Kinesio Tape TRAINING

What The Heck Is Kinesio Tape – And Does It Work?

Kinesio Tape

If you’ve been watching the London Olympics, you’ve doubtless seen countless athletes wearing different color strips of tape on various parts of their body. What they’re wearing is called Kinesio Tape and it’s supposed to help heal injuries.

But besides looking kind of cool, does Kinesio tape actually do anything?

Let’s start at the beginning. Believe it or not this tape has been around since 1979, when Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist Kenzo Kase developed it. Apparently he believed standard athletic taping methods were too restrictive and could cause injuries because they inhibited the flow of inflammatory fluids beneath the skin. His rationale was that a flexible tape applied to the skin covering injured muscles would stimulate circulation through its tug on the skin and start clearing out the damage. Hmmm…I’m not so sure I’m a believer.

This is an area I have personal experience in actually. About 2 years ago a strained my calf muscle and a chiropractor that I knew suggested I give the pretty blue tape a try. Well fifty bucks later I had some funky tape on the back of my calf down to my ankle and I must say it looked pretty cool and was a catalyst for conversation. But other than that I felt nothing… nada. With the exception of a slight pull on my skin I didn’t notice any support or speed of healing. I had strained the same calf prior so I’m aware of how long it takes to heal. So in my typical Angry way I just chalked it up as another fitness gimmick.

And it turns out I’m not alone with how I feel about the wonder tape. A quick Google search shows that there really is no conclusive proof, scientific evidence or long term studies done to support the claims of what basically amounts to putting sticky cloth on your body. Sure there are placebo effects and wearing the tape may be a reminder to not overstretch or reach, but I’m not a believer that it helps with actual healing – I just can’t see how it could. I know the inventor claims it stimulates healing and “clears damage” (whatever that means?) but I think that’s a huge stretch (pun intended). And like neoprene knee and shoulder braces, I don’t think it can give much in the way of support for joints either. The human body is far too strong to have a big band aid support it. That’s just my way of thinking.

Still some athletes swear by it and many athletic insiders admit that there’s a bit of peer pressure to wear the tape. The fact is that wearing the tape can’t hurt, so I guess if there’s even a remote chance that it may help even a little bit, then why not? It comes in neon pink, blue, yellow, black and all sorts of colors so at least you can be fashionable!

Okay that’s my take – but what do you think? Have you tried Kinesio tape? Did it work for you? Share away…

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14 comments on “What The Heck Is Kinesio Tape – And Does It Work?

  1. I used this tape when I used to get shin splints when running. I couldn’t run far before I was in agony but when I used the tape I could run as normal. It was great! But I didn’t want to be reliant on it as it’s so expensive. I no longer need the tape since I worked on building strength in my ankles and knees. I’m not sure about it’s healing capabilities but it definitely helped to numb the pain of shin splints.

  2. Hey there, as far as I understand, the usual ‘brown’ strapping tape is used for support of joints, and at times allowing muscles to heal in an injury by letting the tape take the load of the muscle. The kinesio tape, or ‘rock tape’ works on a whole different level/different concept, and is more in aid of lifting the fascia layer away from the muscles to aid in improving blood flow to the muscles. As a massage therapist, I often see the lack of ROM in muscles due to the fact that the fascia has become glued to the muscles.
    So does it work? Well, it looks pretty, and possibly it has some minimal improvement to the injury, but I think it works best as a small part of the injury process. And hey, if we tell ourselves it works, then it probably will! 😀

  3. I used some of this tape because I was told it would greatly help my shin splints. Lo and behold, it did nothing. I ran lighter and less distances with the tape, and the shin splints still came.

  4. Taping your shins up and taping your muscle up are a bit different I think- at least the process I am familiar with really. My shins in college during soccer were practically unbearable- I could hardly walk much less run… taping allowed me to play- but we used easily a half roll doing the standard X tape across the front of both my shins- it wasn’t all the way around up and down the shin- but it was definitely more than just “following the muscle as it were” and we did it every day for almost two full seasons- there was no healing- it was only enabling to play without pain (great plan I know LOL)

    this stuff is on the muscle following the line and not AROUND so much TO anything. I have no experience with it- but I am distinctly under the impression it’s a significantly different thing than taping shins…but given how messed up my shoulder and back are- maybe I should go try it out LOL

  5. I got to try this out via my physical therapists. they wrapped it around my left foot and ankle to recreate how the tendons used to function. to kinda get my brain to remember “this is how it felt when it wasn’t a floppy mess.”

    sometimes i felt different, some days i didn’t. but i also had this whole mantra that i refused to let myself rely on anything to get better. i refused to rely on a cane or orthotics (i have them if i need them, but i’m not falling back on them)

    so maybe i didn’t really utilize the full advantage. and it sure was a conversation starter (is that a tattoo?) hah.

    but i think it was meant to help wake up the recently transfered tendons. it’s amazing how quick you lose everything and how long it takes to get your brain to retrain.

  6. Morning AT!

    According to many Physical Therapists I’ve worked with over the last 15 years, K-Tape can be used in 3 main ways. 1) To inhibit specific muscles from working. 2) To help a muscle work by inhibiting another one around it. 3) To help flush any edema in the area.

    I’m only a trainer so I’m going with what I’ve learned from the PTs and heard from patients. I think like most things, it works if you have it administered in the correct way and if you believe in it.

    As always, THANK YOU for your AT viewpoint :)

  7. Brenda

    I was suffering from carpal tunnel, piriformis syndrome, and tears of all the tendons around my ankle. A friend told me about KT tape for his shoulder. It was recommended that I try it. The tspe completely took away my carpal tunnel pain. It supported and reduced the swelling in my ankle, and significantly reduced my piriformis pain. When I thought it wasn’t doing much I took it off. In about 20 min, my carpal tunnel was bugging me again. I would say it works for me.

  8. Elise

    I have had a rotator cuff injury that has been a re occurring problem especially with lifting. Taping my shoulder not 9 Ly gives me more stability but has done wonders for swelling and bruising.

  9. Kas

    I have used this stuff and it really works for me, absolutely amazing. I was always straining/tearing my calf and hamstring muscles but ever since I applied this, I have never felt anything.I don’t play football without it now.

    Remember, if it doesn’t work, maybe you haven’t applied it properly.

    I have no idea how it works but it does for me and I love it. I use Pinotape, it’s a German brand but it’s brilliant. I tried KT tape but it kept falling off.

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