Does Kinesio tape work?

The BBC published an interesting feature today, questioning the effects of Kinesio tape.

From the feedback I get, the tape should be seen as an aid rather than a magical cure. It’s especially good to give that little bit of extra support to weak muscles and unstable joints, and it works particularly well on edemas to drain areas of swelling that are common following injury or surgery.

I’ve seen it used successfully as a postural aid, too. But the tape isn’t a corrective method in itself, it’s far too elastic and lightweight to restrict the movement of larger muscles and hold them in place like some of the more old-school taping techniques – but that’s the point of it. Used in postural case studies, it can serve as a helpful ‘reminder’ to make you aware of your posture. If you have tape on your shoulders and neck to pull your shoulders back, for example, you’ll feel the tape stretch every time you hunch forward and lapse into poor posture – making you aware that you need to roll your shoulders back into the ‘correct’ position. In cases like this, the tape is used in conjunction with a strengthening and flexibility programme.

As the feature mentions, I wouldn’t discount the power of placebo in certain cases, either. But placebo or not, anything that helps people get back on their feet after injury is a help rather than a hindrance in my eyes.

K Tape and Rock Tape are also getting into the game alongside Kinesio (“kinesio tape” seems to have become the generic term for this kind of tape, though it’s also a brand name). Designs are getting wackier too – camouflage and an Olympics-inspired British flag are the latest designs I’ve spotted – so I’d chance a guess to say we’ll be seeing these strips of hot pink on athletes for the foreseeable future. Look out for it in the upcoming Olympics – or why not try it out yourself?



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