Q&A: Richard D. Herstone, KAATSU (Blood Circulation Device)

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Hello Biohackers!!!  A pleasant day to all of you. Today we are blessed to have an interview with Richard D. Herstone (Chief Operating Officer) from KAATSU Global, Inc. KAATSU is a device that can help us enhance blood circulation and significantly increase hormonal production through conveniently practical and noninvasive protocols. This product can help us achieve the best performance, recovery, and rehabilitation goals at any time. This product is being used by some well-known Olympic and tactical athletes including running and swimming sprinters (e.g., world champion and gold medalist Michael Andrew). It’s an easy-to-use, safe product and I know you guys can’t wait to learn more about KAATSU. So let’s begin by welcoming Richard D. Herstone.

Web: https://kaatsu.com/
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Q: Hi Richard, Thank you for allowing us to the interview. This will be a big help to our community to know more about your products. First, Can you tell us a little about yourself? Also, can you share something about the company, the branding, and how it all started? 

A: I worked for years in the finance sector.  I am originally from New York and spent many years commuting to Manhattan. I came out to Southern California in the 1980s and started working with inventors in a variety of fields, helping fund, organize, manufacture, distribute and market their inventions.

One of these inventions was KAATSU which was brought to my attention in 2001.  When I first saw the invention that was kept hidden in Japan for decades, I told my partners that no matter how long it took, we could really help improve human wellness with KAATSU.  It took 13 long years before Dr. Sato, the inventor from Tokyo, agreed to launch KAATSU outside of Japan with us.  

The Japanese word itself, KAATSU, means additional pressure in English.  This additional pressure, precisely measured, is what we gently apply to the upper arms and upper legs in order to stimulate hormonal production and improve blood circulation.  

We have the benefit of utilizing 20 years of very methodical testing and research performed by Japanese Ph.D.’s and physicians including primarily cardiologists and internists at the University of Tokyo, the leading university in Japan.  Our algorithms and protocols are based on a 10-year study of over 7,000 cardiac rehabilitation patients at the University of Tokyo Hospital.  

This is really the essence of our technology – improving the elasticity of vascular tissue throughout the body.  This is why the core of our research was performed by the leading cardiologists of Japan.  Our Chinese customers also picked up this outcome.  

However, in the United States and Europe, researchers and our competitors focus on muscle hypertrophy and LOP (Limb Occlusion Pressure).  The major difference between KAATSU and other forms of BFR (Blood Flow Restriction).  KAATSU equipment leads to no occlusion of the limbs, allowing arterial flow to continue unimpeded.  This is the second essence of our technology and what sets up apart.

Q: What are the biggest challenges that you’ve encountered when you started the business and how did you deal with them?

A: Initially, like with any invention that leads to the creation of new markets, it is funding and gaining awareness in the market.  But the challenges are even deeper than that.  We have to educate physicians, physical therapists, coaches, trainers, athletes, and our users to an entirely new set of vernacular and protocols.  KAATSU is not intuitive.  It seems illogical at first.  KAATSU presents a completely new mindset on the importance of capillaries to human health and wellness.  

We had to create new definitions, words, and explanations for entirely unheard-of modalities of rehabilitation, fitness, wellness, and performance.  

It is a slow educational process that we are continuously trying to fine-tune.  But there is so much misinformation and inaccurate assumptions online that it is a daily, constant, arduous challenge.

On the other hand, since KAATSU created this market and other competitors are gradually entering the market, we remain the leader as the market continues to grow.  Competition does not breed complacency; it breeds excellence.

Q: Ok let’s talk about your products. It says that this device can help us recover, rehabilitate and have better performance. Can you help us widen our knowledge of how it works?

A: KAATSU starts at homeostasis with our bodies at rest.  Then we gradually and slowly increase the amount of air in the bladder inside our KAATSU bands.  The bands are placed on our upper arms or upper legs.  As the bands inflate in small increments, this leads to gradual engorgement of blood in our limbs.  Our body is made up of ubiquitous capillaries; if we laid out our capillaries and veins end to end, the total length would wrap around the Earth two times.  

KAATSU equipment repeatedly increases the amount of blood in these capillaries and veins in minute amounts.  The bands inflate for 30 seconds and then release for 5 seconds – over and over again based on our algorithms that were created in the decade-long study of 7,000+ older cardiac rehab patients.  

This compression and decompression of the KAATSU Air Bands lead to an expansion and return of the vascular tissue.  This phenomenon in turn leads to the production of multiple hormones and metabolites.  We have many published studies and clinical tests that show significant increases in NO (nitric oxide), HGH (human growth hormone), VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), IGF-1 (insulin growth factor), beta-endorphins, plasmalogens, ceramides, testosterone, etc. depending on what KAATSU protocols you use.

In essence, the equipment enables inflation of the air bands which is the catalyst to multiple natural biochemical reactions in the body.

Q: How did you come up with an idea of creating a device like Air bands that can help blood circulation improvements?

