| Sep 12, 2016
By: John Balletto, LMT, CKTP®
From September 8 through September 18, the ACSM Sports Performance Blog is featuring 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.
The literature is inconclusive as to the actual, or statistically significant, benefits and mechanisms of therapeutic taping. While the amount of investigation into the claims and purported benefits and outcomes is steadily increasing, many studies are small in sample size, contain questionable methodology and populations, and yield very conflicting results—both supporting and disclaiming therapeutic benefit. Nonetheless, anecdotal support from both clinicians and patients alike is evident both in its wide-spread use throughout the world, with claims of effective rehabilitation, enhanced functional movements in activities of daily living, athletic performance and even in the prevention of injury.
Interestingly, taping applications provide both a tactile and visible stimulus to the user, reminding them that they are actively working to ameliorate pain or dysfunctional movement patterns. Emotionally, this both acknowledges an individual condition and exhibits active support and participation in a rehabilitation process, and as a reminder to modify behaviors and movement patterns that may exacerbate symptoms. Taping, therefore, may even be operating at more than a physical or physiological basis as well. Clearly, more rigorous study into the mechanisms behind and therapeutic values of elastic taping are needed.
Today, taping is an integral part of my day-to-day practice both in the athletic training room and in my private practice. Results are still a bit mixed, but definitely I’m getting more positive outcomes than not. And most importantly, my clients—professional, collegiate and amateur athletes; those in rehabilitation or recovery from injury or surgery; those in pain, and those who are increasing their daily activity level as part of their commitment to bettering their health through the ACSM’s “Exercise is Medicine” initiative—are repeatedly asking for taping applications because they are effective.
Elastic tapes can be purchased in a variety of venues and are also readily available online. There are countless pictures and videos posted in social media and on websites available to the general public, some even demonstrating self-applications. While this promotes common usage, it is always best to see a health care provider who is trained to make accurate assessment of your situations and health concerns and will select a taping application that will yield the best possible results for you. They will give appropriate instructions and directions for the care of, removal of and possible self-application of your tape.
So, splash on some color. Sport some crazy, tattoo-like patterns of tape. Get noticed at the pool, at the gym, or on your daily walking or running path. Give elastic taping a try. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.
John Balletto, LMT, CKTP® is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Kinesio Taping® Practitioner in Pawtucket, RI.