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  • Evolution and Assessment of Elastic Taping- Part 1

    by Guest Blogger | Sep 09, 2016

    ByJohn Balletto, LMT, CKTP®

    From September 8 through September 18, the ACSM Sports Performance Blog isfeaturing a special content series in celebration of the achievements of elite athletes participating in this month’s international competition. Be sure to follow the blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (acsm1954) and share using #ScienceofSport.

    I remember my first introduction to elastic taping.  It was in the early 2000s at a conference of athletic trainers.  I took a three-hour workshop on what then was considered a new and innovative approach to working with athletes—Kinesio Taping®.  The instructor applied various strips of colored tape around muscles, over joints and was touting its benefits.  While I was hearing some anecdotal success stories, I was skeptical but, nonetheless, I bought a couple of roles of tape and when I returned home, I tried it out on some of my amateur and professional athlete clients.  Well, the results and comments were mixed—“it felt good;” “I think it kind of did something, but I’m not sure;” “Whoa, my calves felt awesome.” I really wasn’t convinced there were any benefits from taping.

    During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, I was watching Women’s Beach Volleyball players. One of their shoulders was covered with this colorful tape in some rather interesting and complicated patterns.  The announcer made several comments about it—raising the interest of other athletes, sports therapists and the general public.  I wondered what I was missing. 

    So, along with my newly piqued curiosity came the explosion of Kinesio Tape® and its presence in the world of American athletics. I decided to invest in formal training to really see what this was all about.  Here’s what I learned.

    More than 30 years ago, Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist, worked to lengthen the duration affect of his manual and needling interventions.  His experimenting resulted in the development of an elastic tape with a heat-activated adhesive that had a texture and elasticity closely resembling living, human skin that could safely remain on the body for three to five days.  The outcomes of his tapings facilitated the body’s natural healing processes without restricting the natural movements of the body.  He registered the terms Kinesio Tape® and Kinesio Taping®and began teaching his methods by training health care professionals on its myriad uses and benefits. 

    Today, and despite registered trade branding, the terms Kinesio Tape® and Kinesio Taping® have become common terms in our vocabularies, now referring to many different elastic tapes and taping applications used therapeutically.  Other terminology used includes Kinesiology taping, K-taping, Functional taping, and KT tape, etc.

    Elastic taping applications are used today in a wide range of clinical settings including physicians’ offices, athletic training rooms, rehabilitation clinics, and in the practices of chiropractic, physical therapy, occupational therapy and massage therapy.  It is a safe, non-invasive therapeutic intervention used for all populations—from pediatric to geriatric, from sedentary to athletic—providing pain relief, swelling reduction, improved joint functioning and range of motion, and as some athletes will attest, improved performance.

    John Balletto, LMT, CKTP® is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Kinesio Taping® Practitioner in Pawtucket, RI.

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