Last updated date: 13-Mar-2023
Originally Written in English
Kinesiological Taping Method is a therapeutic method used by rehabilitation experts in all programs (pediatric, geriatric, orthopaedic, neurological, oncology, and others) and levels of care (acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, home care and Day Rehab).
Dr. Kenzo Kase originally proposed the use of elastic tape to resemble the therapist's hands in the 1970s. It has since become the technique of choice for pain treatment, soft tissue injury, tissue and joint malalignment, oedema, and other conditions. The Kinesio Taping Method employs four varieties of Kinesio Tex Tapes, each with distinct qualities suitable for usage on delicate skin, sensitive skin, or when applied with higher pressures.
Kinesiological Taping Method has also been shown to be helpful in treating animals, and two particular tapes are used: Kinesio Equine and Kinesio Canine. Kinesio Taping Method has also been found effective in treating animals and two special tapes are used: Kinesio Equine and Kinesio Canine.
What is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape is made of a delicate, breathable, stretchy material that is generally cotton or a cotton mix. Its flexibility does not excessively limit the region of application, and it is designed to offer just enough pressure and support to promote muscle and tissue strength.
This tape has a medically certified, water- and sweat-proof adhesive that sticks to the skin. It is available in latex-free and hypoallergenic forms for those who are allergic to latex. Even when showering or exercising, the tape may normally stay in place for three or four days.
Positive results are reported to be felt within 24 hours for many users of kinesiology tape.
Basics of Application
- Complete the patient's examination to determine the best application. This procedure should incorporate Kinesio Taping Method-specific assessment tools.
- When deciding on the Kinesio Taping Method, keep in mind the contraindications and precautions.
- Apply the tape to clean, dry skin that is free of oils and lotion.
- If feasible, remove body hair by cutting or shaving the region.
- Stick to the tension guidelines.
- To avoid early peeling, round all of the tape's edges.
- After removing the backing, avoid touching the adhesive side of the tape as this may reduce the adhesive strength on the skin.
- After applying the tape, activate the heat-sensitive adhesive by rubbing the tape's surface for a few seconds.
- Reevaluate to determine post-application outcomes
- Inform the patient that activities that induce sweat should be postponed for 30 minutes if feasible.
- Inform the patient that the tape should be removed if itching or burning develops, or if the discomfort worsens.
- If necessary, show the patient and caregiver how to remove the tape.
- Provide the patient with informed consent and an information sheet with a description including:
- Signs and symptoms of skin irritation and skin allergy.
- Instruction on tape removal.
- Information how long to wear the tape.
- Physiotherapist contact information.
Type of Kinesiological Tapes
There are now four types of tapes available for Kinesio Taping Method applications in humans and two types of tapes in animals. Depending on the desired objective and the client's skin state, each clinician can select the most appropriate type of tape. It is recommended that an unskilled individual use Classic or Performance Tape while taping.
The following are tape types and their characteristic:
- Kinesio Tex Classic: the original tape that has been upgraded multiple times over the years, the most universal since it can be used for all purposes and is best on healthy skin.
- Kinesio Tex Performance: a new, looser tread pattern, polyester and cotton mix that is suitable for delicate skin when greater tape tensions are needed.
- Kinesio Tex Gold: a particular adhesive distribution that allows for good adhesion without requiring a vast surface area, suitable for low tension applications, and only available to skilled specialists.
- Kinesio Tex Gold Light Touch Plus: adhesive spread to allow delicate grip; does not last as long as other varieties; utilized for short-term applications; typically used on children and the elderly with sensitive skin.
- Kinesio Equine: developed to allow the Kinesio Taping method to be used on horses, can be applied directly on horses hair and its taste prevents animals from chewing it.
- Kinesio Canine: used on dogs and it works well with dogs' hair.
Contraindications for Kinesiological Taping
There are several situations where kinesiology tape should not be utilized. They consist of the following.
- Wounds that haven't healed. Taping a wound might cause infection or skin damage.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Increasing fluid flow might dislodge a blood clot, which could be dangerous.
- Cancer is present. Increasing the blood flow to a malignant tumor may be hazardous.
