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Kinesio Taping

Kinesio taping is the application of a thin, elastic, cotton-based therapeutic tape that can be used to treat a variety of injuries and inflammatory conditions.

The tape is designed to mimic the thickness and elasticity of human skin, which enables it to be worn without restricting movement.

While the research on Kinesio taping is mixed, clinical/empirical experience has shown it to be effective for a wide range of sports injuries and musculoskeletal conditions.

Kinesio taping differs from other types of  therapeutic tape in design, application and function. Whereas most types of therapeutic  tape are non-elastic and wrapped tightly around an injured joint or muscle to provide rigid support and restrict movement, Kinesio tape has elastic properties providing both protective and dynamic support, while allowing full motion of the areas it is applied.

Kinesio tape can be worn during intense exercise and is waterproof, so can be used when swimming or bathing

Benefits of Kinesiology Taping

Kinesio taping has positive physiological effects on the skin, lymphatic and circulatory system, fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.

It can be used to:

  • Decrease pain and inflammation
  • Facilitate lymphatic drainage
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce muscle hypertonicity
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase strength
  • Realign and support joints


What does the research show

Inflammation, Pain, Circulation and Lymphatic drainage

Kinesio Taping (KT) is used in sports injuries, post operative complications, and various pain problems.  It appears that the KT application can elevate the subcutaneous space and then increase the blood circulation and lymph fluid drainage to reduce the chemical factors associated with certain types of pain.

 

Wu, W.-T., Hong, C.-Z., & Chou, L.-W. (2015). The Kinesio Taping Method for Myofascial Pain Control. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2015, 950519. http://doi.org/10.1155/2015/950519
Range of Motion

Thirty healthy subjects with no history of lower trunk or back issues participated in a study. Subjects performed two experimental measurements of range of motion (with and without the application of Kinesiotape- KT). The study found that KT applied over the lower trunk may increase active lower trunk flexion range of motion.

 

Yoshida, A., & Kahanov, L. (2007). The effect of kinesio taping on lower trunk range of motions. Research in sports medicine, 15(2), 103-112.

 

Muscle Strength

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of Kinesio Taping® on increasing or decreasing muscular strength. The results suggest that the application of Kinesio Taping on the anterior surface of the thigh, in the direction of vastus medialis, lateralis and rectus femoris fascia, could increase the eccentric muscle strength in healthy adults.

 

Vithoulka, I., Beneka, A., Malliou, P., Aggelousis, N., Karatsolis, K., & Diamantopoulos, K. (2010). The effects of Kinesio-Taping® on quadriceps strength during isokinetic exercise in healthy non athlete women. Isokinetics and Exercise Science, 18(1), 1-6.

 

Muscle Tone

Kinesio Taping (KT) is regarded as a method supporting rehabilitation and modulating some physiological processes. KT supports joint function by exerting an effect on muscle function, enhancing activity of the lymphatic system and endogenous analgesic mechanisms as well as improving microcirculation.

 

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of KT on changes in the tone of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric contractions. Clinically significant effects of Kinesio Taping in this study included an increase in the bioelectrical activity of the muscle after 24 hours of kinesio taping and the maintenance of this effect for another 48 hours following removal of the tape

 

Słupik, A., Dwornik, M., Białoszewski, D., & Zych, E. (2006). Effect of Kinesio Taping on bioelectrical activity of vastus medialis muscle. Preliminary report. Ortopedia, traumatologia, rehabilitacja, 9(6), 644-651.

Key Take Home Points

Kinesio taping is an effective stand-alone or adjunctive modality that can be used to:

  • Decrease pain and inflammation
  • Facilitate lymphatic drainage
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce muscle hypertonicity
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase strength
  • Realign and support joints

 

Have you tried Kinesio Taping?

 

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin