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Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

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Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by MF! on Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:26 pm

Received the following question:

musems wrote:What do you think about kinesio taping Flex?
I have had mixed experiences with it.

Here's my answer:

Kinesiotaping is relatively new and, as such, doesn't have a lot of true research to back up the claims that it presents. The claims presented include its use to help to:

- Re-educate the neuromuscular system
- Reduce pain
- Optimize performance
- Prevent injury
- Promote improved circulation and healing

I haven't had the opportunity to use it myself (I still have a sample sitting around in my room somewhere), but I've seen it used by both classmates and athletes. The range of results being from extreme improvement to very little difference to affect their injury.

From what I've seen with it, it does seem to do a good job with proprioception (body awareness, or limb positioning), especially with shoulder, back and knee issues. I've also heard patients claim that it's helped with swelling/lymphatic drainage quite a bit. The results will vary with any user, and based from what I've seen it isn't always a guaranteed fix.

A plus with using it is that it lasts for days (unlike some proprioceptive tools) because it uses a heat sensitive adhesive that allows to last so long. And according to the inventor, it mimics the action of the muscle and skin by having similar elasticity. There isn't any known danger to using it (unless you have skin sensitivities/allergies), and as such it doesn't hurt to give it a shot. I think part of what makes it good is the possibility of placebo: physiologically I don't think it does much, but it definitely offers a mental boost often required for recovery (especially with the different colours... I don't think the varying bright colours offer any function at all. They just look cool).

That's my take on it. Does anyone have any experience with it? Feel free to share. :)
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Re: Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by MF! on Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:28 pm

And more info on the technology:

About kinesio: http://www.kinesiotaping.com/global/corporation/about.html

Some articles on its use: http://www.kinesiotaping.com/global/corporation/about/articles/region-us.html

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Re: Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by musems on Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:29 am

Thanks Flex!
I'll share my experience.
One of my many careers/vocations is as a Shiatsu Bodywork Therapist. I'm also a licensed massage therapist, but I rarely do other forms of bodywork that do not involve acupressure and eastern medicine adjunct therapies like gua sha, cuppping, or applying press pellets, magnets/ linaments to acupuncture points etc. so that's my frame of reference. I received some kinesio tape samples from my eastern medical supplier so I tested it on myself first. The idea behind it working was all that you mentioned above with the added angle that the colors worked with certain acupuncture meridians. There's some esoteric philosophy behind the color thing I won't get into here, but my general feeling is as you say that color is not really a big deal, but it looks cool.


Test 1:
Tried it on my right shoulder (repetitive motion pain medial side of the scapula).
I had a friend apply the tape as per the instructions in the "Acupressure Taping" booklet.
I wore it for 2 days. I noticed no difference in pain, and when I took the tape off I had a hellacious rash. In other words, a total fail. However, I acknowledged that there was probably a high amount of user error since it was my first time and the friend applying it was not a bodyworker and was just basically following my novice instructions. Also, I do get sensitive skin reactions from time to time.

Test 2 (because once is not enough, right?!):
I strained my right knee. It wasn't bad, but I noticed a kind of twinge on the medial side of the knee as I transitioned from flexion to extension (only during the transition).It wasn't constant, but it was happening often enough to be annoying. I was scheduled to attend a dance seminar and the last dance seminar I went to really irritated that knee thing so I decided to tape it. Leg skin tends to be pretty tough after years of leg shaving and waxing so I was less worried about a rash. I taped the whole knee, not just the medial side.

I think the tape made a big difference in that case. Knee was great during the seminar, and the tape was very flexible and forgiving of all kinds of movements. After wearing it for a few days, taping, and re-taping as I continued with my regular activity darned if that twinge wasn't about 90% gone. No skin reaction.

My personal verdict: I don't think the tape is magic, but if you need light support it moves well with the body far better than standard bandage. I think the color thing is hype, but it does look pretty cute. I would use it again for a minor strain of the finger, ankle, knee or elbow if I just felt it needed some light support while it healed, but for something "deep" like low back and shoulder, I'm not sure it would make much of a difference.

I don't feel confident enough in it to use it on clients. I'd like to see some more research on it, and I think there's a little bit of a learning curve to apply the tape properly for maximum effect. Just my 2.

Interested to hear other opinions/experiences.

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Re: Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by MF! on Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:51 am

One person I got in contact with recently is a massage therapist that has been using this consistently with his patients from the time of his certification. Judging from the frequency of his use I'm guessing that he's finding it fairly effective, however with the nature of his practice I'm not surprised that he's seeing benefits from it. I'm really curious about how it would help someone with something more serious (post operative or even something like a serious ACL sprain or other severe joint instability).
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Re: Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by musems on Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:49 am



Yes I can see it working well for certain practitioners depending on what they see a lot. Most of the people I saw when I was doing bodywork full time had either serious, chronic low back pain, or digestive issues. I also worked with some people post stroke re-hab. I did treat some martial arts injuries, but since I had so many other useful tools at my disposal as a shiatsu therapist the tape wasn't my first go to.

I have the same questions as you re: serious joint instabiity. I'm very open to experimenting more in the future. A lot of people are interested in it now after seeing it on the Olympic athletes.

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Re: Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by MF! on Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:40 pm

im curious about this ish:

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Re: Kinesiotaping - Effective or Not?

Post by musems on Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:21 am

Mmmkay. Would love to know also. I think half the the fun is getting taped up to look like a superhero .
Not sure what her powers would be given the position of the tape radiating from her lady parts like that, but...

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