During the 2008 Olympics, beach volleyball players drew attention with colored stripes of Kinesio Tape. Over the years, this effective technique has become increasingly popular among athletes. As a chiropractic physician with the 2016 Olympic Village Polyclinic staff, I used the technique to help athletes gain an extra advantage that could make the difference in winning a race.
Prior to the Olympics, I taught Kinesio Taping at National University of Health Sciences since 2012. The university has a long history with this therapy since the inventor, Dr. Kenzo Kase, is a 1974 DC alum.
Kinesio Taping involves taping over and around muscles in order to send neuromuscular signals that enhance performance and help heal injuries. While Kinesio Taping is best known for its effectiveness on athletic injuries, it can also be effective for non-athletic ailments. That’s why Kinesio Taping is a versatile therapy that offers a number of benefits for everyone.
Kinesio Taping relieves pain.
You don’t need to be an athlete to experience the tension and soreness often caused by strained or overused muscles. Today, millions of Americans suffer from neck and low back pain due to poor posture or sitting at a desk all day. When applied, Kinesio Taping can effectively reduce pain by relieving pressure on the strained or injured site.
According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation, stroke patients with hemiplegic shoulder pain experienced greater reductions in shoulder pain after three weeks of Kinesio Taping intervention compared with sham Kinesio Taping. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation found similar results for pain reductions for patients with lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. No matter which muscle is bothering you, Kinesio Taping can improve your pain symptoms while the muscle continues to heal.
Kinesio methods reduce inflammation.
In addition to reducing pressure on certain muscles, the Kinesio method of taping can reduce pressure on the lymphatic system, which removes fluid from our tissues. This reduced pressure helps the body drain fluids like lactic acid that often build up in an injured area.
This benefit gives Kinesio Taping many uses beyond just healing injuries. It can help reduce inflammation and swelling experienced post-surgery and with inflammatory ailments such as lymphedema. Kinesio Taping may even be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions.
Taping can expedite the recovery of overused muscles.
Combined with enhanced draining of built-up fluids, Kinesio Taping improves blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the site, allowing overused muscles to heal much more rapidly.
This added benefit is one of the reasons Kinesio Taping is commonly used in everyday practice to treat injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff impingement, bursitis, and many other conditions.
Kinesio helps improve overall function.
Multiple studies show that Kinesio Taping can help improve function, which is often a key factor in the healing process. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that 30 elderly patients with degenerative knee arthritis who used Kinseo Tape for four weeks not only experienced reduced pain and stiffness, but improved knee joint function and increased range of motion. The 2017 study and 2016 study mentioned previously also found similar results in function with improved muscle flexion and range of motion among participants.
Since Kinesio Taping is most commonly used on the knees, shoulders, back, ankles and feet, improved function is an important benefit. By applying Kinesio, you are able to get back to normal function in your everyday life at a much faster pace.
Kinesio Taping provides minimal side effects.
One of the most important benefits of Kinesio Taping is that it comes without the side effects common with prescription medication. Kinesio provides support without restricting the muscle’s range of motion, so while your injuries heal, you can continue to be active without worrying about overstretching the injured muscles. You can also wear the tape and receive its therapeutic benefits on a 24-hour-per-day basis for several days per application.
Since the introduction of Kinesio Taping into the United States, the method is currently used by thousands of physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractic physicians, medical doctors, certified athletic trainers, and massage therapists, who have all recognized and embraced this effective, safe, and easy-to-use modality.
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About the Author
Dr. Carlo Guadagno