I tore my left Achilles tendon in November 2019 during an attempt to pass my 6th degree black belt grading in Kendo. The first treatment for it was using Shockwave Therapy which may have been effective, but as everything locked down in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic I didn’t have much opportunity to test out how the tendon would handle kendo.
A flareup after a mild kendo session at the end of 2020 shocked me into realizing I needed more work and a better way of keeping my tendons (and the rest of me) more healthy going forward. Reading that laser therapy has also been shown to be effective for Achilles tendinopathy led to me visit the MediTech clinic in Oakville. There, I started a program of combined Shockwave and laser therapy to one again rehabilitate my Achilles tendon.
One thing I learned there was that the Achilles is a tricky tendon to rehabilitate. Professional athletes who have Achilles issues often have recurring flareups. Having youth, fitness, money, the best personal trainers, physiotherapists, sports trainers etc. doesn’t guarantee success when it comes to the Achilles. The laser and shockwave was helping but I didn’t want to rely on that for the rest of my life.
The chiropractor directing my treatment suggested I look into KAATSU as he felt it would be helpful for my rehabilitation and for the ongoing health of my tendons. My first impression of KAATSU was that it sounded crazy but the more I read, the more I learned how it could help me recover and keep me healthy.
I’d never really considered how blood gets to every part of the body. What I did know was that tendons have poorer blood flow than other tissues so recovery tends to take longer. It’s the smallest blood vessels called capillaries that get the blood to the tissues. During KAATSU, capillaries lengthen and expand to help improve circulation and vascular elasticity. The body also develops new capillaries as KAATSU is used over time which improves overall blood flow. Increasing blood flow to my Achilles tendon would help it recover faster both now and in future.
More Growth Hormone = Better Collagen Synthesis
Tendons and ligaments are largely made of collagen. This gives them their strength and structure. The collagen synthesis process in the body relies on Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Up to 290 times the normal amount of HGH is secreted during KAATSU training. If you’re looking for a way to maximize the health of your tendons and ligaments, producing more HGH should help your body’s collagen synthesis processes.
I Sit. A Lot.
My job for the past 25 years has involved sitting for long stretches of time at a computer. I’ve worked from home for most of that time and one thing I’ve found is that I never really get away from work. Some have called sitting the “new smoking”. One nice thing about using KAATSU while sitting is that you can get a “workout” in while doing your work. You don’t have to be lifting weights to get the benefits of KAATSU. Sure – there will be MORE benefit from doing a proper workout using KAATSU, but the automated KAATSU Cycle Mode will still produce beneficial effects on the circulatory system while you’re busily working at your desk or even doing light activities such as housework.
The Value of KAATSU
Because of these reasons (and more), I thought it would be worthwhile taking the plunge and invest in a KAATSU system. It’s not inexpensive, but I think the value proposition far outweighs the cost. Consider: I sold my motorcycle for $5K to pay for my shockwave/laser therapy treatment and we spent another thousand on my first round of rehab. That’s at least $6K I’ve spent to get my Achilles tendon functional for Kendo, plus the time and mileage to go to Etobicoke and back multiple times weekly for two months. That’s for just ONE BODY PART, for just a few dozen treatments.
KAATSU has the potential to help every part of my body perform at its best. I can use it every day for the rest of my life to get in better shape, to recover faster from workouts, to help keep me injury-free, and if I get hurt I can use it to get better faster. I think the long-term value of KAATSU is immeasurable.
I’m less than a year into my KAATSU journey, but I’m a believer. I hope you will become one too. Let me know what you think in the comments below.