Monday, August 30, 2021

Jamal Hill Wins Bronze Medal At Tokyo Paralympics

Jamal Hill won his first Paralympic Games medal in the S9 50-meter freestyle sprint in Tokyo.

Hill is relatively new to the para swimming community, but he has been coming on strongly over the last year. He vaulted into the highest echelon of para sprinters when he won a silver medal in the 2019 Para Pan American Games.

His lifetime best was 26.10 in that silver medal winning performance in 2019. Then uncertainty, stress, no competitions and minimal training waylaid his training during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. It would have been easy for Hill to bow out and just get on with his emerging Swim Up Hill Foundation.

But he continued to move forward and train as best he could under the guidance of his coach Wilma Wong. Using his KAATSU equipment and race pain training, he dropped his best time from 26.10 to 25.19, a tremendous improvement over such a short distance.

Gold: Simone Barlaam (Italy) 24.71
Silver: TARASOV Denis Tarasov (Russia) 24.99
Bronze: Jamal Hill (USA) 25.19
4th: William Martin (Australia) 25.34
5th: Fredrik Solberg (Norway) 25.53
6th: Bogdan Mozgovoi (Russia) 25.56
7th: Timothy Disken (Australia) 25.71
8th: Yahor Shchalkanau (Belarus) 25.96

Hill behind the scenes wearing his KAATSU C3 as a form of recovery:

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Gold Medal By Robert Griswold Was 20 Years In The Making

Robert Griswold wins gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 20 years after Dr. Sato's seminal presentation on the use of KAATSU with individuals with congenital cerebral palsy.


At the 2001 KAATSU Training International Symposium in Tokyo, KAATSU inventor Dr. Yoshiaki Sato explained the innovative KAATSU Cycle protocols that he used with one of his patients, Mr. Kato who has congenital cerebral palsy [see photos above]. Both Dr. Sato and Mr. Kato impressed the audience with Mr. Kato's physiological improvements.

One of the few foreign participants in the Symposium was American Steven Munatones who had just begun to being mentored on KAATSU by Dr. Sato.

Dial forward to 2017 when 2016 Rio Paralympic Games bronze medalist Robert Griswold called Munatones and asked about KAATSU. Griswold, similar to Mr. Kato, has congenital cerebral palsy in Tokyo. He was in the middle of training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and wanted to start KAATSU in order to improve his strength, flexibility and mobility.

Griswold has been doing so ever since. Utilizing the patented KAATSU protocols created by Dr. Sato and first utilized by Mr. Kato, Griswold started to see improvement as he had hoped.

"If we compare Robert's speed and best time in 2016 at the Rio Paralympic Games to what he did in Tokyo, it is a remarkable improvement," said Steven Munatones. "In Rio, he swam the S8 100 meter backstroke in 1:04.68. In Tokyo, he set a world record in 1:02.55. Over two seconds at this level is stunning."

Griswold dreamed of standing on top of the awards podium in Tokyo and hearing his national anthem. In Tokyo 20 years after Mr. Kato had wowed the participants in the 2001 KAATSU Training International Symposium, Griswold similarly impressed with a world record setting performance to win the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Griswold started out quickly, but controlled, with a 30.35 split on the first 50. On the NBC telecast [shown above], he started to approach closer and closer to the world record line on every stroke as he powered through his second lap. He finished with a blazing 32.3 final 50 meters to set a world record and Paralympic record of 1:02.55.

He broke the 1:02.90 world record of China’s Cong Zhou at 1:02.90 who set that world record en route to gold at the Rio Paralympics. But Griswold took two steps up the podium and set a new standard in the men's S8 category.

"Robert has always impressed me, both in and out of the water," remarked Steven Munatones. "Like his hero - renowned Olympic backstroke champion Aaron Piersol, Robert came through big-time today - and he was able to do it with his family in the stands."

Griswold's road to gold was a long time coming. "From a young age, I knew I was different when I was in the playground. But when I got in the swimming pool, I felt like everyone else. I was just six years old at the time and it was so much fun to be able to compete in a sport, something that I'd never had the opportunity to do before."

Griswold exudes positivity and goal-setting and is a role model for many. "Don't give up on yourself. Just because you're at a disadvantage doesn't mean you should look at yourself that way. My cerebral palsy affects my general coordination, walking, running, jumping. It also affects my hands a little bit and my fine motor skills.

I worked for five years for this moment. I remember this record took a big jump down in Rio, and I was in that race, and I woke up the next day and said, ‘How can I get down to 1:02.90?’ I thought about it again and again, and said if I just kept a little bit better every day, it will click. Then one day it all clicked. I honestly wasn’t thinking 1:02.50. I hit the wall and saw that I was out at 30-something, and I said, ‘You know what, let’s just go for it’ and I went with. When I touched the wall I just screamed with joy because I was so happy to do the best I could for my country.”

S8 100m Backstroke Final - Results:
Gold: Robert Griswold (USA) 1:05.49
Silver: Inigo Llopis Sanz (Spain) 1:06.82
Bronze: Fengqi Liu (China) 1:07.09
4th: Jesse Aungles (Australia) 1:07.94
5th: Kota Kubota (Japan) 1:09.09
6th: Pavel Kuklin (Russia) 1:09.26
7th: Joseph Peppersack (USA) 1:09.45
8th: Jurijs Semjonovs (Latvia)

Compared to his strong start, turn and kick in Tokyo, Griswold does not appear to be as powerful in 2016 prior to his use of KAATSU:

His upper body looks much stronger as was confirmed by BMI tests conducted at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

Additional articles on Robert Griswold:
* Rocking And Recovery With Robert, Heading To The Tokyo Paralympics
* Robert Griswold Recovers From High Lactate Levels With KAATSU
* KAATSU Cycling To Help Recover From High Lactate Levels
* Robert Griswold, Jamal Hill Head Into The Olympic Year
* Robert Griswold Giving Back And Inspiring Others

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Friday, August 27, 2021

Robert Griswold Steps Up And Wins Gold In S8 100m Backstroke At Tokyo Paralympic Games

Long-time KAATSU user Robert Griswold won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in the S8 100 meter backstroke final in 1:04.68. Since Rio, he has dreamed of standing on top of the awards podium and hearing the national anthem of the United States.

Today was his day to proudly hear his national anthem with a gold medal around his neck.

Griswold started out quickly, but controlled, with a 30.35 split on the first 50. On the NBC telecast [shown above], viewers could see how he started to approach closer and closer to the world record line on every stroke as he powered through his second lap. He finished with a blazing 32.3 final 50 meters to set a world record and Paralympic record of 1:02.55.

He broke the 1:02.90 world record of China’s Cong Zhou at 1:02.90 who set that world record en route to gold at the Rio Paralympics. But Griswold took two steps up the podium and set a new standard in the men's S8 category.

"Robert has always impressed me, both in and out of the water," remarked Steven Munatones. "Like his hero - renowned Olympic backstroke champion Aaron Piersol, Robert came through big-time today - and he was able to do it with his family in the stands."

Griswold's road to gold was a long time coming. "From a young age, I knew I was different when I was in the playground. But when I got in the swimming pool, I felt like everyone else. I was just six years old at the time and it was so much fun to be able to compete in a sport, something that I'd never had the opportunity to do before."

Griswold, who has congenital cerebral palsy and was born with dislocated knees and hips, exudes positivity and goal-setting and is a role model for many. "Don't give up on yourself. Just because you're at a disadvantage doesn't mean you should look at yourself that way. My cerebral palsy affects my general coordination, walking, running, jumping. It also affects my hands a little bit and my fine motor skills.

I worked for five years for this moment. I remember this record took a big jump down in Rio, and I was in that race, and I woke up the next day and said, ‘How can I get down to 1:02.90?’ I thought about it again and again, and said if I just kept a little bit better every day, it will click. Then one day it all clicked. I honestly wasn’t thinking 1:02.50. I hit the wall and saw that I was out at 30-something, and I said, ‘You know what, let’s just go for it’ and I went with. When I touched the wall I just screamed with joy because I was so happy to do the best I could for my country.”

