Kinesiology Taping: What is it and does it work?

Kinesiology Taping, Kinesio Taping, Elastic Therapeutic Taping: three names for the same concept. Many of us have seen athletes running around with bright pink, blue, and black tape on their bodies, but what is it and is it effective?

The Kinesio Taping Method™ was originally developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase who realized that while in house treatments for patients was good, providing them with something that could continuing providing therapy after treatment would be even better. After trying other types of tape that did not allow people to move through their range of motion, he designed a tape that provided stability to joints without over-restricting people.

Since then many different brands of Kinesiology tape have come out: Kinesio Tex, Rock Tape, and KT Tape just to name a few. As far as differences go, I find it depends upon the person or practitioner using the tapes. Personally, Kinesio Tex Gold has always been my favorite since I find less people tend to have a reaction to the adhesive and it also has a long application time of up to 5 days (I have had patients say they have worn theirs for longer, however I do not encourage that because it does not allow your skin time to breathe and could cause sensitivity to the tape over time).

Is Kinesiology Tape Effective

Short answer: it depends upon what you are taping for.

Clearing out bruising is one of the greatest uses of kinesiology taping techniques.
Research on the effectiveness of Kinesiology Taping is well documented through the Kinesio Taping Association. The main take away from these research studies is that for joint stabilization, removal of pressure from hyperactive nerves, and lymphatic drainage, kinesiology taping can be very effective.

One of the other applications that practitioners have been using kinesiology taping for is muscular assistance and inhibition. The research for these methods is still inconclusive. While it may be sometimes effective, using massage to release muscles and exercises to strengthen muscles is still more effective.

Overall, when applied properly, I have found the use of kinesiology taping methods in my practice to be very helpful for patients. They have reported back decreased pain, greater range of motion, and come back to their next appointment having made progress rather than backsliding.

Corinne D. Bracko-Douglas, CMT, LMT, CKTP is the owner of Dochas Clinical Massage Therapy based out of Columbia, MO. She received her diploma in Clinical Massage Therapy from The Soma Institute in Chicago, IL in 2004. She enjoys teaching others about how to live a healthy lifestyle and still works one on one with clients out of her private clinic. When not working as a therapist she can be found enjoying trail hikes with her wonderful husband, Lee, and their adorable doggos, Shadow and Koda, or trying out fun new workouts to expand her knowledge of the human body and how it functions.

The advice given in these articles is not meant to diagnose. Please always consult with a health care provider before performing any of the techniques described upon yourself.


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