Dr. Kenzo Kase a Japanese chiropractor invented Kinesio Tape in the 1970’s. In the first decade it was used by Orthopedist, Chiropractors, Acupuncturist, and other medical professional in Japan. Then in the second decade it became popular with Japan’s Olympic team and other professional athletes. In the United States it gained popularity after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Kerri Walsh, Lance Armstrong, and Serena Williams are a few of the professional athletes who have used Kinesio Tape as modality and benefited from it.
Kinesio Tape is made of soft cotton and contains no latex or medications. It has a light medical-grade adhesive made from 100% hypoallergenic acrylic. The adhesive is heat-activated, you simply apply to the skin and rub briskly to activate. It is easily removed and leaves no sticky residue. Moisture dissipates quickly through the porous material of the tape, allowing it to withstand sweating, showering, and even swimming without coming off or irritating skin. This tape can be worn without binding, constricting or restricting movement.
Kinesio tape helps a variety of injuries and inflammatory conditions. It can be used to correct a movement deficiency, brace an unstable joint or assist with muscle re-education. Kinesio tape can either provide support or prevent over-contraction of muscles. When used for support, taping allows the patient to retain his full range of motion and normal mechanics and provides all-day facilitation of lymphatic drainage.
Kinesio tape is available in various cuts and colors to treat several different muscle groups, including neck, shoulders, knees, wrists, back and other common areas where injuries occur. These cuts, in shapes such as X, Y and I, are designed to mimic the structure and the makeup of the muscle fibers, so the tape can be placed along the length of the muscle and provide extra support for faster healing.
Besides using Kinesio tape for structural purposes, it can also be used to eliminate pain. When you apply Kinesio tape to the structure before beginning a strengthening program it can help recruit muscle groups to fire through the tactile feedback the tape provides. In turn, this can help correct poor neuromuscular firing patterns. Kinesio tape used along the spine can significantly help with postural corrections. When you move into an improper postural position the tape will become tight which will cue the muscle to maintain proper positioning.
Kinesio tape can be used post-surgically to help reduce swelling. When the tape is applied in a grid or lattice pattern it causes the skin to dimple in the small squares not covered by tape. In turn the dimpling creates alternating spaces of increased and decreased pressure, which creates a flow of fluid allowing the lymph system to better absorb it.
Patients with shoulder impingement or tendonitis typically also have a component of altered neuromuscular firing patterns causing poor glenohumeral and scapula thoracic mechanics. Kinesio tape can help provide a tactile feedback sensation which helps the patient feel how the shoulder should or should not be moving. The patient becomes more aware of their shoulder issues after the tape is worn for a few days and more in tune with their body mechanics. It is the tactile sensation of the tape on the skin when either activating or inhibiting that influences the muscle or muscle group.
Kinesio tape can be place over a bad bruise. You apply wide strips of Kinesio tape stretched in a spider formation which allows a breather under the skin. This allows the lymphatic system to do its job of removing the fluid.
Patients normally understand the benefits of traditional taping and do not need to be educated. On the other hand with Kinesio tape patients do need to be educated on what it is and how it works. There is a tendency for patients to be skeptical, but after using the tape several times they see the benefits. Kinesio tape is user friendly and can be easily removed. It can be applied in hundreds of ways and assist in returning the body to homeostasis.
By Rita Zimmermann