Griswold has a demanding schedule throughout the rest of the Tokyo Paralympics. He swims the 200m individual medley on August 28th, the 400m freestyle on August 31st, the 100m butterfly on September 3rd, and the possibility of some freestyle and medley relays.

S8 100m Backstroke Final - Results:
Gold: Robert Griswold (USA) 1:05.49
Silver: Inigo Llopis Sanz (Spain) 1:06.82
Bronze: Fengqi Liu (China) 1:07.09
4th: Jesse Aungles (Australia) 1:07.94
5th: Kota Kubota (Japan) 1:09.09
6th: Pavel Kuklin (Russia) 1:09.26
7th: Joseph Peppersack (USA) 1:09.45
8th: Jurijs Semjonovs (Latvia)

Additional articles on Robert Griswold:
* Rocking And Recovery With Robert, Heading To The Tokyo Paralympics
* Robert Griswold Recovers From High Lactate Levels With KAATSU
* KAATSU Cycling To Help Recover From High Lactate Levels
* Robert Griswold, Jamal Hill Head Into The Olympic Year
* Robert Griswold Giving Back And Inspiring Others

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A KAATSU Don't With KAATSU Leg Bands

A few KAATSU users have mentioned that their KAATSU Air Bands are leaking air. These leaks can be caused under the following circumstance:

Do not inflate your KAATSU Air Bands to high pressures (350-400 SKU) in the KAATSU Constant mode and then sit down on a chair with your full body weight. This places an inordinate amount of stress on the air bladder inside the band. Over time done repeatedly, the stress will eventually lead to a small leak in the seams of the bands.

Do not inflate your KAATSU Air Bands to maximum pressure of 400 SKU in the KAATSU Constant mode. In reality, only a few people can properly do exercise under such high pressures - if the leg bands are used under proper Base Pressure. Most people can get an excellent workout in the 200-350 SKU range.

Remember to always sit at the edge of your chair if you are doing exercises in either the KAATSU Cycle or KAATSU Constant modes, especially if you are sitting on a hard chair (i.e., not a soft sofa).

If you are relaxing at home and sitting on a soft sofa, then an inordinate high level of stress is not placed on the air bladder in the maximally inflated KAATSU Air Bands while in the KAATSU Constant mode.

Of course, it is always best to use the KAATSU Cycle mode anyway.

KAATSU equipment and protocols can improve blood circulation and improve muscle tone. KAATSU is the Original BFR (Blood Flow Restriction), invented in 1966 while the KAATSU Cycle was invented in 1973.

The KAATSU products are engineered and designed in Southern California while the initial testing and research were conducted by Dr. Sato and cardiologists Dr. Toshiaki Nakajima and Dr. Toshihiro Morita at the University of Tokyo Hospital with over 7,000 cardiac rehab patients between 2004 and 2014.

KAATSU is the pioneer in the emerging global BFR market. The carefully controlled, easy-to-use pneumatic KAATSU bands automatically and safely optimizes blood circulation for muscle tone, strength, mobility, rehabilitation, and recovery.

KAATSU devices (KAATSU Master 2.0, KAATSU Cycle 2.0, KAATSU C3, KAATSU B1, KAATSU AI) included a handheld automated compressor and universal pneumatic, stretchable bands which are placed around the arms or legs. Arm bands and leg bands are used separately during each session.

The KAATSU Air Bands inflate and deflate in a patented sequence based on algorithms that are optimal for each user, no matter their age or physical abilities. KAATSU protocols are convenient, easy-to-do, and time-effective. KAATSU equipment offer unparalleled performance, precision, and safety for users of all ages, fitness levels, and walks of life - and can be used anywhere anytime to help people...

Recover Faster, Rehab Stronger, and Perform Better.

For more information, visit the website to learn more about BFR, Blood Flow Restriction, BFR exercise, BFR science, and KAATSU protocols and how KAATSU differs from B Strong, Delfi Portable Tourniquet System for Blood Flow Restriction, Smart Cuffs, and other BFR brands and low-cost occlusion bands.

The primary differences between KAATSU and other BFR bands is:

(1) KAATSU utilizes the patented Cycle function
(2) different pressures can be simultaneously used on different limbs, including the option of doing Single-Limb KAATSU
(3) KAATSU equipment and protocols were proven safe and effective after a decade of clinical use and research on over 7,000 cardiac rehab patients at the University of Tokyo Hospital (2004 - 2014)
(4) KAATSU is used by cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, and physicians in various specialties
(5) KAATSU Air Bands do not occlude arterial flow
(6) KAATSU is meant to be gentle and convenient in order to do anywhere anytime
(7) KAATSU is used worldwide by people up to the age of 104
(8) more research has been conducted in more countries on KAATSU than any other BFR device
(9) the seminal, groundbreaking research on BFR was conducted and published by KAATSU inventor Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in the 1990s
(10) KAATSU Air Bands are waterproof and the KAATSU C3 is ruggedized for military applications

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Department of Defense Warrior Games Cancelled, Again

The 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games have been canceled due to the COVID-19 Delta variant.

requirement to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our service members and local communities as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to affect the country.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth made the decision to cancel the 2021 games in consultation with senior Army leaders, medical professionals and key stakeholders to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.

I want to thank all of the athletes, staff personnel and our partners for their hard work to prepare for this year’s DoD Warrior Games,” said Wormuth. “It’s unfortunate we are unable to hold the Games, but our first priority must be the health and welfare of everyone involved. The entire DoD understands the importance of the Warrior Games to the athletes and their families, as part of their recovery process, which makes this decision even more difficult. The Games are an important event for the DoD community. We look forward to resuming them next year if public health conditions permit.”

The Warrior Games, originally scheduled to be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida from September 12th - 22nd, is the second consecutive year the event has been cancelled. It is a series of competitions between wounded, ill and injured service-member athletes from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Space Force and Special Operations in adaptive sports that includes sitting volleyball, powerlifting, cycling, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, golf, precision air sports, swimming, indoor rowing, archery and track & field.

"We were so much looking forward to participating in The Warrior Games as a recovery modality - as were all the athletes and staff," said Steven Munatones of KAATSU Global. "I cannot imagine how disappointed they must feel. But we will continue to support these athletes and their colleagues through our various KAATSU Recovery programs."

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Get On Target, Make Bold Adjustments. Advice From Will Branum

For who? Work-at-home employees, student-athletes, tactical athletes
For what? Functional movement, strength, flexibility, mobility, KAATSU At Home

A U.S. Navy SEAL with 26 years of service, William Branum is the founder of Naked Warrior Recovery and a KAATSU Master Specialist in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He gives good advice, "As a Navy SEAL Sniper Instructor, my biggest challenge was convincing guys that to get their rounds to the center of the target they needed to make BOLD adjustments when sighting in a new rifle.

Almost every Sniper student and platoon member that I taught made the exact same mistake. They would shoot 3 rounds and see where the rounds impacted, then they would make small adjustments and fire 3 more rounds. The results usually showed the next group of rounds landed in almost the same place on the target.

When a shooter would make BOLD adjustments, almost ridiculous adjustments to their sights, the bullet impact would generally be much closer to the center. Once they were closer to the center, they could make smaller adjustments to get on target.

This same thing is true in life. If you want to make changes and hit the bullseye and you are barely hitting the paper, you have to make bold adjustments in your habits and practices to get close to where you want to be. If you only make small adjustments, you will never get there.

In life, when we want change, I mean real change we have to be willing to make bold adjustments to see change. Once we have achieved noticeable changes, we can make the small adjustments to hit the bullseye

At an early age in his home state of Mississippi, Branum knew he wanted to be part of a team that would push him beyond whatever limits he thought he had and still enjoy the outdoors and all it had to offer. He charged forward and became an Eagle Scout and joined the Navy immediately after high school graduation. After graduating from the famed Navy SEAL Training (BUD/S Class 208), he was stationed in Virginia Beach, then San Diego, and finally Oahu where he served on multiple SEAL Teams, taught SEAL Sniper School, and deployed around the globe.

