitled Effects of KAATSU Training on proliferation and differentiation of goat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells by by Yu-hui Yang, Shao-qian Sun, Yoshiaki Sato, et al.

The English translation of the paper is below:


To explore the effects of KAATSU Training on proliferation and differentiation of goat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells.


60 Boer goats were randomly divided into experimental group and control group, the experimental group was given KAATSU Training twice a week, non-KAATSU Training twice a week for the control group. 6 months later, we got the goat bone marrow and then separated and absorbed the white cloud layer which mainly contained the mononuclear cell in the upper-middle interface with the method of percoll-density gradient centrifugation, cultured and observed the cell morphology and the proliferation rate; the cells of the two groups were induced into cardiomyocyte like cells by the 5-azacytidine. The cells which had been differentiated were detected with the expression of the cardiac specific antigen α-actin by immunofluorescence assay.


The cells isolated from the bone marrow in the white cloud layer were adherent, generated and grew well. In addition, the cells which induced by 5-azacytidine could express the cardiac specific antigen. The bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells of the experimental group were small and round, and their proliferation rate was faster than the control group, though the shape of the cells in the control group were polygonal or triangular, and the proliferation rate were slow.


It has been succeeded both in separation and cultivation of the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, and also induced the proliferation of turning into cardiomyocyte like cells in vitro. The bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in pressurization motion for a long period of time were easier to proliferate than the cells in non-pressurization motion, but the differentiated capability were low.

Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are from the mesoderm and are pluripotent stem cells with high capability in proliferation, self-renewal and multi-directional differentiation potential. Further studies have demonstrated that BMSCs can differentiate into cardiomyocytes, neurons or neuroglial cells. Upon in vivo transplantation, these cells can migrate to injured sites (mostly to ischemic or anaerobic sites) and repair respective tissues. Cell transplantation has provided brand-new treatment strategy to irreversible heart diseases. BMSCs are currently considered as one of the most ideal seed cells for cell transplantation, and are often used as carrier cells in gene therapy. Allogeneic BMSC transplantation may trigger immunologic rejection, while autologous stem cells are of limited quantities.

It is therefore crucial to look into how autologous stem cells could proliferate and be release to the bloodstream, especially in large mammals. In recent years, the number of studies focused on small animals such as mice/rat or rabbit is relatively high, but few studies and report investigate into BMSCs in bigger animals like goats. Thus, it is important to study the in vitro directed differentiation of BMSCs from goat as a big animal.

Osaka University and Peking University have both carried on research on stem cells with some of their work summarized below:

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Friday, August 11, 2017

KAATSU For Baseball Players

Teenage baseball players can use KAATSU in three primary ways that have been tested and proven by professional baseball players:

1. Athletic Performance
2. Injury Rehabilitation
3. Recovery

Athletic Performance
1. For throwing: warm-up with KAATSU Cycle and throw as normal with KAATSU Optimal SKU Pressure and the Arm Bands untethered.
2. For pitching: warm-up with KAATSU Cycle and pitch as normal with KAATSU Optimal SKU Pressure and the Arm or Leg Bands untethered.
3. For running: warm-up with KAATSU Cycle and do base running as normal with KAATSU Optimal SKU Pressure with the Leg Bands untethered.
4. For batting: warm-up with KAATSU Cycle and take practice swings (i.e., not at home base with a pitcher) with KAATSU Optimal SKU Pressure with the Arm or Leg Bands untethered.
* Avoid fielding or batting to the KAATSU Arm or Leg Bands on. We want to avoid any possible unintended injuries.

Injury Rehabilitation
Use KAATSU Cycle (Cycle 20 or Cycle 60) to augment traditional rehabilitation therapy and to avoid muscle atrophy.

1. Post-game pitcher: ice + 3-5 KAATSU Cycles on arms as an ideal post-game recovery mode to reduce inflammation.
2. Post-workout field players: 3-5 KAATSU Cycles after weight-running or a particularly long and vigorous workout.
3. Travel: 3-5 KAATSU Cycles on arms and/or legs after long trips or overnight travel as desired.

