Kinesiology – Does the Tape Really Work?
Ok, before I get into this let me be upfront about my sources…the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons). If you’re not already aware, there is much skepticism from Orthopedists when it comes to the value of Applied Kinesiology. It’s probably held with the same contempt they have for strip mall chiropractors running Tuesday $19.99 specials on acupuncture…their not fans.
So let me get the homework portion of this post out of the way. Simply defined, kinesiology is the study of motion and muscle function. The issue isn’t with the science of kinesiology, but the practice of applied kinesiology which claims to diagnose illness or choose treatment by testing muscle for strength and weakness. I had no idea what kinesiology was until the 2012 Summer Olympics when I saw Kinesio Tape being used by athletes. It is the invention of Dr. Kenso Kase, a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist. Information about Kinesio tape can be found all over the web. You can find it in different colors, sizes, materials and with a variety of claims. Seems there are categories of therapeutic effects associated with the tape: psychological, neurocircular, structural, and neurosensory. These are subjective categories from SpiderTech (http://www.spidertech.com/video-how-it-works/), a Kinesiology tape company.
More objective research leads to much skepticism and shows the most effective use is perhaps a placebo effect to help improve rehabilitation from athletic muscle injury. S.Terry Canale, M.D. gives three conclusions in his research AAOS Now column on Kinesiology taping: 40-60% of users benefit, probably works best as a placebo; taping works best in the shoulder, forearm, and quadriceps as an addition to PT rehabilitation; and more definitive researcy needs to be done to see if any objective evidence supports its use.
I’m very interested in knowing your opinion on Kinesio tape. Do you use it…if so, did it help? Do you use it personally…professionally for your clients? Would be great to get your comments!
Ludtke R, Kunz B, Seeber N, Ring J (2001). “Test-retest-reliability and validity of the Kinesiology muscle test.” Complement Ther Med 9(3):141-5.
S.Terry Canale, M.D. (November 2012). Kinesiology Tape My Foot…or Shoulder…or Head. AAOS Now, 5.