Kinesio Taping – What is Kinesio Tape (KT Tape) & How Does It Work?

March 3, 2015

Kinesio Taping FAQs

Kinesio Taping

The Kinesio Taping® Method was invented by Dr. Kenzo Kase in Japan after 6 years of clinical development. From 1979 –1981 he invented the Kinesio® Tex Tape specifically for the Kinesio Taping® Method which is used by many medical professionals of different specialities all around the world. Within this post you will find more information about the Kinesio Taping® Method and the Kinesio® Tex Tape.

1. What are the properties of the Kinesio® Tex Tape?

The tape is made of 100 % cotton and elastic fibres. It contains no medicine, is hypoallergenic and latex free. The tape can be comfortably worn for 3-5 days (even in the pool). In contrast to many other taping methods, the Kinesio Taping® Method allows full range of motion. There are many other similar-looking tapes in the market but they have different properties and may not be suitable for everyone.

2. Who can use Kinesio® Tex Tape?

Although most people might think the tape is mainly made for athletes, it can be used by anyone. There are no restrictions in age or gender. Before applying the tape it is recommended to consult a therapist who is trained in the Kinesio Taping® Method to clarify if the usage of the tape is appropriate.

3. What conditions can be treated with Kinesio Taping® Method?

There are a wide variety of conditions which can be treated with the Kinesio Taping® Method such as:

• Neck and back pain
• Swelling/lymphedema and hematoma
• Muscle, ligament, tendon and joint injuries
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Knee pain
• Scar tissue adhesions
• Whiplash
• Tennis elbow
• And many more…..

Depending on the symptoms it can be used for nearly every condition. Based on the progression of the condition applications can change between visits.

The Kinesio® Tex Tape can be used at any stage of the treatment (acute, sub-cute, and chronic) and can be combined with other treatment techniques and modalities (e.g. manual therapy, lymph drainage, etc.)

The length of usage of the tape depends on the condition and can vary from days/weeks in acute stages or even longer in chronic conditions. Some patients also use it as injury prevention.

4. How does Kinesio® Tex Tape work?

Application of the tape can microscopically lift the skin and targets different receptors which can alleviate pain and facilitate the flow of lymphatic fluids. The lifting of the skin creates convolutions which increase the interstitial space. This enhances the lymphatic flow and blood circulation which helps to decrease inflammation and pain and supports normal tissue recovery.

5. Are there any side effects when using Kinesio® Tex Tape?

Kinesio® Tex Tape is tolerated very well by most patients showing no side effects. However some patients have sensitive skin and allergic reactions (itchiness, redness) can occur. If an allergic reaction occurs or symptoms get worse after taping, the tape should be removed immediately and the therapist should be informed about it.

6. Does the colour of the tape make a difference in its effect?

The colour of the tape has no impact on its effect. The first colour was beige and subsequent colours were created later for colour therapy. The dyes used are derived from plants extract and are hypoallergenic. Apart from the different dyes the properties of all Kinesio® Tex tapes are the same.

7. Is there scientific evidence that Kinesio® Taping is effective?

Yes, there are many studies that have shown the positive effects of Kinesio Taping®, especially in the reduction of pain, decrease in swelling and increase of range of motion. However the scientific evidence is not strong due to a lack of high quality studies.

8. Can I tape myself?

The Kinesio Taping® Method is not a simple cook book method. There are many patients we have seen in the clinic who taped themselves after buying a book or watching a video on youtube about Kinesio Taping®. In most cases there was no effect and in some cases their condition worsened. Every application is based on the results of the assessment of a medical professional who is trained and experienced in the Kinesio Taping® method.

There are many different shapes and tensions which can be applied and differ depending on the condition. Hence there is no single standard taping application available for e.g. neck pain, back or knee pain only. Depending on the progression of the condition the application will change between visits. There might be some applications which patients can apply by themselves, after having discussed and taught by a trained therapist in this method.

Thanks for reading!

This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist Mathias Puhr M.Sc, B.Sc, Orthopedic Manipulative Therapist (OMT-DVMT®-Maitland Concept), Certified Kinesio® Taping Instructor (CKTI).

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