Disclaimer: KAATSU protocols have not been evaluated by Health Canada. KAATSU is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and its use should be evaluated by your own physician before use.
I’ve been asked a number of times whether KAATSU can help with peripheral neuropathy. That’s an interesting question. It’s not the intended purpose of KAATSU to help with that condition, but what I read, it seems like there are ways KAATSU use could be beneficial.
KAATSU and Blood Circulation
KAATSU’s main action is to create a safe, gentle, and temporary engorgement of blood in the limbs. Inflating the KAATSU Air Bands puts additional pressure on the upper limb which reduces (but never stops) the venous flow of blood from the limb back to the heart. The buildup of blood in the arm gently stretches the veins, capillaries, and arteries. This promotes the release of Nitric Oxide, contributing to increased vascular elasticity.
Peripheral Neuropathy Overview
There are a lot of reasons one might get peripheral neuropathy (PN). Symptoms may include increased sensations of pain, prickling, burning, or temporary or permanent numbness. Some common causes of neuropathy include diabetes, alcoholism, cancer treatments, HIV/AIDS, as well as some autoimmune diseases. Approximately 23% of cases of neuropathy do not have an identifiable cause.
Exercise and Peripheral Neuropathy
Among other treatments, regular exercise is suggested for people with peripheral neuropathy. It can help address muscle weakness and reduce pain. Exercise can also help lower high blood sugar which is important for people who have diabetic neuropathy. Another benefit of exercise that is commonly cited as being beneficial for people with peripheral neuropathy is increased blood flow to the affected areas.
An increase in circulation will bring more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the limbs and the nerves affected by neuropathy. This can be done by exercise, but since it is also the main action of KAATSU, one could reasonably conclude that KAATSU use may be beneficial for people who have peripheral neuropathy. Because one can use KAATSU passively (i.e. sitting at a computer, watching television etc.), it may be more suitable for use in people whose balance, coordination, or strength have deteriorated due to neuropathy.
A meta-analysis of the literature shows that exercise is beneficial to people with peripheral neuropathy (click for reference). There is also evidence over the past 50 years of clinical KAATSU use that KAATSU can be beneficial for people with neuropathy. More recently, KAATSU has been used to help veterans with amputations reduce or eliminate their phantom limb pain which is also considered a type of neuropathic pain (link here).
While everyone’s situation is unique, there seems to be evidence that supports the notion that KAATSU use could be beneficial for people who have peripheral neuropathy. My suggestion would be to check with your physician or other qualified healthcare professional to see whether KAATSU use might be beneficial for you.
I don’t have direct experience with people who have used KAATSU to help their neuropathy but the more I learn about other people’s experience with KAATSU, the more I will pass along to others. If you have a story you’d like to share about your KAATSU experience, please let me know. Thank you!