Kaatsu: A Japanese Technique to Effortlessly Gain Muscle and Improve Your Heart
Play • 1 hr 5 min

Is it possible to build muscle without lifting weights? Can we tone our facial muscles? Is it possible to improve our cardiovascular system with almost no effort? Today, we sit down with former USA swim coach and Kaatsu CEO Steven Munatones. He tells us all about his decades-long journey of discovery and tutelage under Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in Tokyo, wherein he studied the myriad benefits of Japanese Kaatsu bands and developed a plan to introduce this technology to the world. Huge amounts of research out of Japan are showing that one can maintain strength and vitality as they age, improve overall vascular function, rehabilitate injuries all with zero risk of injury.

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Key Moments
“Why would someone [restrict blood flow]? They do it for a variety of reasons, and there's a lot of literature out there by researchers, scientists, physicians, and physical therapists, and you want to do this mostly to build muscle. Building muscle helps if you're injured, maybe you had a surgery on your knee, maybe you broke your arm. It helps reduce atrophy. And so part of the recovery process is rebuilding that muscle loss. When you use BFR, you actually reduce the amount of muscle atrophy that you get, so your body will heal itself and then you go through a shorter recovery period because you're not losing as much muscle mass.”

“Fundamentally, what's happening is a bit of hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the muscle. If you do movement as simple as bicep curls. It could be stretching, it can be walking, whatever you want to do that leads to that uncomfortable feeling you have when you work out. That lactate sends a signal through your central nervous system up to your brain. And then the brain thinks that you are doing something very vigorous, something very intense. And when the brain receives that signal again, the brain does not know if you're lifting heavy weight or you're just doing BFR. So it reacts as it naturally does and produces growth hormones amongst other metabolites, which flow through our vascular system and promote muscle growth”

“The Japanese found that when you engorged the limbs and blood and you do slight movement, this is the most effective way to trigger those signals up to the brain and then release a variety of hormones.”

Connect with Steven
Book: Open Water Swimming

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