When performed according to established KAATSU protocols, one should not experience any peripheral nerve damage using KAATSU. There are a few reasons for this, but it’s mostly related to the design of the KAATSU Air Bands as well as the overall KAATSU protocols and approach.
Studies of BFR training have noted that numbness (indicating a compression of a peripheral nerve) is a potential side effect of BFR training. The studies note that the incidence of numbness is low, that cases are transient in nature (i.e. not permanent) and that the cause is likely due to “inappropriately high tourniquet pressures”.
KAATSU training protocols start with conservative (low) pressures and then increase in small increments. The probability you will achieve a sufficiently high pressure to inappropriately compress a peripheral nerve is low if you are following proper KAATSU protocols. While some people experience a feeling of “piri piri” (Japanese word meaning tingling – a physical sensation in the fingers that occurs when the capillaries are fully engorged with blood during KAATSU), this is different from the feeling one would have if a nerve was being compressed.
Another reason KAATSU is unlikely to cause peripheral nerve damage is due to the design of the KAATSU BFR Air Bands themselves. The bands are elastic, flexible, and are designed to conform to the arm during various muscular motions. In addition, the air bladders are shaped in such a way as to produce a gentle compression on the tissues in the arm so they are less likely to produce an inappropriate pressure that would damage peripheral nerves.
I hope this answers the question of whether KAATSU causes peripheral nerve damage. If you would like more clarification, please read through the other FAQs about KAATSU, or leave a question in the comment box below.