By Steve Kemp MSc BSc, PG Dip, MACP MCSP HPC – Perform Elite Physiotherapist
Kinesio Taping was a technique developed by Dr Kenzo Kase in the 1970s. The adhesive pliable material, directly applied to the skin differs from classical tape in its physical characteristics. Furthermore, its clinical application departs from the usual restriction of mobility. This technique claims four effects:
• To normalise muscular function
• To increase lymphatic and vascular flow
• To diminish pain
• Aid in the correction of possible articular misalignments (Kase et al, 1996).
No clinically important results were found to support the tape's use for pain relief. This taping technique is frequently applied for pathologies in the musculoskeletal system, especially in the field of sports injuries, even with a lack of evidence-based research.
There has not been conclusive scientific or medical evidence to confirm the effectiveness of the tape. A review of evidence from 10 research papers for Kinesio tape to treat and prevent sports injuries was published in the journal Sports Medicine in February last year.
• No clinically important results were found to support the tape's use for pain relief.
• There were inconsistent range-of-motion results.
• Seven outcomes relating to strength were beneficial.
• The tape had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was not clear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful.
Simply a Placebo?
With thousands of elite athletes and medical practitioners still using the product is it purely placebo? Further research is needed, but with the growing research in its benefits in the management of lymphedema there does seem to be a strong suggestion that it may be able to enhance fluid exchange in the epidermal layers reducing inflammation, which in turn may reduce pressure on neural receptors and have a direct effect on pain. Click here for more information, and videos on useful application techniques.