As with too many veterans, Branum suffered from numerous physical injuries and psychological symptoms that negatively impacted his well-being and quality of life. He talks about his use of KAATSU the original BFR both at home and in the Pacific Ocean, his company, and THC-free CBD in the KAATSU At Home interview series with fellow Navy SEAL John Doolittle and Steven Munatones [see video above].

For information about Branum's Naked Warrior Recovery, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Recovering From Broken Bones With KAATSU Cycles

For who? young people and competitive athletes with broken bones
For what? recovery, functional movement, functional movement and strength

In the video above, 2010 Olympic silver medalist Todd Lodwick broke his left arm and torn his ligaments only 28 days before the 2014 Winter Olympics. He did Single-limb KAATSU on his non-injured limbs (both legs and right arm) and was able to compete admirably well in both the ski jumping and the Nordic combined events after only five weeks of KAATSU in 2014.

During his rehabilitation, the staff at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association noted that Lodwick was getting too muscular after a few weeks of KAATSU - despite his broken bone and torn ligaments. They noticed his muscle hypertrophy despite doing no weights or traditional strength training exercises. In response, his KAATSU pressure levels were reduced and he stretched more and did low-pressure, post-workout KAATSU Cycle sets so his muscle hypertrophy was not accelerated (see above).

Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen, the attending US Ski & Snowboard Association physician who managed Lodwick's rehabilitation with KAATSU equipment and bands, said, "His recovery was unheard of with the incorporation of KAATSU."

Broken Bones:

People often ask how KAATSU the Original BFR can be safely used as part of their rehabilitation of a broken limb, especially when the injured arm or leg must be keep immobilized as it heals.

Similar to Lodwick who came back in an unprecedented time from a broken humerus and torn ligaments in his arm within four weeks prior to the 2014 Olympics, KAATSU users can perform KAATSU two or three per day if they primarily use the KAATSU Cycle mode. They can also incorporate KAATSU Aqua and KAATSU Cycle near bedtime.

KAATSU Protocols:

1. Be well hydrated with water before, during and after each KAATSU session.
2. Be comfortable while doing KAATSU; stop immediately if you feel pain.
3. Always start with Progressive KAATSU Cycles on your arms (i.e., either do Single-Limb KAATSU Cycles on only one arm or Standard KAATSU Cycles on both arms). Do 3-6 KAATSU Cycle sets that will take between 15 and 35 minutes.
4. Then do Progressive KAATSU Cycles on your legs (i.e., either Single-Limb KAATSU Cycles on only one leg or Standard KAATSU Cycles on both legs). Do 3-6 KAATSU Cycle sets that will take between 15 and 35 minutes.
5. If two KAATSU sessions are performed, do the first session at your convenience and the last session preferably at night closer to bedtime. 6. If three KAATSU sessions can be performed, do the first session in the morning, the second session in the afternoon, and the last session at night, ideally an hour within bedtime.
7. In the case that a KAATSU Aqua session can be performed, this in-water option presents additional benefits and can substitute for the first or session dryland session.

Progressive KAATSU Cycles:

The Progressive KAATSU Cycles is where the compression (i.e., pressure within the KAATSU Air Bands) begins gently and incrementally increasing (over 30-second intervals), followed by brief decompression intervals of 5 seconds. Your limb will gradually become more and more engorged with blood, as your skin color becomes pinker and more red over time.

With Progressive KAATSU Cycles, start with very conservative pressure (i.e., low SKU pressure) while you get comfortable in position. The more comfortable you are, the more benefit you will feel.

Your vascular tissue needs to be very, very, very gradually worked on. Starting with very low SKU pressures and then slowly increasing incrementally is the most effective and efficient way to increase the elasticity of your vascular tissue. For example, on the KAATSU C3, users can start on the LOW pressure several times and then gradually move to the MEDIUM pressure. Some users even go lower than the LOW SKU settings and use the CUSTOM mode.


1. Movements with either the KAATSU arm bands or leg bands on can include standard physical therapy exercises or similar movements used in your sport.
2. No movement or exercise should hurt or cause pain or discomfort.
3. Your limbs (especially your hands or feet) should have a fast CRT (Capillary Refill Time) of under 3 seconds, and preferably under 1 seconds.
4. In addition or alternatively, standard KAATSU 3-Point Exercises in the KAATSU Cycle mode can be used:
- Hand Clenches + Biceps Curls + Triceps Extensions on your arms.
- Heel Raises + Leg Curls + Non-lock Partial Quarter Squats on your legs.
5. KAATSU Walking is another effective alternative if the injury is in your arms.
4. KAATSU Aqua or KAATSU Aqua Walking is an additional effective alternative if the injury is in your arms. In the water, the KAATSU device is detached from the KAATSU Air Bands and the KAATSU Constant mode is used.

Various movements - or no movement at all - are up to your discretion. It could be as simple of Standard KAATSU 3-Point Exercises (e.g., Hand Clenches, Biceps Curls, Triceps Extensions, Toe Curls) or other movements (e.g., Head or Foot Rotations, Balancing on One Foot, Stretching, Walking, Standing Up and Sitting Down, Handwriting). But it is very important avoid any painful movements or any sudden movements. KAATSU is best done with slow, easy, gentle movements. You can think of KAATSU as slow stretching of the muscular and connective tissue.

Muscle Hypertrophy or Atrophy Avoidance:

The overall effects of KAATSU are best for muscle hypertrophy or avoidance of muscle atrophy if the movement of your limbs is slow, steady and gentle. Keep your muscles contracted while they are moved in both the positive and negative directions (eccentric and concentric).

Stamina Maintenance or Improvement:

The overall effects of KAATSU are best for maintenance or improvement of stamina is best if you do something aerobic like steady walking outside or an a treadmile, slow jogs, kicking in the water, rowing, and cycling if possible. There is no need to go all-out or intensely; steady is best.

Single-limb KAATSU:

Sometimes due to wearing a cast or brace or being in a wheelchair or using crutches, it is not possible to place KAATSU Air Bands around one or more limbs. In this case, you can do Single-limb KAATSU where you only place the band on one limb.

KAATSU has systemic effects all over the body, including in the injured limb - even if KAATSU is not done on that particular limb.

Systemic Effects of KAATSU:

At the Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Center for Translational Musculoskeletal Research and the University of Indianapolis Department of Kinesiology, Dr. Alan Mikesky and his research team researched the crossover effects of KAATSU [see Modified KAATSU Training: Adaptations and Subject Perceptions here]. In his research, Professor Mikesky was looking to confirm the systemic effects of KAATSU.

The researchers applied KAATSU Air Bands on only one arm of subjects and tested the strength, girth, tomography scans along with RPE (Rated Perceived Exertion scale) of both arms of the subjects.

The research team correctly did KAATSU and measured both the Base SKU (which they called “Cuff Tightness Pressure in mm Hg"and Optimal SKU (which they called “Cuff Inflation Pressure in mm Hg”) levels.

It should be noted that the SKU levels were conservative for relatively young subjects. The subjects started at 10 Base SKU in Week 1 and increased to 30 Base SKU by Week 8; they started at 90 Base SKU in Week 1 and increased to 180 Base SKU by Week 8. Both the KAATSU arm and the non-KAATSU arm girth increased (measured in cm between Week 0 and Week 8):

Non-KAATSU Arm (cm) girth:
Week 0: 22.7 cm
Week 2: 24.3 cm
Week 4: 24.9 cm
Week 6: 25.7 cm
Week 8: 26.1 cm

KAATSU Arm (cm) girth:
Week 0: 23.0 cm
Week 2: 23.2 cm
Week 4: 24.5 cm
Week 6: 25.4 cm
Week 8: 26.1 cm

The research showed how doing KAATSU on one limb can have crossover (systemic) effects on the other limb - a very important goal for individuals with one injured limb who is trying to recover. Another previous study conducted in Japan is entitled Cross-Transfer Effects of Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction (see here).

In summary, doing KAATSU on healthy limbs can have direct crossover benefits to the recovery, strength and girth of an injured limb or core.

