By Joad Shaban
Kinesiology taping (KT) was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970’s, when he discovered that lifting the skin away from the tissues beneath improved range of motion and decreased pain. KT has become increasingly popular since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, with more athletes and practitioners in clinics using it every year. KT is used in many areas of physiotherapy, including musculoskeletal problems.
KT is a thin elastic tape that is said to stretch up to 120-140% of its resting length. The tape is a thin, porous material made of cotton allowing the skin to function. This allows air to pass through to limit skin irritation. KT manufactures claim the tape helps improve athletes’ range of motion, functional performance, and increase strength.
There are two main theories – firstly, by lifting the skin off the tissue underneath, it will increases the blood circulation to the soft muscle tissue, which helps facilitate a better range of motion. It may also support the body to go through the healing process via improving the lymphatic system.
Secondly, that it gives the area sensory feedback which improves posture and reduces fear of movement. KT is believed to have a role in allowing the body to sense the position of neighboring parts, meaning that by applying KT on the skin, it will stimulate certain receptors, giving the body information about the joint positioning and movement.
I’ve successfully used kinesiology tape with my clients to assist with decreasing swelling and pain reduction. I have also seen its effectiveness when assisting clients to recover from injury by increasing their confidence to bring movement back into injured areas.