Copyright © 2014-2017 by KAATSU Global

Friday, June 30, 2017

Coaching With KAATSU Aqua

Chris Morgan, a 2008 Olympic swimming coach, teaches and teaches everyone about KAATSU the original BFR on dryland and KAATSU Aqua in the water from Olympic swimming medalists and Olympic Trials finalists to masters swimmers (24- 75 years), competitive age group swimmers and collegiate swimmers for those aiming for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to those recovering from injuries.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Unique Vision By Dr. Yoshiaki Sato

Retired Navy SEAL Captain John Doolittle is shown holding a Japanese sword owned by KAATSU inventor Dr. Yoshiaki Sato at the headquarters of KAATSU Japan in Fuchu just outside of Tokyo.

The unique sword is made from a meteorite that had fallen in Japan.

Dr. Sato acquired the raw meteorite years ago and commissioned one of Japan's most renowned sword makers to create an otherworldly long bladed weapon.

The sword is so strong that it was tested by cutting cleanly through the chassis of a motor vehicle.

The unique vision of Dr. Sato - whether it comes to KAATSU or a sword made from a meteorite - is always a pleasure to behold.

Copyright © 2014-2017 by KAATSU Global

Friday, June 16, 2017

KAATSU Aqua Burpees

The KAATSU Aqua Burpees (arms) can include any number of swims and exercises to maximize intensity in the water.

One version is shown above with a 54-year-old swimmer doing the following Burpee:

1st lap = 25 yards of butterfly + pull-ups off the diving board performed to muscular failure
2nd lap = 25 yards of freestyle
3rd lap = 25 yards of butterfly + push-ups on deck performed to muscular failure
4th lap = 25 yards of freestyle

This KAATSU Aqua Arm Burpees set with the pneumatic KAATSU Aqua Bands includes 100 yards of swimming (with hand paddles to increase intensity) + a maximum number of pull-ups and push-ups performed to muscular failure.

3-4 sets of these KAATSU Aqua Arm Burpees with 1-2 minute rest between each set is plenty for a thoroughly exhausting workout for all levels of lifeguards, swimmers, water polo players, triathletes, military special operators, CrossFit athletes, surfers, surf lifesavers and other types of watermen and water women.

The total arm workout time would be between 10-15 minutes total.

KAATSU Aqua Leg Burpees can include a combination of eggbeatering (treading water) with your hands and elbows out of the water + non-lock (partial extension) squats on deck performed to muscular failure + vertical kicking with a medicine ball and kicking with a kickboard to muscular failure.

An example could be: 1st lap = 25 yards of kicking with a kickboard + vertical kicking with a medicine ball to muscular failure
2nd lap = 25 yards of kicking with a kickboard
3rd lap = 25 yards of eggbeater + non-lock squats on deck performed to muscular failure
4th lap = 25 yards of sprint kicking with a kickboard

Kicking can be done with or without fins.

The total leg workout time would be between 10-15 minutes total.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Increasing Range Of Motion With KAATSU

Robert Heiduk of KAATSU Germany worked with a young woman who had a ski accident 10 weeks ago. She could not raise her right arm above her shoulder before seeing Heiduk.

Heiduk used the standard KAATSU protocols that he learned from Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in Tokyo (i.e., KAATSU Cycle + movement under Optimal SKU pressure). Her range of motion before and after KAATSU is shown above as a result of a single KAATSU session.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Thursday, March 16, 2017

KAATSU In Hawaii

North Shore lifeguards on Oahu use KAATSU the original BFR in a variety of ways for training, rehabilitation and recovery.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

Thursday, March 9, 2017

How The University Of Alabama Uses KAATSU

Among his many athletic and coaching achievements, Jonty Skinner will be inducted as a coach in the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

The current Associate Head Coach at the University of Alabama first made his name in the international sports arena as one of the fastest sprinters in the world.

He was one of the gold medal favorites in the 100m freestyle at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. However, his home country of South Africa was still banned due to its apartheid, and he was ineligible to compete.

At the 1976 Olympics, his American rival Jim Montgomery won the 100m gold medal en route to becoming the first swimmer in history to break the 50-second barrier in the 100m freestyle with a 49.99. Twenty days later at the American national swimming championships in Philadelphia, Skinner swam a 49.44 to set the world record that would last for the next five years.

Upon his retirement as the world's fastest sprinter, Skinner has established an even greater legacy, in coaching.

He has become a scientifically-minded, analytically-oriented coach which included an 8-year reign as USA Swimming’s Director of National Team Technical Support covering the 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In this position, Skinner was charged with organizing all of the testing, monitoring, and analysis of national team swimmers.

