kinesio tape - what's the deal

Do you want to know what's the deal with kinesio tape? Me too, especially with all the recent proof positive that it makes you a cool and attractive Olympian.

I've read the sparse amount of peer review research on kinesio tape. The two decent studies that I came across were not terribly well controlled and found marginal improvement at best. Let me know if you'd like the references.

But I hear things about kinesio tape. I've tried it on my patients, giving a total disclaimer something like "This is an adjunct treatment for your condition but this is why I would like you to try it." Sometimes I've even plainly stated that I'm skeptical but some people report good results. Then I've answered questions to the best of my ability, and watched.

Most clients like it. When I ask them an intentionally open ended question like "What do you think?" they almost always say that it helps. The clear results in my highly nonscientific study is point number one in the case for kinesio tape.

Point number two in the case for kinesio tape is another experiment from when I severely tore my pectoral tendon in mid May. Now this was an injury that would clearly require reparative surgery. There was a massive amount of internal bleeding that crept down my arm at a rate of inches per day, ballooning up my bicep and showing through the skin.

Two or three days after that injury, I applied the tape to only half of the bruised area. "Chew on this, kinesio tape, if you're so great at decreasing myofascial friction and intramuscular adherence and improving lymph and blood circulation."

I could hardly believe my eyes the next morning. The tape turned a huge blotch of underlying hematoma into broken up bands that corresponded exactly to the tape placement. The whole area felt less blocked up. Yes, there was, oh, 23.45% less blockiness, if you want it scientifically.

I've carefully considered various aspects of this treatment. I've done some research and personal experimentation. There's one primary reason as to why I remain skeptical on the legitimate clinical effectiveness of kinesio tape. And I've found that the number one point against kinesiotape is...


And a close second point against kinesio tape is...


Really? If kinesio tape is to be taken seriously, the promoters need to lose the cute colors and simplify the process. Don't tell me for a minute that the difference in the elastic properties of sky blue versus black versus pink tape result provides a minimum detectable effect on fluid or soft tissue variables beneath the skin. And there's simply no circulatory, lymphatic, or muscular anatomical justification for that cool octopus tattoo thing running down your abs.


Since the side effects are nill, there may be some benefit (including psychological and looking cool), and there's no cost to me beyond a roll of tape, I'll keep the experiment rolling. I'll give clients full disclosure so they know their roll in helping me find what's the deal with kinesio tape.

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1 comment:

  1. Maybe it didn't work to you? But thank you for reminding us about this.

    Hand Tearable Tape