A: Dr. Sato, the KAATSU inventor, took 7 years from the time he came up with the inspiration of KAATSU in 1966 to figure out where on the body is the optimal location for the bands. Once the optimal location was identified, then he started to test different materials, sizes, widths, and lengths of the bands.  The optimal band was elastic, flexible, and relatively thin.  This took many years.  

But in order to expand to people around the world, we needed a standard way for people to easily use the bands at the optimal pressure in the correct location.  This was most conveniently and accurately done with pneumatic bands.  The bands needed a controller to monitor the inflation and deflation amounts and duration – or what is called Time under Tension.  This took years of experimentation and hard work – and a decade of testing of 7,000+ cardiac rehab patients over the age of 50.  

So now we have the history, know-how, and equipment that safely and optimally helps blood circulation.  It was not an easy process – it literally took several decades.

Q: What is currently the best product you offer? What are your standard go-to-market strategies? Who would you say is your target audience?

A: For hospitals, medical offices, and physical therapy clinics, we recommend the KAATSU Master 2.0 that captures a wide variety of data on KAATSU users.  This includes pressure, Time Under Tension, oxygen saturation levels, respiratory rates, perfusion index, etc.  It is a larger unit that is Bluetooth enabled and has a larger tablet that makes viewing all this real-time data easy and convenient.

For consumers, athletes, and people outside the clinical setting, we recommend the KAATSU C3 that is a handheld unit that uses the same KAATSU Air Bands as the KAATSU Master 2.0.  It is only 1/5th the cost of the KAATSU Master 2.0 and can be carried in your pocket or hand-carried that enables anyone to use it anytime anywhere.

People can use the KAATSU C3 at home, in their office, or while traveling.  We have people use them in submarines and in airplanes and aircraft carriers.  KAATSU can be used while walking your dog while doing housework, studying, or watching movies.  Instead of going to a fitness gym or physical therapy clinic, fitness and rehabilitation can be performed anywhere anytime.  

This convenience changes the paradigm of athletic performance, rehabilitation, and recovery.

At this time, our biggest market is people over the age of 50 who are recovering from injuries or simply want to avoid injuries and stay healthy.  This market includes able-bodied and disabled people.  This is almost exclusively word-of-mouth marketing.  We have so many satisfied customers that they introduce KAATSU to their family members, neighbors, and co-workers.  

But we are also expanding rapidly in the military and are continuing to conduct more medical research in order to crack open the medical fields more widely.

Q: Why do you feel that someone should buy your products? What is unique about your product?

A: If anyone is interested in a long, healthy life, the investment in KAATSU is the wisest thing they can do.  Bar none.  You can do KAATSU anywhere, anytime doing anything.  The convenience is off the charts – which means your lifestyle can be enhanced.  Instead of spending 15 minutes to go to a gym, 60 minutes at the gym, and another 15 minutes to return home, you can exercise yourself – and get fitter or stronger at home or in the office.  We can show you how.  

KAATSU presents a lifestyle transformation, it is a paradigm shift.

In the BFR market, no company has the history, the extent, and scope of research, or range of products that KAATSU has.  KAATSU is currently sold in 49 countries, almost exclusively known by word-of-mouth.  This is a powerful statement to the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of KAATSU equipment and protocols.

Q: How do you see your product positioned in the market compared to your ‘competitors and how do you differentiate yourselves? 

A: The KAATSU Cycle is a patented modality and is the essence of KAATSU.  The competition tries to do similar things, but they simply do not have the collective experience and know-how of the KAATSU team.  Our core medical team is a group of well-respected cardiologists, internists, and orthopedic surgeons.  I think nothing replaces the practical and collective experience of decades.  We have done KAATSU with individuals with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.  We work with quadriplegics and paraplegics.  We work with Olympic, Paralympic, and professional athletes from famous MMA fighters to Olympic skiers.  We work with celebrities and billionaires.  We have worked with morbidly obese users and people up to the age of 104.

Q: Aside from current product offerings, is the team working on developing new additional products? What does the product roadmap look like?

A: The future is extremely bright with our new Bluetooth-enabled and AI products in a full five-year product roadmap.

Q: What are you most excited about in the anti-aging and health/wellness industry right now?

A: Without a doubt, the acknowledgment that longevity and wellness can also be very positively achieved through non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical means.  The human body is a miracle of constant biochemical reactions – even while sleeping and sitting – that can be positively impacted by nutrition, ancestral wisdom, a positive mindset, and KAATSU.  

Combining KAATSU with other natural modalities also presents new areas for expansion and adoption by those individuals who want to live long and live well.

Q: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with us that we didn’t already cover?

A: KAATSU Global has a great sense of responsibility for creating this new and growing BFR market.  We must always focus on safety, above all.  So we understand when our competitors copy our products and protocols; through their actions, we feel comfortable in maintaining leadership in the market for the benefit of all BFR advocates.

Thank you so much for your time, Richard D. Herstone. We are honored to be able to speak with you regarding your company and wish you the absolute best. For readers who are interested, please visit their website below.