Friday, January 18, 2019

KAATSU Walking, Beneficial To Horses And Humans

For who? researchers, scientists, Baby Boomers, retirees, student-athletes
For what? Strength, stamina, functional movement, mobility, flexibility, recovery

Research on the effects of KAATSU has been conducted with men and women of all ages, abilities and conditions. An interesting variety of research has also included equine subjects (i.e., horses), mice, rats, and goats from Japan to the United States.

Research has been conducted at the University of Tokyo Hospital and Osaka University in Japan, at Peking University and Jilin University in China, at the Harvard Medical School, University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma and Rutgers University in the United States, at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in São Paulo, Brazil, and dozens other universities and academic research institutions.

The photos above show Chinese scientists attaching standard KAATSU Air Bands on the hind legs of goats in northern China under the auspices of China's State General Administration of Sports, the government agency responsible for sports in China that also administers the Chinese Olympic Committee.

Kenneth McKeever, Ph.D., FACSM serves as the Associate Director of Research and is a Professor of Animal Sciences at The Rutgers Equine Science Center. The Center is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and is dedicated to better horse care through research and education to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry.

Since 1995, Professor McKeever has proceeded to build, develop, and coordinate one of the most active Equine Exercise Physiology laboratories in the USA. One of the most interesting studies that Professor McKeever conducted in collaboration with his colleagues Professors Abe, Kearns, Filho and Sato of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the Tokyo Metropolitan University and the Department of Ischemic Circulatory Physiology at The University of Tokyo in Japan.

The study is entitled Muscle, tendon, and somatotropin responses to the restriction of muscle blood flow induced by KAATSU-walk training, published in Equine Exercise Physiology.

The researchers delved into the efficacy of KAATSU that has been demonstrated in human athletes, both as a therapeutic method as well as a training aid. The purpose of their study was to investigate the effects of slow walk training combined with restriction of muscle blood flow (KAATSU) on muscle and tendon size.

They studied 6 healthy, unfit Standardbred mares performed walking (240 meters/minute for 10 minutes and then a 5-minute recovery) with KAATSU, and 6 mares performed walking without KAATSU. A specially designed elastic band (manufactured by KAATSU Japan using the original KAATSU Master device) was placed at the most proximal position of the forelegs and inflated to a pressure of 200-230 mmHg throughout the walking and recovery sessions. [Note: the KAATSU Air Bands were the same model and type that were used by humans and with the goats in China).

The training was conducted once a day, 6 days/week for 2 weeks. Skeletal muscle thickness and tendon thickness were measured using B-mode ultrasound at baseline and after 2 weeks of training. Venous blood samples were obtained before the first acute exercise and 5, 15 and 60 minutes afterwards. Serum somatotropin concentration was determined using a commercially available equine-specific ELISA kit.

The professors found that the acute increase in plasma somatotropin was 40% greater (P<0.05) in the KAATSU-walk group than in the Control-walk group 5 minutes after exercise and remained elevated (P<0.05) at 15 and 60 minutes post exercise compared with the Control-walk group. After 2 weeks of training, muscle thickness increased (P<0.05) 3.5% in the KAATSU-walk group, but did not change in the Control-walk group (0.7%). Tendon thickness did not change (P>0.05) in either group.

They concluded that these data demonstrate that KAATSU can induce muscle hypertrophy in horses and suggest that KAATSU may provide significant therapeutic/rehabilitative value in horses, as has been shown in man.

In 2017, Dr. William Ursprung conducted a KAATSU Walking study at Texas A&M University entitled The Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on VO2Max and 1.5 Mile Run Performance on humans (published in the International Journal of Exercise Science), not the equine subjects that Professor McKeever had done at Rutgers.

Dr. Ursprung utilized the KAATSU Nano device (a smaller, more portable equivalent of the KAATSU Master that Professor McKeever used) and the same KAATSU Air Bands that were used on the Standardbred mares in Rutgers.

Dr. Ursprung used the KAATSU Air Bands to safely maintain arterial inflow to the leg muscles while preventing venous outflow. He writes, "Blood flow restriction training with resistance has been shown to improve muscular power, sprinting speed, strength, hypertrophy and endurance. Non-resistance training methods using [KAATSU], such as walking, may increase strength and hypertrophy however the effects on aerobic capacity are less uncertain and the research in this area is limited.

Using 10 young, fit, well-trained male military personnel, Dr. Ursprung evaluated the effects of 3 weeks of [KAATSU Walking] on VO2max, 1.5-mile run times, and muscular size. He recorded the pre- and post-measurements of VO2max, 1.5-mile run times, and thigh muscle cross sectional area and found that KAATSU Walking resulted in significant improvements in VO2max (p=.034), significant decreases in 1.5-mile run time (p=.024) and significant increases in thigh muscle cross sectional area (p=.016).

So while Professor McKeever found that limited KAATSU Walking can induce muscle hypertrophy in horses and concluded that KAATSU may provide significant therapeutic/rehabilitative value in horses, Dr. Ursprung concluded that similarly limited KAATSU Walking can improve the aerobic capacity, endurance and muscular size at low training volumes and intensities among humans.

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