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The Science of KAATSU

How it Works

KAATSU Terminology

See It In Action

KAATSU Air Bands apply moderate compression in short durations on the upper arms and upper legs. The pneumatic bands are controlled by the KAATSU units to serve the opposite function of blood pressure cuffs or tourniquets (i.e., KAATSU temporarily keeps an incremental amount of blood in the limbs - not out of the limbs with a tourniquet).

This temporary and rhythmic compression leads to the safe engorgement of the limbs with blood that subsequently causes a cascade of natural and beneficial physiological reactions in the body.

KAATSU In Action

KAATSU Band Design

KAATSU Air Bands are specifically designed and manufactured to not act as a blood pressure cuff or tourniquet - a unique and proprietary design in the BFR (Blood Flow Restriction) market.

The KAATSU Air Bands are elastic, stretchable, and monitored by the KAATSU algorithms that were tested and proven safe by Dr. Sato and cardiologists at the University of Tokyo Hospital among over 7,000 cardiac rehab patients during a 10-year study.

The width of the KAATSU Air Bands are much narrower than blood pressure cuffs and tourniquets. This is done to prevent arterial flow occlusion and to enable the ease of movement and motion of the limbs for walking, running, spinning, cycling, calisthenics, physical therapy, aqua therapy, swimming, throwing, kicking, pulling, pushing, or any specific athletic or fitness activities.

The air bladder inside the bands inflates uniformly and towards the limb, and is precisely controlled by KAATSU equipment and algorithms.

The bands can be immediately deflated by either pushing buttons on the monitoring units, depressing the valves on the connectors, or releasing the velcro on the bands.

Published Research

Here is a guide to all of KAATSU's Published Research.

Published Research
Cardiovascular and metabolic responses to walking with and without leg blood flow restriction Download
Cross-Transfer Effects of Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction Download
Effect of 42 week walk training with blood flow reduction on muscle size and strength in the elderly Download
Effect of knee extension exercise with KAATSU on forehead cutaneous blood flow in healthy young and middle-aged women Download
Effects of KAATSU on muscular function during isometric exercise Download
Effects of KAATSU training on haemostasis in healthy subjects Download
Effects of low-intensity KAATSU resistance training on skeletal muscle size-strength and endurance capacity in patients with ischemic heart disease Download
Effects of Low-Intensity Walk Training With Restricted Leg Blood Flow on Muscle Strength and Aerobic Capacity in Older Adults Download
Effects of resistance exercise combined with moderate vascular occlusion on muscular function in humans Download
Hemodynamic and hormonal responses to a short-term low-intensity resistance exercise with the reduction of muscle blood flow Download
KAATSU Training - Application to Metabolic Syndrome (English) Download
Muscle activation during low-intensity muscle contractions with varying levels of external limb compression Download
Muscle size and strength are increased following walk training with restricted venous blood flow from the leg muscle, Kaatsu-walk training Download
Rapid increase in plasma growth hormone after low-intensity resistance exercise with vascular occlusion Download
Repetitive restriction of muscle blood flow enhances mTOR signaling pathways in a rat model in the Heart and Vessels Journal (January 2016) Download
Skeletal muscle size and circulating IGF-1 are increased after two weeks of twice daily KAATSU resistance training Download
Thigh muscle size and vascular function after blood flow-restricted elastic band training in older women Download
Use and Safety of KAATSU - Results of a National Survey in Japan Download

Safety Has Always Been First and Foremost

There is good reason why KAATSU The Original BFR has been around for decades and is currently distributed in 49 countries: KAATSU is safe.

While other BFR companies stress muscle building and utilize all types and sizes of tourniquets and modified blood pressure cuffs on people with bulging muscles and youthful, fit bodies, KAATSU took a much different approach. As the pioneer of the BFR market, KAATSU had to clearly demonstrate safety above all - well before other BFR companies and products were sold online.

KAATSU spent 10 years behind closed doors (at the University of Tokyo Hospital) testing its original Blood Flow Restriction equipment and protocols with over 7,000 older cardiac rehab patients.

These patients were mostly over 50 years old - some as old as 104. They all had cardiac problems that needed to be addressed by the cardiologists at the University of Tokyo Hospital. Between 2004 and 2014, KAATSU spent its time, energy and budget on perfecting its protocols for older, more sedentary, weaker individuals - not the young and fit, not the muscular and active.

There was no overt marketing, ubiquitous social media campaigns, or slick websites. The KAATSU doctors simply conducted painstakingly detailed research and testing using ultrasound, MRI, and blood sampling and analyses on thousands of patients by medical doctors and PhD's.

Led by KAATSU inventor Dr. Yoshiaki Sato, cardiologist Dr. Toshiaki Nakajima, cardiologist Dr. Toshihiro Morita and their colleagues, KAATSU tested and fine-tuned their equipment and protocols. Ultimately, KAATSU and its original Blood Flow Restriction modalities and pressures were proven safe and effective - and convenient - for cardiac rehab patients.

After that decade-long testing was completed, the protocols and KAATSU Air Band pressures were standardized across the board so the proven protocols could be used at home, at work and during travel.

KAATSU equipment requires strict adherence to these easy-to-follow protocols that were developed with safety for all in mind.

Featured Products



$699.95 Device only $999.95 Full package with 4 KAATSU Air Bands
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KAATSU Air Bands BFR Device

KAATSU Air Bands

FROM $150.00
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  • Light, portable, and easy to use while exercising, moving, rehabilitating, and traveling
  • Universally used with the preset, customizable, and progressive KAATSU Cycle and Constant Modes 
  • Bands can be universally utilized with any KAATSU equipment 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Sizes come in S, M, L, and XL