2023 marks the 50th anniversary of KAATSU’s clinical use. Over the past 50 years KAATSU has been applied to tens of thousands of people with millions of individual user sessions. The safety record of KAATSU has been proven over the decades and it is widely understood to be something that virtually anyone can use.
You can’t say the same about blood flow restriction (BFR) devices. Designed to cut off (occlude) blood flow, many BFR devices are either repurposed medical tourniquets originally meant to be used by surgeons, or modified blood pressure cuffs. BFR is defined as “a training method partially restricting arterial inflow and fully restricting venous outflow in working musculature during exercise” (reference). Many doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, other healthcare professionals, and athletic trainers know BFR can’t be used on the majority of people. Why? Because BFR is not safe for patients who have underlying medical conditions, or would be too painful for patients to bear.
BFR was developed for use on young soldiers. Those are the people who can handle the discomfort. Unfortunately, that’s a minority of people. Fortunately, KAATSU can be used for those young soldiers AND for everyone else. KAATSU was used and researched for a decade at Tokyo University Hospital on over 12,000 cardiac rehab patients. If people in such a frail condition can use KAATSU, it should be safe for pretty much everyone else.
KAATSU protocols and equipment are designed to be gentle on the body. KAATSU doesn’t occlude when used properly. Even when used improperly, the chances of KAATSU causing occlusion is highly unlikely. Moreover, KAATSU equipment flexes and moves with the body, making it more comfortable whether you’re a high-level athlete or an at-home user wanting to improve your wellness.
Safe and effective, Dr. Sato’s KAATSU is considered the original form of BFR. Due to KAATSU’s equipment and protocols, KAATSU is not at all the same as BFR systems developed more recently. If you’re looking to add BFR to your training, recovery, or rehabilitation program, you owe it to yourself to examine KAATSU and see how it goes beyond what BFR systems can offer. Only KAATSU is KAATSU!