KINESIOLOGY TAPING (KT)
WHAT IS KINESIO TAPING?
Everyone remembers a few years back - 2008 to be exact - when this weird sticky tape took the summer olympics by storm. From volleyball to gymnastics to swimming it seemed athletes from all over the world sprouted plumage in all sorts of colors, that announcers noted was helping them reduce pain, improve circulation, and optimize performance.
As with many things, they may have been overselling a bit, but Wes had been usually KT taping as far back as his graduate work in 2003, when it was still being shipped straight from Japan. He developed a thoughtful clinical reasoning approach to taping, which oddly seemed to use about HALF the tape in the instruction manuals.
And he and the whole team now use this sticky, hypoallergenic cloth tape to help improve motion, reduce pain, enhance balance and proprioception for everyone from elite athletes to those just trying to get off the couch without pain.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM KINESIO TAPING?
Kinesiotaping can be a helpful adjunct for anyone who has issues with painful or weak movements. When expertly applied, it can help guide your movements, unload painful areas, or increase muscle endurance / strength so you can remain active when pain or instability is keeping you out of the game.
Muscle strains throughout the body
Wrist / finger sprains
Shoulder impingement / pain
Sacroiliac (SI) Joint pain
HOW DOES KINESIO TAPING WORK?
KT taping seems particularly controversial in the sports medicine world, and rightfully so. Some clinicians attribute magical properties to the technique (though sometimes it appears magical to the right client!), while others dismiss it out-of-hand as voo-doo and ridiculous.
The answer is somewhere in the middle.
There are “specific effects” and non-specific effects. Specifically, KT taping can help gently unload areas, improve your sense of where the body is in space, give an altered sense of input and you can change up your usual or inconsistent pattern. In many cases, this comes with improved strength, mobility, or pain.
The non-specific effects come with the feeling that bracing or taping makes the area feel better or supported. And you know what? If you FEEL your body has the okay to move more and it feels safer, YOU WILL MOVE BETTER!
Some people call this the “placebo effect” and think it’s a bad thing. That is WRONG thinking. If you ever had a boo-boo kissed by a loving adult, then guess what…..That’s the placebo effect! It reinforces that you’re okay, your body can take care of itself, and you can go back to chasing bubbles or your siblings without your brain having to keep constant vigilance. However, you should also call it what it is - non-specific effects. There are lots of things we do for ourselves to “feel well” that don’t always make perfect scientific sense, but works for us. As long as they don’t HARM you or others around you, it’s probably okay to use those things as long as you don’t use non-specific treatments to address BIG medical issues. You wouldn’t use a fly-swatter to stop an elephant would you?