- Removal of lymph nodes. Swelling may result from an increase in fluid where a node is lacking.
- Diabetes. You may not detect a reaction to the tape if you have limited sensitivity in some regions.
- Allergy. If your skin is sensitive to adhesives, you may get a severe response.
- Skin fragility. If your skin is prone to ripping, avoid using tape on it.
What Does the Evidence Support?
- Increase ROM.
- Improve Function.
- Decrease Oedema/Swelling.
- Decrease Pain.
- Improvement in Quality of Life (QL).
- Some evidence proves theories.
- Provides an optional modality for treatment.
- Applicable to multiple patient populations at various stages of rehabilitation.
- Decrease in pain encourages movement.
- Patient can be taught self-application techniques.
- Inconsistent body of evidence to prove theories
- Can be expensive when used for a prolonged period of time
- Can cause skin irritation or allergic reaction to tape
How Does Kinesiology Taping Work?
- Kinesiology tape is really stretchy
Kase created Kinesio tape using an unique cotton and nylon combination. It's made to replicate the suppleness of your skin so you can move freely. The medical-grade adhesive on the tape is also water-resistant and strong enough to stay on for three to five days, even as you exercise or shower.
When you apply the tape to your skin, it recoils slightly, softly lifting your skin. This is thought to help create a tiny gap between your skin and the tissues beneath it.
- Creates space in joints
One short study with 32 participants discovered that applying kinesiology tape across the knee improved the space in the knee joint. A similar research found that kinesiology tape expanded room in the shoulder joint. Even though the increase in space is little, it aids in reducing the likelihood of joint irritation.
- May change signals on pain pathways
Some physical therapists believe the tape alters the information sent by your sensory nerve system concerning pain and compression in your body.
Sensory receptors detect pain, temperature, and touch in all of your tissues (skin, connective tissue, fascia, muscles). All of these receptors contribute to proprioception, or your brain's perception of where your body is and what it is doing. Kinesiology taping generates a lift that allows the underlying tissues to be unloaded. Decompressing those tissues has the potential to alter the messages sent to the brain. When the brain gets a new signal, it will respond in a different way.
Trigger points are an excellent example. Kinesiology tape has been used by physical therapists to elevate the skin over these tense, knotted muscles. Pain receptors provide a fresh signal to the brain as the region is decompressed, and tension at the trigger point reduces.
A 2015 study found that using kinesiology tape and manual pressure simultaneously decreased trigger point discomfort and enhanced flexibility.
- May improve circulation of blood and fluids
If you've been injured, kinesiology tape may assist increase circulation and reduce swelling in the afflicted region.
According to a 2017 research, kinesiology taping can enhance blood flow in the skin. It may also increase lymphatic fluid circulation. The majority of lymphatic fluid is water, although it also includes proteins, bacteria, and other substances. The lymphatic system regulates edema and fluid accumulation in your body.
According to the theory, when kinesiology tape is placed, it produces additional subcutaneous space, which alters the pressure gradient beneath your skin. The increase in pressure promotes the passage of lymphatic fluid.
The findings of studies have been varied. Kinesiology tape was found to minimize fluid accumulation in patients undergoing breast cancer therapy and people undergoing complete knee replacements in two recent investigations.
Changing the flow of lymphatic fluid may aid in the healing of bruises. Although there have been few studies to support this claim, several people have reported that after they removed tape from wounded body parts, the portions under the tape were a different color than the un-taped areas.
What Kinesiology Taping Can Treat?
- Treating injuries
Physical therapists sometimes use kinesiology taping as one part of an overall treatment plan for people who’ve been injured. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, kinesiology taping is most effective when combined with other therapies like as physical therapy.
- Supporting weak zones
Physical therapists may utilize kinesiology taping as part of an entire therapy strategy for injured patients. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, kinesiology taping is most successful when used in combination with other therapies such as manual therapy.
- Re-educating muscles
Kinesiology tape can assist in re-training muscles that have lost function or have become accustomed to an unhealthy method of operating.
Kinesiology tapes, for example, can be used to address head and neck posture. A 2017 study backs up using it to assist stroke victims improve their walking.
