Kinesio taping is a therapeutic technique that involves the application of a stretchy, adhesive tape to the skin in specific places and directions. It was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor, in the 1970s and has gained popularity among athletes, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals.
The Kinesio tape is made of cotton or synthetic fibers and is designed to mimic the elasticity of human skin. It can be applied in various shapes and patterns depending on the specific needs of the individual. Many tapes are hypoallergenic, breathable, and water-resistant, allowing them to be worn for several days at a time.
It aims to support muscles and joints without restricting movement. The elasticity of the tape allows for a full range of motion, which can be beneficial for athletes or individuals recovering from injuries. It has been used for musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, such as sprains, strains, muscle imbalances, and postural issues. It is thought to help reduce pain and inflammation by lifting the skin, which may increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage in the affected area. In Sports Massage, we sometimes use it to promote healthy lymph flow for this reason, with reported beneficial effects.
A benefit of Kinesio taping is its non-invasive nature. It does not require the use of medications or invasive procedures, making it a relatively safe and conservative treatment option. It is also versatile and can be used in conjunction with other treatments or modalities as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation or performance enhancement program.
It can be applied to various body parts, including the shoulders, knees, ankles, wrists, and back, to provide support, stability, and proprioceptive feedback during physical activities.
However, there are also some considerations and limitations of Kinesio taping. Systematic reviews suggestes that there currently is insufficient evidence to support it's efficacy (Csapo and Alegre 2015; Lau and Cheng 2019; Morris et al., 2013; Mostafavifar et al., 2012; RamirezVelez et al. 2019). However, some studies, such as Umay-Altaş et al, (2023) have found significant effects of kinesio taping, though this depended on how it was applied.
We have found that the quality of the Kinesio Tape that we have used does make a difference. For example, low quality tapes might not last long on the skin and in some cases can cause irritation on the skin. Higher quality tapes are kinder on the skin and last longer. Here are a couple of examples of kinesio tapes that we use in our clinic and found them to be both cost-effective and of high quality.
In conclusion, Kinesio taping could be worth trying in some instances with the correct application. Evidence does vary, however it does have the benefits of non-invasiveness, and versatility, so it could be beneficial to consider it as part of an overall treatment plan to see if it works for you.