Kinesio Taping the RIGHT Way: Safety and Education
Yesterday I ran a half marathon, my fifth one in fifteen months, and I am noticing a trend among runners that concerns me and I want to address it. I see many runners with self-applied KT tape all over their bodies and I am concerned about the possible risks that people are unknowingly taking when self-applying kinesio tape. I am glad to see the popularity of kinesio taping growing because it’s a great therapy for a broad range of needs. My concern lies in that consumers are not educated on how to apply kinesio tape properly or the important differences in tapes available for purchasing. KT Tape, in particular, is a company that makes a popular, but lesser quality, kinesio taping product and fills the internet with do-it-yourself videos. This could risk the safety of consumers because it misleads them into thinking anyone is capable of correctly applying this special tape for the purpose of physically altering the body’s kinesiology. I often find myself on a routine run and see another active individual with KT Tape slapped on like a Band-Aid, doing absolutely nothing for their muscle and I am dying to run up and explain what has happened and how to fix it.
I have taken advanced courses on kinesio taping and am a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP) through the Kinesio Taping Association International. Applying kinesio tape properly requires detailed knowledge of the human anatomy and kinesiology and an in depth understanding of the science and mechanics of the tape itself and how it works with human tissues. There is specific ways to apply the tape depending on which muscle, muscle group or fascia tissue are either weak or too restrictive of the body’s normal range of motion. Knowing how to decipher which tissue is weak or restrictive is where a CKTP’s skills come into play. It can be too easy to cause more discomfort or muscle imbalance if the wrong muscle or fascia tissue is taped, and even if the right tissue is taped, the right tension, direction and shape of the tape has to be used. If the wrong tension, direction or shape is used you may not be engaging anything at all or worse, you could injure yourself by exercising on wrongly taped tissues.
Dr. Kenzo Kase
Understanding the types of tape products on the market is also important. There are multiple products and brands available, but there is only one kinesio tape brand that correctly aids the body.
The original Kinesio Tape is the only brand that correctly applies itself to the body due to its intelligent design and patenting. There are many copy-cat brands on the market including KT Tape, Rock Tape, SpiderTech, and Performtex just to name a few. KT Tape is the brand I see most often miss used and improperly applied. KT Tape is the most marketed in the US, easy to find in stores and floods YouTube with do-it-yourself videos to follow along for self-application. KT Tape is a copy-cat tape that was designed by an American who was originally one of the right-hand men to Kenzo Kase, DC, the creator of Kinesio Tape. He copied the concepts of Kinesio Tape and marketed it to the US like crazy. The trouble with KT Tape and all the other copy-cat brands is that because Kinesio Tape is patented well and is truly the best in all aspects, so everyone else is a lesser version. They may be well marketed and have flashy patterns, but they lack the true quality that Kinesio Tapehas. There is a major difference in the adhesive ingredients, which effects the strength of stickiness, ability to stay on in water and the safety of providing a hypoallergenic material. There is also extensive R&D that goes into the main material of the tape. Kinesio Tape is 100% cotton and elastic fibers, latex-free, hypoallergenic, and specifically designed to mimic the human skin and allow proper breathing and lymphatic stimulation of the skin. Not to mention countless research has been done to back-up the credibility of Kinesio Tape. Other brands cannot guarantee the same quality of Kinesio Tape. A good comparison is memory foam mattresses. Tempurpedic is the king of memory foam mattresses, and their patents on design and material prevents other companies from recreating the quality a Tempurpedic offers. So you may find other brands that look and feel similar for a much lower price, but they wear out more quickly or don’t support as well (1). The original Kinesio Tape has been around since 1984 and has been used by countless Olympic and professional athletes. Check out this article on the growing popularity of Kinesio Tape among Olympic athletes.
Examples of what kinesio taping should NOT look like:
Correct Achilles/Soleus Application:
Kinesio Taping is not just for athletes, although it is seen more commonly in active populations. In fat, 85% of the Kinesio Tape applications are for non-athlete application and use. It works well for injuries, scar tissue, chronic issues like carpal tunnel and tennis elbow, and even structural corrections for imbalances caused by Cerebral Palsy. Finding a CKPT near you is essential for assuring proper application and safety. For more information on Kinesio Taping visit http://www.kinesiotaping.com.
*NOTE It is my professional opinion that kinesio taping is a great application for temporary correction, which helps relieve symptoms, but to fully address the root cause of the imbalance massage therapy, chiropractic and sometimes medical attention from quality professionals is the proper therapy of choice.
If you have questions about kinesio taping or are in the San Diego area and would like Kinesio Taping, you may contact me and I would be happy to assist you!