He also coached three separate times in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama (1978-1981; 1988-1994, 2012-present) in one of the swimming world's most prestigious swimming programs.

As Skinner is described by Floswimming, "He continues to apply his analytical mind towards using cutting-edge scientific methods on his swimmers. In a sport where races are won and lost by hundredths of seconds, Skinner is always searching for new and creative ways to get his swimmers to move faster through the water."

Watch his use of KAATSU here, produced by Floswimming.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global

How North Shore Lifeguards Train With KAATSU

Location: North Shore, Oahu in Hawaii.

Some of the most monstrous and among the best-known waves for surfers crash onto the North Shore of Oahu in the state of Hawaii.

With many surfers enjoying themselves in heavy surf while facing large waves over coral reefs at shallow depths while facing strong tidal pulls, rip tides and currents, the lifeguards on the North Shore of Oahu have their hands full.

To make a save, the lifeguards must run from their lifeguard station in soft sand, quickly put on their fins, and sprint through surf diving under the crashing waves. Then they must grab the troubled surfer, bodysurfer or ocean swimmer and safely bring them back to shore. And the lifeguards do it repeatedly on days where the surf can be rough or large.

This responsibility requires speed, strength and stamina.

How can these lifeguards use KAATSU and KAATSU Aqua to help improve their speed, strength and stamina?

For speed on land, lifeguards can place the KAATSU Air Bands on their legs and run on the soft sand at Waimea Bay or Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) or Haleiwa. They can start with simple walking and then end with short sprints on flat sand or up a sand dune.

For speed in the water, lifeguards can place the KAATSU Aqua Bands on their legs while using fins and do the following kicking and swimming sets in a pool:

• 1 x 25m easy kicking + 1 x 25m fast kicking
• 1 x 25m easy kicking + 1 x 50m fast kicking
• 1 x 25m easy kicking + 1 x 75m fast kicking
• 1 x 25m easy kicking + 1 x 100m fast kicking
• 10x streamlined jumps off the bottom of the pool and kick up as high out of the water as possible. Repeat immediately 10 times.

• 8 x 25m swimming freestyle with fins with 20 seconds rest between each 25
• 4 x 50m swimming freestyle with fins with the first 25m easy + second 25m fast
• 1 x 25m easy + 1 x 75m fast
• 1 x 25m easy + 1 x 100m fast

For strength on land, lifeguards can place the KAATSU Air Bands on their legs and do squats, leg lunges, leg curls and simply balance on one leg to gain core strength. Lifeguards can also place the KAATSU Air Bands on their arms and do KAATSU 3-point Exercises, push-ups or use resistance bands with a variety of exercises.

For strength in the water, lifeguards can place the KAATSU Aqua Bands on their legs while using fins or place the KAATSU Aqua Band on their arms while using hand paddles and do the following kicking and swimming sets in a pool:

• Kick in the vertical position for 10 seconds in a pool with hands and arms out of the water. Rest 10 seconds and repeat 4-8 times.
• Kick on one's back with arms straight out of the water: 4 x 25m with 20 seconds rest between each 25
• 4 x 25m hard with hand paddles and no fins, 20 seconds rest between each 25
• 8 x 25m easy/hard with 20 seconds rest and 10 seconds of vertical kicking (elbows out of water) between each 25

For stamina on land, lifeguards can place the KAATSU Air Bands on their legs and go for a slow run or spin on a stationary bicycle.

For stamina in the water, lifeguards can place the KAATSU Aqua Bands on their legs while using fins or place the KAATSU Aqua Band on their arms while using hand paddles and do the following kicking and swimming sets in a pool:

• 12 x 25m kicking with KAATSU Aqua Bands (2 butterfly, 2 backstroke, 4 freestyle, 4 head-up freestyle)
• 3 sets of vertical kicking with KAATSU Aqua Bands for 30-60 seconds until reaching muscular failure
• Aqua-jogging or aqua-running with KAATSU Aqua Bands in waist-deep water
• 3 x 60 seconds of treading water (eggbeater with arms above water) with KAATSU Aqua Bands

• Two lifeguards face each other and hold one kickboard between them. The kickboard is held in the vertical position. Each lifeguard kicks vigorously against each other, in the opposite direction, until one lifeguard has moved 5 meters.

KAATSU Air Bands can also be used for rehabilitation purposes under the guidance of a physical therapist or trainer.

Copyright © 2014 - 2017 by KAATSU Global