KAATSU SKU Pressure:

Always start conservatively with KAATSU (see here). You may not be able to do 3-6 KAATSU Cycle sets on your arms and legs in the beginning. Perhaps you can start with 1-2 KAATSU Cycle sets on your upper body and lower body - and then gradually increase the number of KAATSU Cycle sets over the course of several weeks. This is perfectly acceptable.

After several weeks of KAATSU Cycles performed daily on your arms and legs, you most likely will see a number of changes and benefits as you learn the best pressure and duration that fits your recovery and lifestyle.

Other Modalities

You can also use other modalities and therapy in conjunction with or before or after KAATSU including acupressure, electric muscle stim therapy, aqua therapy, KAATSU Aqua, etc.

Nightly KAATSU:

Ideally an hour before going to bed, do a few sets of KAATSU Cycles on your arms. Simply, sit or do very casual shoulder rotations. Do nothing vigorous and avoid all intense exercises. Your goal is to activate your parasympathic nervous system in order to get a good night of restful sleep.


KAATSU Aqua is ideally done in waist-deep water where the buoyance of the water assists in supporting your weight and, thereby, decreases the amount of weight bearing which reduces the force of stress placed on your joints. KAATSU Aqua can help improve flexibility, balance and coordination while building muscle strength and endurance.

A dryland alternative to KAATSU Aqua would be combining KAATSU Air Bands while working out in an AlterG machine.

KAATSU with People with Paralysis:

Q1. Why does a patient with paralysis become more relaxed and sleep better after doing KAATSU?

A1. The sympathetic nervous system has been activated for a long time. When KAATSU is performed, the sympathetic nervous system relaxes as the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated and patients with paralysis are able to sleep well [after KAATSU]. Also, mechanical stress - which is a good stress - occurs and they can sleep comfortably.

Q2. What is the mechanism that enables an increased passive range of motion in her elbows, hands, and ankles?

A2. After the accident, joints became harden and spastic [for a long time, decades]. The tendons and ligaments become harden. Relaxed by KAATSU, because the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are well activated, the joints and muscles become loosened. This increases its range of motion. There are tendons within the muscles, but they will not become soft soon. Over time, however, the tendons gradually softens over the course of many months.

Q3. The muscle and ligament contractures in their elbows, wrists, fingers and ankle plantar flexors are rigid. Can you predict how much a patient with paralysis can improve her range of motion?

A3. Patients with paralysis have been tense for a long time and their bodies became stiff as a result. It is very important to make concentrated efforts just like climbing stairs, step by step. They should not be impatient. Movement towards their goals might go in a good direction if they keep making steady effort.

Q4. Why do quadriplegic patients feel less pain?

A4. The pain is relieved because of the secretion of beta-endorphins, which is called intra-cerebral anesthesia in the brain. Also, the nerves of the muscle fibers that were in a sleeping state around the damaged muscle fibers are awakened by the application of KAATSU. Thus, the pain is relieved.

Q5. There are some red spots that showed up on a quadriplegic’s right thigh after the initial session. Was the Base SKU too high initially?

A5. You can judge that the patient's blood vessels are weak due to the appearance of red spots on the skin. Perhaps next time, when KAATSU is applied with the same SKU, these tiny red specks might disappear. Some people might say that KAATSU is dangerous because the red spots appeared or KAATSU might cause blood clots. The red spots indicates that stimulation was sufficiently given to blood vessels. It is important to start with KAATSU Cycle 1 (i.e., 100 SKU) for people who are trying KAATSU for the first time and gradually move on to KAATSU Cycle 2 (e.g., 120 SKU), Cycle 3 and on.

Q6. Should we worry about blood clots in immobile patients? Does the potential for existing clots change KAATSU protocols?

A6. The potential for kicking off blood clots will not change as long as you do the KAATSU Cycle. Start with pressurization for 30 seconds and depressurization for 5 seconds (i.e., KAATSU Cycle on and then off). Since the blood vessels gradually increase resistance against pressure and patient's blood vessels get used to SKU and can tolerate it. Do not worry about thrombosis.

Q7. If patients eat poorly, what should we worry about with KAATSU?

A7. Improving one’s diet in parallel with doing KAATSU is one kind of treatment. The three goals - exercise, good diet and sufficient sleep are important to become healthier. It is necessary to balance these three factors.

Q8. Do you recommend 2 full cycles, 2 times a day? What do you recommend for daily KAATSU usage?

A8. The daily usage of KAATSU varies according to patient's abilities and their level of physical fitness. In the case of patients where spasticity tends to easily occur, even if their body loosens after one KAATSU session, it is possible that they will return to their original state after a few minutes. Rather than deciding whether to do one or two KAATSU Cycles, the amount of KAATSU should be decided by the patient. Generally, the more serious the patient, the more times they should do the KAATSU Cycle. Conversely, for less serious patients, the less time should be spent doing KAATSU. That is, the number of times doing KAATSU Cycles should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Q9. Why do patients with spinal cord injuries feel warm during KAATSU - especially when they have no sensation in the same limb?

A9. The fact that their body feels warm after KAATSU is evidence that new blood vessels were created. Normally, there is no medical treatment to create new blood vessels instantly, but KAATSU instantly creates new capillaries. Blood flows to those points in the body and their body warms up. Conversely, when the body is exposed to below the freezing temperatures, capillaries are pulled away and the body becomes cold.

Q10. Why does KAATSU appear to help with neuropathic pain in spinal cord injury patients?

A10. For not only the patients with spinal injuries, but also the patients with various diseases, when they do KAATSU, cells and muscle fibers that have not been used until now start to work. Consider the case if there are 100 soldiers, but only 10 of them have been working. When those 10 soldiers are injured, the 90 other soldiers will start working on behalf of those 10 people.

Q11. The Masimo device measures Perfusion Index (an indication of the pulse strength at the sensor site). The Perfusion Index values range from 0.02% for very weak pulse to 20% for extremely strong pulse. Normally, the Perfusion Index decreases during KAATSU, but why does the Perfusion Index often increase during KAATSU for a client with a spinal cord injury?

A11. KAATSU immediately creates new blood vessels and the blood fills the place where no blood was flowing until then. Naturally, the perfusion index will increase in this case.

Q12. For spinal cord injury patients, Capillary Refill Time is often very slow with no KAATSU pressure, and speeds up during KAATSU. Why?

A12. Since the blood flow reaches every corner [in the limb], Capillary Refill Time is accelerated. New blood vessels are increased. When you do KAATSU, VEGF (Vascular endothelial growth factor) new blood vessel growth factor hormone increases. KAATSU effects have continued to surprise me.

Q13. If neural pathways are NOT intact (for example, with a completely severed spinal cord) for an individual with a spinal cord injury, why does the client still feel pain? Why does KAATSU appear to decrease that pain?

A13. Blood vessels are not connected, but new blood vessels are born. It is the same as bypassing a road. Rather than repairing broken roads, roads are made new. When new blood vessels are formed, nerve cells comes after, and nerves are completed. As new blood vessels are formed, neural cells are formed. In a previous KAATSU trial, we put a patient’s head in a Functional MRI machine as we applied KAATSU to both arms while doing Hand Clenches with a grip band. New blood vessels increased in the portion of the brain that was black. Naturally, neurons are formed after. Since KAATSU works, I would like doctors and researchers at the VA to conduct further clinical trials.

Q14. Many military therapists use electrical muscle stimulation on spinal cord injury patients. Can this Electrical Muscle Stimulation device be combined with KAATSU to achieve better results during the isometric contractions?

A14. There are various devices such as electric stimulation units and EMS available now. When electric stimulation is given, the muscles shake. There are several research results that cause muscle hypertrophy to some extent. We get requests from researchers who specialize in electrical stimulation to simultaneously use KAATSU and electrical stimulation. We performed clinical trials on patients with spinal injury who could not move their legs. It showed positive results with KAATSU.

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Support Water Warrior Jamal Hill Heading To Tokyo

Of all the aquatic athletes competing in the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, Los Angeles-born swimmer and long-time KAATSU user Jamal Hill may be the most creative, innovative, and the most influential agent of change.

