KAATSU: BEYOND BFR
The terms KAATSU and BFR are often used interchangeably in the scientific literature and by laypersons. This is wrong! BFR is a very different modality that was developed based on very limited information in English about the principles and protocols of KAATSU. While many acknowledge BFR as originating from KAATSU, they fail to recognize the fundamentally different nature of KAATSU compared with other BFR systems.
KAATSU is NOT BFR, and BFR is NOT KAATSU.
BASIC CONCEPTS DIFFER
KAATSU starts at homeostasis and applies additional pressure. BFR starts from a point of 100% occlusion then backs off. You will never see a discussion of Limb Occlusion Pressure (LOP) with KAATSU because KAATSU protocols and products are designed to never occlude.
Dr. Yoshiaki Sato is the inventor of KAATSU. First through trial and error, and then through research, he proved that the KAATSU equipment and protocols work for muscle hypertrophy, rehabilitation, and recovery without needing to occlude blood flow. KAATSU equipment and protocols are specifically designed to avoid occlusion. This is a significant, fundamental difference between KAATSU and all other BFR systems that are based on percentage of limb occlusion pressure.
KAATSU was researched for a decade at the University of Tokyo Hospital by Dr. Sato and a devoted team of cardiologists. The subjects were 7,000 cardiac rehabilitation patients. The results? No negative effects from KAATSU use with this medically frail population. KAATSU has been used significantly longer and in more countries and with more people than all other BFR companies combined.
KAATSU has been used safely and successfully on people with quadriplegia, paraplegia, people in comas, people with burns,
individuals with cerebral palsy, MS, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Raynaud’s syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, compartment syndrome, broken bones of all types, severe muscle atrophy, autism, extreme spastic conditions, neuropathic pain (for spinal cord patients and people with amputations) and people with many other afflictions and diseases.
KAATSU has been researched by cardiologists, internists, orthopedic surgeons, and many other medical professionals and well-published academics in Japan, the U.S.A., China, and Britain. This includes by NASA and the Japan Space Agency. KAATSU has easily spent over $10 million on research, discovering the mechanisms of KAATSU/BFR and the resultant changes in biomarkers since the mid-1990’s. KAATSU Global continues to invest time and resources to explore the benefits and potential of KAATSU. They do so with a variety of accomplished physicians and scientists – including IOC sports scientists – to determine the optimal applications and protocols for KAATSU.
UNIQUE CYCLE MODE
Dr. Sato realized early on that the rhythmic compression and decompression of KAATSU Air Bands increased the comfort and effectiveness of KAATSU. This became known as the “KAATSU Cycle”. It is so fundamental to KAATSU protocols that Dr. Sato patented the method.
The KAATSU Cycle is what allows KAATSU to be used for warming up the cardiovascular system prior to exercise. By using the KAATSU Cycle, users get a gentle cardiovascular workout, increasing and improving circulation throughout the body. When used post-exercise / post-race / post-game, it can be used to help flush lactate and metabolic waste to help the body recover faster. BFR can do neither of those things.
When done properly, KAATSU equipment and protocols do not cause pain. The same cannot be said for many BFR systems.
While young, motivated people interested in fitness can withstand the discomfort of BFR, people of all ages can easily tolerate KAATSU. The oldest documented KAATSU user was 104 years old! The KAATSU Cycle mode makes using KAATSU more comfortable, allowing users of all ages, fitness levels, and abilities to use KAATSU to boost performance, recover from exercise, and rehabilitate from surgeries or injuries. Enhanced comfort means continued use.
BODY-FRIENDLY AIR BAND DESIGN
BFR systems are designed with rigid, wide cuffs that are based on blood pressure cuffs or medical tourniquets. These compress the muscle beds on the arms and legs causing discomfort during use. KAATSU Air Bands are narrow and flexible and are engineered to move and flex with the body during activity.
KAATSU: BEYOND BFR