Did you watch the last summer Olympics? Do you remember seeing spiderweb-like tape patterns on some of the athletes shoulder, knees, and legs? We are sure to see this Kinesio Tape used again in the upcoming summer Olympics in London. In additional to Olympians, Kinesio Tape is used frequently in professional basketball, football, and baseball. Lance Armstrong has described its uses and benefits as:
“Something better than any laser, wrap, or electric massager- The Tape. It is a special hot-pink athletic tape that came from Japan and seemed to have special powers. Every morning before the stage, they would tape us all up, different parts of our bodies . . . George’s back, Chechu’s knees. Sometimes we’d be so wrapped up in hot-pink tape that we’d look like dolls, a bunch of broken dolls. But the next day the pain disappeared- it was gone.”
This winter I attended three courses and underwent testing to become a Certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner. In the past months, through these courses and extensive use of Kinesio taping in the clinic I have learned and come to believe in the numerous benefits of this modality.
Kinesio Tape is an elastic tape unlike typical rigid athletic tape. The benefit of its stretch is that it allows for full range of motion. Kinesio Tape works through the skin’s surface to stimulate sensory and motor receptors in our skin and deeper tissue layers, thus facilitating healing, affecting pain, swelling, and muscle function. Kinesio Tape can provide proprioceptive feedback and can contribute to muscle inhibition or facilitation, depending on the method of application and the needs of the patient. Whether you are a recreational or professional athlete, Kinesio Tape may be applied to maximize your performance.
Kinesio Tape can also assist with circulatory and lymphatic drainage to decrease swelling and thus reduce pain, or it can be used to provide stability and support of joints and ligaments. I have found Kinesio Tape to be beneficial in all patient populations and conditions including chronic pain, post surgical swelling and pain, and tendonitis, as well as performance enhancement. I have seen first hand all of these advantages in the clinic this winter and equally as important, many of the benefits Kinesio tape are supported by scientific research.
Whether you have knee pain when cycling up the pass, carpal tunnel syndrome from typing at work, elbow pain that is interfering with your tennis game, or any other ache or pain, Kinesio Tape can benefit to you. The effectiveness of Kinesio Tape can only be maximized when applied correctly by an individual experienced in Kinesio Taping application.
New York Times article on Kinesio and a great picture of Kerri Walsh.
Amber Matthews is a physical therapist at The Aspen Club Sports Medicine Institute. Kinesio taping can be included in your PT session, or you can come get taped for $25! (970) 925-8940 for more information