The postponement of the Tokyo Paralympic Games to 2021 was a blessing in disguise for Hill and his Swim Up Hill Foundation (@swimuphill). After qualifying for the 50m freestyle and relays, Hill continues to use his voice as a platform for social change. His Foundation is on its way to teach 1 million people in underserved communities how to swim and stay safe in and near the water.

In addition to his likeness on an 8-story building near LAX International Airport, Hill sells some Water Warrior, Swimming Ninja t-shirts to support his cause. To order Swim Up Hill shirts, visit here.

For more information on The Swim Up Hill Foundation, visit #swimuphill and @swimuphill.

Hill's shirt design is partly based off of the Great Wave Off Kanagawa ukiyo-e print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Swimming Without A Spleen, Ana Marcela Cunha Wins Olympic Gold

Things were not looking good for Brazilian marathon swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha in 2019.

After facing the bitter disappointment of finishing 10th in the marathon swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in front of her family and fans in Brazil where her high hopes for a gold medal was dashed, she also faced surgery where her spleen needed to be removed.

A year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics her spleen had to be removed. Realizing her Olympic dream was put on the back burner and other health priorities took precedence.

Fortunately, her surgery was successful and Cunha got right back to work, training as intensely as ever. She mustered enough speed and stamina to qualify for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim and knew that she had another year to prepare for her Olympic redemption.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit - and it hit Brazil particularly hard.

In response, Cunha moved to Portugal to seek her Olympic dream. With all the pandemic uncertainty in Brazil, Portugal was her best bet.

She remained dedicated to her craft, spending several hours a day swimming up and back in a 50m pool, and doing all kinds of intene dryland and supplemental workouts.

When the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed a year, Cunha had even more time to prepare. The delay worked out just right for her.

By the time, she lined up on the starting pontoon at the marathon swim in Tokyo Bay, she was as ready as ever. One of the shortest athletes in any Olympic swimming final, Cunha was arguably the one athlete with the biggest heart.

She swam a nearly perfect race at the Olympics, never out of the top three in a tightly pack of 25 competitors throughout the 10 kilometer course. She took over the lead from American Ashley Twichell on the third of seven loops and kept on pushing the pace after taking the lead.

She only temporarily relinquished the lead when German Leonie Beck burst into first, but Cunha hung closely and regained the lead for good on the last lap with long, powerful arm strokes and a powerful kick. She talked about her gold medal performance, "This means a lot. [The victory] was due to many years working hard. I want it so much, so badly."

The 29-year-old from São Paolo stood tall on the Olympic podium, saluting the Brazilian flag. Cunha explained her mindset during the race, "We had to be cool or ‘cold’ as Europeans [are].

We are Latin people; we are hot, we are emotional people, so I had to be very cold mentally in the race to be focused and I had to win it myself. I knew I was prepared for that.

My family always believed in me and supported me in this journey. We are dreaming the same dream (with her coach). This medal means a lot to me. I will keep this medal in a special place and I have a plan to develop a foundation that will support the future dreams of swimmers. I think this medal will show new generations that swimming, and especially marathons, will allow many others to dream. I could speak for hours about this medal, but our time is short. I am thankful for the support of the Brazilian government and for many other sponsors, supporting me for so many years. Of course I must thank my club and my family.

I was able to give 100% of my skills and talent. In other competitions, I often said I could have done better, but I won't say this [for this race]. I am exhausted. I am proud that it has been 13 years since my first Olympics [in 2008 when she finished 5th as a 16-year-old]."

Unlike several others in the race who plan on retiring, Cunha will continue racing. "I am very happy in training for open water swimming. I am active and training with passion. That love will allow me to continue. Paris is just three years away. My mental preparation is as important as my physical training. My body and my mind are always connected and the most important is that I have always believed in myself."

Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Results:

Gold: Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil, 29) 1:59:30.90
Silver: Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands, 27) 1:59:31.70
Bronze: Kareena Lee (Australia, 27) 1:59:32.50
4. Anna Olasz (Hungary, 27) 1:59:34.80
5. Leonie Beck (Germany, 24) 1:59:35.10
6. Haley Anderson (USA, 29) 1:59:36.90
7. Ashley Twichell (USA, 32) 1:59:37.90
8. Xin Xin (China, 24) 2:00:10.10
9. Lara Grangeon de Villele (France, 29) 2:00:57.0
10. Finnia Wunram (Germany, 25) 2:01:01.90
11. Samantha Arévalo (Ecuador, 26) 2:01:30.60
12. Cecilia Biagioli (Argentina, 36) 2:01:31.70
13. Yumi Kida (Japan, 36) 2:01:40.90
14. Rachele Bruni (Italy, 30) 2:02:10.20
15. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (Russian Olympic Committee, 21) 2:03:17.50
16. Paula Ruiz Bravo (Spain, 22) 2:03:17.60
17. Angelica Andre (Portugal, 26) 2:04:40.70
18. Kate Farley Sanderson (Canada, 21) 2:04:59.10
19. Alice Dearing (Great Britain, 24) 2:05:03.20
20. Paola Perez (Venezuela, 30) 2:05:45.00
21. Michelle Weber (South Africa, 24) 2:06:56.50
22. Krystyna Panchishko (Ukraine, 23) 2:07:35.10
23. Li-Shan Chantal Liew (Singapore, 22) 2:08:17.90
24. Spela Perse (Slovenia, 25) 2:08:33.00
25. Souad Nefissa Cherouati (Algeria, 32) 2:17:21.60

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Monday, August 2, 2021

Having Fun On The Most Pressure-Packed Event

Michael Andrew finishes his 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign with a fast 100m breaststroke leg and helps USA win a gold medal in the 400m medley relay together with Ryan Murphy, Caeleb Dressel, and Zach Apple.

After two very close fourth-place finishes and a fifth-place finish in his earlier races, it took the very last race of the Tokyo Olympics pool swimming schedule for Michael Andrew to stand on top of the podium - and what incredible company did he find himself with.

Considering that Andrew did not swim competitively as a high school or collegiate swimmer in the United States, the pressure was significant on him as a relay member. His teammates, backstroker Ryan Murphy of California Berkeley, butterflyer Caeleb Dressel of the University of Florida, and freestyle anchor Zach Apple of Auburn and Indiana University had years of competitive relay racing. The trio had all raced at high school championships, at multiple NCAA Championships, at Pan Pacific Championships, at FINA World Championships, and performed exceedingly well during gold medal performances at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

Murphy, Dressel and Apple had all faced the pressure of representing their schools and country under pressure-packed situations.

As Dressel explained to the media after their world record performance, "You have to be so perfect in that moment."

The Gator from Gainesville reflected on his five gold medal performance in Tokyo, "I knew I had to execute every race and every heat and that’s how sport goes sometimes. I had a lot of fun, I had a good time yesterday – if I got better each day and to end with that relay – it is really, really special.

Just to sit everyone down and put it right in our face and say this is something you can do. To see it on the board (the world record time) is spectacular and really special.

I tried to convince myself that the World [Championship]s were the same, and it is the same competition; but it is a lot different here. I’m aware of that now, and I’ll stop lying to myself.

It means something different to prepare for something that happens every four years to prepare for something that happens over 40 seconds and 20-something seconds. We’ve had a five-year build-up to be perfect. There is so much pressure in that one moment that your whole life boils down to a moment that takes 20 or 40 seconds. How crazy is that?

I wouldn’t tell myself during the meet, but it is absolutely terrifying, but it is really fun if you look at from a different perspective – it is something that boils down to a very specific moment of time in the universe and that just happens to be the Olympics.

It is my goal to fulfil my potential. My goal is not to beat Mark [Spitz], it is like I’ve already exceeded my expectations here and had a fun time doing it. It was not a perfect meet at all; there was a lot of low points in this meet and mental obstacles, more than those podium finishes. That’s the fun of it. The ups and the downs, and you have to figure out how to roll with it and figure out how to get better

To support Andrew's continued focus for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and beyond, use SWIMMERMICHAEL code to purchase KAATSU equipment at

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Friday, July 30, 2021

What Is mmHg vs. SKU? Blood Pressure Cuffs vs. KAATSU Air Bands?

