Time for our Workout Of The Month. Each month we take a look at a different exercise and break it down by movement, how to do it, and discuss some of the positive versus negative impact that it can have to you and your level of fitness. Some workouts breakdown how to do a common exercise, others feature a specific workout. This month features something that stems from my own personal use – kinesiology tape. Does kinesiology tape really work?
The Basics – What Is Kinesiology Tape
For those who are deep into the fitness world, you’ve probably heard of kinesiology tape. It’s not a new concept. In fact, it’s been around for several decades but it seems to be getting more and more traction (in fact it’s now the official sponsor of many different sports and United States Olympic Teams). Kinesiolgy tape (KT) was developed by a chiropractor in Japen by the name of, Dr. Kenzo Kase. in Japan. The idea behind KT was to be a supplement to other treatment options at the time – medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment, etc.
How does Kinesiology Tape Work
The theory behind the tape is to help the body’s natural healing process. The tape also gives an ability to help prolong chiropractic and physical therapy treatment after patients leave the clinical setting. Kinesiology tape is applied to certain muscle groups and at differing lengths and tensions. The idea of the tape is to target a multitude of the body’s receptors and to lift the skin to help with lymphatic drainage (or body’s toxin drainage system). This supposedly helps to decrease inflammation and ultimately reduce pain and help the body. KT also provides additional support and stability to muscles and joints without necessarily restricting the body’s natural range of motion.
In a physical therapy setting, kinesiology tape can help retrain the mind-body connection – called neuromuscular retraining. For example, if someone has poor posture, kinesiology tape applied at certain lengths and certain tensions can help remind the body to correct for improper posture or movement. People using kinesiology tape therapy have reported decreased pain, increased strength, and injury prevention. Kinseiology tape has also been shown to help increase the effectiveness of physical therapy from sports related injuries.
What Does The Research Show About Kinesiology Tape?
If you asked Dr. Case, who has built his livelihood on the stuff, I’m sure he’d tell you it works like a charm. However, if you looked at all the studies released in regards to Kinseiolgy Tape, they would tell a different story. You could literally cherry pick the studies that showed benefit if that’s what you wanted to find. However, there’s also a lot of research out there that shows Kinesiology tape has no benefit whatsoever. A review in 2012 in the Sports Medicine Journal compared Kinseiology taping to traditional athletic taping in sports injury prevention. They found that the evidence was inconclusive and showed no real benefit over traditional athletic taping methods when preventing sports injury (4).
And in regards to claims that kinesiology tape can help with strength: one study released included blindfolded participants with kinesiology tape, false kinesiology tape, and no kinesiology tape. During the study the participants were blindfolded and strength levels tested. There was no difference between the knesiology tape. So, it is possible that kinesiology tape can increase strength from just a placebo effect alone (5).
So Does Kinesiology Tape Really Work?
Well, the research is really inconclusive on it. It CAN be an effective tool when combining it with other things like physical therapy and seeing a chiropractor. People do swear by it. I do too – and so do many athletes whether it’s a placebo effect or not. Coming up – my own experience with using kinesiology tape. Stay tuned.
1. N.a. “History and Background.” Kinesio. 2016. Web. 28 May 2016
2. N.a. “What Is Kinesio Tape.” Kinesio. 2016. Web. 28 May 2016.
3. N.a. “What Is The Kinesio Taping Method?” Kinesio. 2016. Web. 28 May 2016.
4. Hume, PA., et al. “Kinesio taping in treatment and prevention of sports injuries: a meta-analysis of the evidence for its effectiveness.” Sports Medicine. 1 February 2012. Web. 25 May 2016.
5. Cheung, RT., et al. “Kinesiology Tape Does Not Facilitate Muscle Performance: A Deceptive Controlled Trial.” Manual Therapy. 20 February 2015. Web. 28 May 2016.