Physical therapists believe this is because the unusual sensation of tape on your skin makes you more conscious of how you stand or move.
- Enhancing performance
Some athletes use kinesiology taping to help them achieve peak performance and protect against injury when they’re competing in special events.
A lot of runners use this tape every time they run a marathon. Sometimes the tape is placed along the glute as a way of ‘waking up’ the muscle and reminding it to keep working.
- Managing scars
Although kinesiology tape should never be used on an open wound, there is some scientific evidence that it helps enhance the long-term look of scars following surgery or injury. This is a therapy that you should absolutely discuss with a doctor first.
How to Apply the Kinesiological taping?
Before attempting to use kinesiology tape on your own, please speak with a physical therapist who is skilled in its appropriate application.
A physical therapist will demonstrate how to apply the tape in the manner that will be most beneficial to your individual ailment. Depending on your aims, tape can be put in an X, Y, I, or fan pattern. Stabilization and decompression strips may also be required.
Your physical therapist can watch you practice applying and removing the tape before you try it at home.
Taping is not a permanent solution. You want to build your strength and skill, because correcting the root problem is key.
- First, clean and dry the area. Lotions and oils might make the tape stickier.
- Remove any excess hair. Fine hair shouldn't be an issue, but thick hair may prevent the tape from properly adhering to your skin.
- To begin most treatments, peel the backing paper in the center.
- If the ends of the strips do not already have rounded corners, cut them. The rounded edges are less prone to catch on clothes and help the tape stay on longer.
- When applying the initial tab to secure the strip, allow the end to recoil slightly after removing the backing paper. You don't want any stretch in the last two inches at either end because those tabs just serve to keep the tape in place. If you extend the ends, the tape will pull on your skin, causing discomfort or causing the tape to detach sooner.
- Keep your fingers on the packing paper to hold the tape. The adhesive component gets less sticky as you touch it.
- Your therapist will be able to advise you on how much stretch to apply in the treatment area. To get a 75% stretch, extend the tape as far as it will go and then release it approximately a fourth of the way down.
- To obtain a uniform stretch, use the entire length of your thumb over the tape when stretching it.
- After applying the tape, aggressively massage the strip for several seconds. The adhesive is activated by heat. It normally takes roughly 20 minutes for full adhesion.
How to Safely Remove Kinesiology Tape?
- If you use the tape for more than a few days, it may begin to loosen on its own. Here are some tips for removing the tape without damaging your skin.
- To loosen the strip, use some oil (such as baby oil or olive oil) or lotion on top of it.
- Remove it gradually. Don't pull. Don't get out.
- Press pressure on your skin to separate it from the tape after shoving up one end of the strip.
- Pull the tape against itself instead than straight up away from you. Gently compress your skin while drawing the tape back toward the end tab.
- Walk your fingers along your skin as you go.
- If your skin is irritated or damaged, don’t reapply tape. Consider talking talk to your physical therapist or doctor.
What are the Side Effects of Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape is usually safe to use and has no known adverse effects. Most major brands' adhesive is latex-free and hypoallergenic, so it should not cause an adverse response. To ensure your safety, use a little test strip first to see whether your skin responds poorly to this product.
As this is not an exhaustive list of side effects, see your doctor or healthcare provider for expert medical advice on the risks and advantages of using Kinesiology Tape.
How Much Does Kinesiology Tape Cost?
Currently, no Medicare policies cover Kinesiology Tape. Without insurance, the average cash price of Kinesiology Tape might reach $22.64.
There are over 50 brands of kinesiology tape on the market today, but the original product, Kinesio tape or Kinesio Tex Tape, was developed in the late 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor who wanted a tape that provided support but did not limit movement like traditional athletic tapes do.
You've probably seen it if you've seen a volleyball game or a professional bicycle race: strips of colored tape spread in patterns across shoulders, knees, backs, and abs. That's kinesiology tape: a therapeutic tape that's precisely placed to the body to give support, alleviate discomfort, swelling, and increase performance.
Enthusiasts report success achieving these aims, but so far, there needs to be more research to say with certainty what taping can and cannot do.
Here’s what we know about how physical and sports therapists use it, its benefits, tips and what to know.