For who? Baby Boomers, retirees, competitive athletes, post-surgical patients
For what? Athletic performance, functional movement, mobility, flexibility, recovery, rehabilitation

All KAATSU equipment uses the measurement of SKU (Standard KAATSU Unit). For the KAATSU Nano, KAATSU 2.0, KAATSU C3 models, the KAATSU scale ranges from 0 SKU to 400 SKU. On the KAATSU Master 2.0, the KAATSU scale ranges from 0 SKU to 500 SKU.

Many physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, coaches, physios, athletes and users ask what is the equivalent unit in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) pressure of 1 SKU? It is among the most common questions asked about KAATSU the Original BFR.

The easy answer is 1 SKU = 1 mmHg.

But the correct answer is SKU and mmHg are completely different scales and measure completely different things in the body.

In medicine, pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury. Blood pressure is measured with a sphygmomanometer. Blood pressure is the pressure of circulating blood against the walls of blood vessels. Most of this pressure results from the heart pumping blood through the circulatory system. When used without qualification, blood pressure refers to the pressure in the large arteries.

Blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure (maximum pressure during one heartbeat) over diastolic pressure (minimum pressure between two heartbeats) in the cardiac cycle. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) above the surrounding atmospheric pressure. Blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and body temperature are used in evaluate a patient's health. Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is denoted as 120/80 mmHg with 127/79 mmHg as the average for men and 122/77 mmHg as the average for women.

Traditionally, blood pressure was measured non-invasively using a mercury-tube sphygmomanometer [see above].

The photo below shows a standard blood pressure cuff on the right arm and a KAATSU Air Band on the left arm.

SKU as measured by KAATSU equipment is much different.

SKU measures the compression against the air bladder that is located inside the pneumatic KAATSU Air Bands. So, simply compared, blood pressure in mmHg is the pressure of blood against the walls of the blood vessels, but SKU with KAATSU equipment is a measure within an external non-body part (i.e., the air bladder).

mmHg is an internal measure taken at full occlusion of arterial flow. In contrast, SKU is an measure of pressure taken at homeostasis of an external non-body part (i.e., the air bladder).

Those are two completely different measurements. Therefore, in reality, 1 SKU ≠ 1 mmHg and 120 SKU ≠ 120 mmHg when compared side-by-side.

The effects of SKU in a KAATSU Air Band and mmHg in a blood pressure cuff (or tourniquet) on the human body are also vastly different.

Orthopedic surgeons generally practice fixed inflation pressures (typically 250 mmHg for the upper arm and 300 mmHg for thigh) or fixed amount of pressure above systolic arterial pressure (typically +100 mmHg for upper arm and 100–150 mmHg for thigh). At these pressures (e.g., 250 mmHg for the arm), there is full occlusion. That is, arterial blood flow is stopped from the torso to the arm so the surgeon can properly and safely perform surgery. The reason why 250 mmHg creates full occlusion is due to the structure of the blood pressure cuff or tourniquet.

The surgerical tourniquets used are stiff, wide, inflexible and purposefully engineered to occlude - or stop - arterial blood flow from the torso to the arm or leg. So a 250 mmHg pressure on such a tourniquet is what surgeons generally use.

In contrast, a pressure of 250 SKU with KAATSU equipment is the pressure WITHIN the KAATSU air bladder. 250 SKU completely enables arterial blood flow to continue unimpeded into the air or leg. This is easily demonstrated by a pulse oximeter.

So 250 mmHg with a blood pressure cuff ≠ 250 SKU with KAATSU Air Bands. In the former case, blood flow stops temporarily; in the latter case, blood flow continues unimpeded.

Furthermore, the width of standard blood pressure cuffs and the narrow KAATSU Air Bands apply completely different pressures on the veins and arteries of the arms and legs. In the case of a standard blood pressure cuff, the stiff, wide, inflexible material and structure of the cuff effectively cuts off blood flow when inflated. In contrast with the KAATSU Air Bands, the flexible, stretchable and narrow bands enables venous flow and arterial flow to continue gently and repeatable in order to achieve the optimal KAATSU effects.

Many scientific researchers, physicians, coaches, and users interchangeably refer to KAATSU as BFR and BFR as KAATSU.

In fact, KAATSU is the original BFR. KAATSU was the original BFR because the editors of the first peer-review published studies in the 1990's did not recognize or accept the Japanese word 'KAATSU'. The scientific and medical community in the 1990's did not know what 'KAATSU' meant or what the protocols were. So the editors required that the word 'KAATSU' was substituted by 'blood flow restriction' or BFR.

The key definitions used in the BFR and KAATSU community include the following:

Restriction (noun): something that restricts, an act of restricting, the condition of being restricted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Occlusion (noun): the act of occluding (or close up or block off or obstruct) from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Patent: open, unobstructed, affording free passage from MedicineNet

KAATSU (or 加圧 in Japanese): translated as additional pressure in English.

Blood Flow Restriction (or BFR): a training strategy that involves the use of blood pressure cuffs, tourniquets or occlusion wraps placed proximally around a limb that maintains some arterial inflow while occluding venous return during exercise or rehabilitation. KAATSU was original defined as such.

The Doppler ultrasound images above [300 SKU in the upper photo and 200 SKU in the lower photo] show the arm's artery and vein of a male using KAATSU Air Bands at different pressures. The ultrasound shows that the blood flow from the torso to the arm (arterial flow in the artery) and the blood flow back from the arm to the torso (venous flow in the vein) remain open and not occluded or restricted.

How is the pressure in BFR and KAATSU determined by BFR users and KAATSU Specialists?

BFR is commonly started by occluding the brachial systolic blood pressure in the arms or the femoral systolic blood pressure in the legs [known as 'Limb Occlusion Pressure' or LOP]. Once this pressure is measured in mmHg, then the BFR bands are set at a certain percentage of that pressure measured in mmHG [50-80%]. In other words, BFR starts by occluding the arterial flow from the torso to the limbs - and then proceeding with exercise or rehabilitation at a lower pressure.

Some BFR advocates, with inexpensive equipment, recommend using the Borg Scale; a simple self-determination of the perceived exertion on a scale of 1 to 10. The ideal tightness for these BFR (or Occlusion) bands is reportedly 7 on the Borg Scale; but, if there is numbness, the BFR advocates recommend loosening the pressure.

In contrast, KAATSU starts at homeostasis or the stable state of equilibrium in the body with complete patent (i.e., open) arteries and veins. From this point, the "KAATSU Cycle" is used to very gradually and precisely increase the pressure until an "optimal pressure" for each person and each limb is reached (note: the pressure on each limb can be different if there is an injury or significant difference in limb strength, range of motion, or girth).

That is, BFR starts at the point of occlusion where there is no arterial blood flow to the limbs - but KAATSU starts at the point of homeostasis where there is complete and open arterial blood flow to the limbs.

Even when the KAATSU Air Bands have significant air pressure inside them, there is no occlusion of arterial or venous flow [see photos above and read here]. The KAATSU Air Bands are specifically designed to allow this condition to occur even at the highest KAATSU pressure possible.

Decades of testing with different materials, elasticities, and widths enabled the KAATSU inventor, Dr. Sato, to develop this innovative design. KAATSU protocols were researched at the University of Tokyo Hospital under the supervision of experienced cardiologists including Doctors Nakajima and Morita.

Also importantly, the structure and composition of the KAATSU Air bands are different than other BFR and Occlusion Bands on the market today.

Most importantly, when the KAATSU Air Bands are inflated, they take on a parabolic shape. This enables a very mild effect on the veins and arteries of the arms and legs. That is the veins and arteries are NOT compressed as they are with standard blood pressure effects. They are only minimally compressed so arterial flow continues unimpeded. This is the reason why there is no occlusion and the effect is an engorgement of blood in the limbs with KAATSU.

BFR or Occlusion bands are engineered to cut off or restrict blood flow - similar to blood pressure cuffs. Their structure and materials are purposefully designed to achieve this objective. The width of the bands apply a pressure that is effective in reducing or restricting arterial flow.

In contrast, the KAATSU Air Bands are specifically engineered to maintain arterial flow, and only slightly modify the venous flow. The width and the center axis of the inflated KAATSU Air Bands are significantly different than BFR or Occlusion Bands or modified tourniquets or cuffs. This means that the pressure transmission region of the KAATSU Air Bands - especially within the limb on the arteries and veins, is significantly less than the larger, wider BFR bands.

Larger pressure transmission region and effects of BFR bands.

Smaller, narrower pressure transmission region of KAATSU Air Bands.

When the optimal pressure in reached with the KAATSU Air Bands, the KAATSU users see a pinkness or a beefy redness in their limbs as the blood fills the capillary vascular space. When the limbs are moved in this state, there is alternating distension and emptying of the venous/capillary vascular space.

The KAATSU Air Bands gradually apply pressure to the veins. This modifies the venous outflow in the limbs. As the pressure increases during the KAATSU Cycle mode, this modification of the venous outflow eventually modifies the arterial inflow. As exercise or movement continues with the KAATSU Air Bands on, the blood flow into the limbs must soon match the (venous) blood flow out of the limbs. Given about 80% of the body's blood is in the venous system, there is some capacitance for holding extra blood in the limb, and when that capacity is reached, the blood flow in must match the blood flow out of the limb.

Physiologically, exercise becomes unsustainable when light and easy exercises or movement (e.g., KAATSU Walking or unweighted KAATSU limb movements) are conducted with this impeded circulation. The pO2 and pH gradually (or quickly, depending on the KAATSU intensity) drop to critical levels with even mild exercise. Additionally, higher levels of lactate are generated during KAATSU (compared to non-KAATSU exercise). ATP levels drop as the ADP and Pi levels rise, and ATP dependant electrolyte pumps (e.g. Ca++) cannot maintain proper electrolyte gradients. In this state, there are a significant amount of metabolite and hormonal changes and increases that are subsequently realized.

The fact that KAATSU Air Bands do not approach occlusion pressure , nor result in Blood Flow Restriction, was identified by Professor Alyssa Weatherholt of the University of Southern Indiana, Professor William VanWye of Western Kentucky University, and Johnny Owens of Owens Recovery Science (the exclusive distributor of the Delfi Portable Tourniquet System for Blood Flow Restriction equipment). They presented a study called Pressure Needed to Achieve Complete Arterial Occlusion: A Comparison of Two Devices Used for Blood Flow Restriction Training [see above].

The researchers concluded the wider cuff of the Delfi Portable Tourniquet System for Blood Flow Restriction is able to restrict arterial blood flow at significantly lower pressures compared to the narrow cuffs [KAATSU Air Bands] using the KAATSU Master. The key finding of this study is as follows:

We were unable to achieve complete arterial occlusion in any participant with the KAATSU cuff.”

The KAATSU equipment is designed and is specifically manufactured to avoid arterial occlusion in the limbs. This fact is precisely why KAATSU was originally defined by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato, the KAATSU inventor, and leading Japanese cardiologists at the University of Tokyo Hospital as a Blood Flow Moderation (BFM) device. KAATSU equipment is specifically not a Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) device.

While the vernacular nuance between BFM and BFR may be overlooked by many (venous flow modification versus arterial flow restriction), the modification of venous flow is critical to understanding the safety and goal of KAATSU, as certified KAATSU Specialists understand.

"There is no part of the KAATSU protocols which tries to achieve arterial occlusion. This is why KAATSU is not occlusion training, tourniquet training, or O-training," explains Steven Munatones. "This is why KAATSU equipment does not use blood pressure cuffs or surgical tourniquets that are specifically designed to occlude, or manufactured to restrict arterial flow. Rather, the stretchable KAATSU Air Bands are designed with flexible, elastic air bladders that inflate inwards, towards the limb, at very moderate pressures to minimally modify venous flow.

This pressure is gentle on the body and uniform, because the limb is evenly and safely compressed by a bed of air. This principle and practical engineered solution leads to blood pooling in the limb - not arterial occlusion. This fact was independently determined by researchers and the leading Delfi proponent of BFR

Furthermore, the patented KAATSU Cycle allows normal arterial and venous flow every 20 seconds which means it is safe, effective and gentle for people of all ages (including up to 104 years - see here).

In summary:

1. The purpose of KAATSU equipment and its protocols is a reduction in venous flow via blood flow moderation, a term first coined in the 1990s by Dr. Sato and Doctors Nakajima and Morita, cardiologists at the University of Tokyo Hospital.

2. The pneumatically controlled KAATSU Air Bands are designed to achieve a reduction in venous flow, and is a very different approach from BFR and widely-promoted use of blood pressure cuffs that are specifically designed to achieve limb occlusion.

3. When the KAATSU equipment is used, its users agree to follow the specific protocols as defined by its inventor, Dr. Sato. Specifically, KAATSU protocols and equipment are designed not to occlude.

4. The stretchable, pneumatically controlled KAATSU Air Bands are not (blood pressure) cuffs. A cuff is a term that refers to devices specifically engineered for limb occlusion.

5. KAATSU Specialists understand the importance of users to know both their Base SKU pressure and their Optimal SKU pressure while using in the KAATSU Cycle and KAATSU Training modes. To refer to KAATSU pressure without reference to both Base SKU and Optimal SKU pressures is misleading.

There is another paper written by Jeremy P. Loenneke, Christopher Fahs, Lindy Rossow, Robert Thiebaud, Kevin T. Mattocks, Takashi Abe, and Michael G. Bemben (Blood flow restriction pressure recommendations: a tale of two cuffs) that addresses this subject from another perspective.

Fourth, proper and safe KAATSU extensively (or exclusively in most cases) utilizes the patented KAATSU Cycle mode. In the KAATSU Cycle mode, there is only 20-30 seconds of pressure applied at a time. The pressure is regularly and intermittently released (turned off) - and, most importantly, the pressure starts off gently and only gradually increases to the user's optimal pressure levels. This enables the vascular system to become more elastic during the session, enabling a greater vascular capacity to handle higher pressure and increased blood circulation.

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global

Monday, July 26, 2021

Coach, Do No Harm

For who? Baby Boomers, competitive athletes
For what? Strength, stamina, functional movement, mobility, flexibility, jet lag recovery

In a recent New York Times article (A Hot Fitness Trend Among Olympians: Blood Flow Restriction), Olympic swimming coach Dave Marsh - who has coached 49 athletes to the Summer Olympic Games - stated that one of his athletes (Roy-Allan Burch of Bermuda) had used KAATSU to dramatically rehabilitate from a double knee patella tendon rupture.

Burch's recovery from the injury and the subsequent muscle atrophy was significant. Burch eventually made it back to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics against all odds despite his injury to both legs.

"It was great to see and be a part of Roy's remarkable comeback," said Chris Morgan.

Morgan regularly teaches KAATSU to many Olympic athletes on United States' Olympic swimming and track and field teams. He has also taught KAATSU to German, Swiss and Japanese Olympic athletes.

"Many of the athletes and their coaches want to learn about how to use KAATSU for improved athletic performance and recovery, but I also teach them about our jet lag protocols."

But a vast majority of swimming coaches - like Marsh - have not 'jumped on the KAATSU bandwagon' as described by New York Times deputy sports editor Matt Futterman. As yet, Marsh has yet to recommend KAATSU in the training of his athletes. "The first job of a coach is to not do any harm. It seemed to me that with blood flow restriction, it could lead an athlete to take a step backward," explained Marsh to Futterman.

"Marsh speaks the truth - a coach should absolutely do no harm. That is so true - coaches need to be just like physicians who take the Hippocratic Oath," said Steven Munatones, Chief Executive Officer of KAATSU Global.

"But a coach also has a responsibility to investigate, offer, and teach their athletes the best modalities and training possibilities in order to achieve their full potential. The global world of athletics is too competitive to rely on the past and old-school techniques instead of constantly seeing what can make their athletes more efficient and effective in their preparations..

This belief that KAATSU could take athletes backwardsis where Dave fundamentally and specifically misses a key point. First of all, his statement that Roy did blood flow restriction points to his misunderstanding. There is no restriction of arterial blood flow - or the blood flow from the torso to the limbs. In reality, KAATSU does the exact opposite. There is a slow, gradual, and safe blood engorgement in the limbs - that is a key principle of KAATSU.

The vascular tissue is engorged with incremental increases of blood while doing the KAATSU Cycle mode. You can see the effects of slow, gradual, rhythmic compression and decompression of the pneumatic KAATSU Air Bands on the photos on the left.

The photos show an older user (a 56-year-old woman) with a KAATSU Air Band on her right arm and no band on her left arm. The KAATSU Air Band was only slightly moderately inflated.

This rhythmic compression and decompression not only brings increased elasticity to the vascular walls of the arteries, veins and capillaries throughout the healthy and injured parts of the body, but it also serves as the catalyst for a significant secretion of healing hormones - in addition to enhancing the strength and resilience of muscle. There are so many biochemical processes that concurrently occur in the body naturally and safely that it would take hours to properly and comprehensively cover all effects and outcomes [check out for more information].

Coaches can first understand KAATSU with a basic understanding of human physiology, anatomy, and the metabolic processes that occur as a result of hard training.

It is not hard - it just takes a bit of time to study and try the KAATSU Air Bands yourself. This is precisely why America's best trained athletes - including the tactical athletes of the Special Operations Command or Navy SEALs and many professional athletes - use KAATSU regularly for rehabilitation, recovery, and athletic performance

The New York Times article (A Hot Fitness Trend Among Olympians: Blood Flow Restriction) is here. The research article - Effects of resistance exercise combined with moderate vascular occlusion on muscular function in humans - that was published in 2000 and noted in the article is posted here.

A short list of KAATSU-using Olympians is below:

Ana Marcela Cunha (marathon swimming) Brazil
Roy-Allan Burch (swimming) Bermuda
Adam Wright (water polo) USA
Michael Andrew (swimming) USA
Mark McCoy (track) Canada
Todd Lodwick (Nordic combined) USA
Zach Apple (swimming) USA
Kenny Bednarek (track) USA
Taylor Fletcher (Nordic combined) USA
Oussama Mellouli (swimming and marathon swimming) Tunisia
Kyree King (track) USA
Bryan Fletcher (Nordic combined) USA
Francesco Friedrich (bobsleigh) Germany
Robert Griswold (Para swimming) USA
Yasu Fukuoka (marathon swimming) Japan
Isiah Young (track) USA
Martin Grothkopp (bobsleigh) Germany
Kasai Noriaki (ski jumping) Japan
Jamal Hill (Para swimming) USA
Laura Wilkinson (diving) USA
Justin Gatlin (track) USA
Candy Bauer (bobsleigh) Germany
Thorsten Margis (bobsleigh) Germany
Matt Torres (Para swimming) USA
Hawley Bennett (equestrian) Canada
Dennis Mitchell (track) USA
Javianne Oliver (track) USA
Melissa Rodriguez (swimming) Mexico
Mikaela Shiffrin (skiing) USA
Ted Ligety (skiing) USA
Willie Banks (track & field) USA
Alex Wolf (water polo) USA
Rob Stull (pentathlon) USA
Stephen McCain (gymnastics) USA
Mohamed Hussein (swimming) Egypt
Lukas Räuftlin (swimming) Switzerland
Richard Quick (swimming, coach) USA
Chris Morgan (swimming, coach) USA

To support Michael Andrew's focus on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and beyond, use SWIMMERMICHAEL code to purchase KAATSU equipment at

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46.69 Anchor Leg By Zach Apple Clinches Olympic Gold For USA

For who? Baby Boomers, competitive athletes
For what? Strength, stamina, functional movement, mobility, flexibility, jet lag recovery

American swimmer Zach Apple of Indiana swam of the history fastest 100-meter freestyle legs at the Tokyo Olympics. The incredibly fast (46.69 second) 100m anchor split clinched the Olympic gold medal in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay yesterday at the Tokyo Olympics.

Apple said later, "It is easy when these three guys [Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, and Bowen Becker] are leading off, giving me a lead. I love living in the pressure. It is why we race. It brings out the best in us."

Apple has been using KAATSU ever since he was introduced to it by coach Jonty Skinner at Indiana University a few years ago. Like his track colleagues, the American Olympic runners in the 100m and 200m sprints, Apple uses the KAATSU equipment for performance and recovery advantages.

Olympian Glenn Mills told Parade Magazine, "Cupping, which leaves circular marks on the skin of athletes remains popular, along with KAATSU, a blood flow moderation exercise that involves strapping bands around specific points of muscles to restrict blood flow and make those muscles work harder."

While Mills is correct in describing KAATSU as a blood flow moderation modality, KAATSU does not restrict blood flow or necessarily make muscles work harder - as experienced KAATSU users know well.

"We started to use and sell the Masimo MightySat™ Finger Pulse Oximeter with KAATSU equipment in order to demonstrate that there was no restriction of blood flow while doing KAATSU," said Steven Munatones.

"People often use the words 'cuff' or 'tourniquet' to describe the KAATSU Air Bands. Nothing could be further from the truth. Blood pressure cuffs and tourniquets are specifically designed to occlude - or cut off - arterial blood or blood that flows from the torso to our limbs.

The reason why we use the Masimo MightySat™ Finger Pulse Oximeter [shown above] is to demonstrate that arterial blood flow continues even while doing KAATSU and wearing KAATSU Air Bands. We place the oximeter on a fingertip and we can not only measure our pulse rate but also our SpO2 or oxygen saturation rate that increases with KAATSU. If KAATSU did restrict blood flow or functioned as a cuff or tourniquet, then the SpO2 would decrease and our skin color would turn whiter or paler than normal."

But with KAATSU - even when the KAATSU Air Bands are inflated to its maximum while following the standard protocols, the arterial blood flow continues and is measured by the pulse oximeter - a clear indication that there is no blood flow restriction as the word BFR implies.

What actually happens is that the slow, gradual, rhythmic compression and decompression of the KAATSU Air Bands enables the vascular tissue to become more elastic and the limb becomes engorged in blood.

The photos on the left show an older user (a 56-year-old woman) with a KAATSU Air Band on her (darker) left arm and no band on her right arm (with her normal skin color). The KAATSU Air Band was only moderately inflated.

Within a few minutes, her veins become distended and her skin color becam darker as the capillaries and veins become filled with blood. There is no pain, discomfort or magic secret involved.

The appearance of this 'KAATSU Color' is a physiological phenomenon that happens naturally and safely.

"It occurs both in the arms and legs of KAATSU users, of any age or with any physical condition," says Munatones. "From our perspective as KAATSU users, the three vascular walls of our arteries, veins and capillaries throughout our bodies are a muscle. So, in that sense, KAATSU is definitely muscle training.

Our vascular tissue gradually becomes more elastic in a gentle, safe way while using KAATSU.

It is a convenient and perfect recovery modality. KAATSU equipment is easy-to-carry and easy-to-use. The compact compressor automatically inflates and deflates the bands on either your arms or legs. This forces blood into the very small capillaries and enhances recovery, improves circulation, and oxygen flow to muscles just after prolonged or intense bouts of exercise.

This is how Olympic swimmers, runners and other athletes are using KAATSU at the Tokyo Olympics, especially those who have multiple races or events over the course of the day or days while in Tokyo. The KAATSU Air Bands helps flush the metabolic waste out of the tissue after or between events.

With the Masimo oximeter, you can see the athletes' oxygen saturation levels increase while their pulse rate and respiratory rate concurrently decrease as they sit down and relax after their races. KAATSU is quite versatile. You can use the equipment to make your muscles work harder, but you can also use the device to make you relax and recover.

Munatones continues, "The commonly misunderstood effect of KAATSU is that the equipment necessarily makes muscles work harder - as Mills described. If KAATSU users utilize the KAATSU Air Bands for recovery after an intense workout or to avoid jet lag or for recovery after a competition, then their muscles work LESS, not more. The parasympathetic nervous system is engaged and metabolic waste products are more effectively and efficiently removed from the working muscles."

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 by KAATSU Global