Western New York’s Occupational Therapy Resource
Kinesiology Tape | Alternative Pain Management
Buffalo Occupational Therapy
Alternative Pain Management | Buffalo NY | Buffalo OT
Michelle Eliason, MS, OTR/L, C.D.S, CKTS
What is the history of kinesiology tape?
In 1973, Dr Kenzo Kase (chiropractor) determined himself to design a product that would allow his clients to continue feeling the benefits of his treatments long after they walked out of his clinic. Research along with trial and error led Kase to tape. Kase combined kinesiology (the study of movement) and a specially designed, heat-activated tape to “create a therapeutic tape and taping technique which could support joints and muscles, without restricting range of motion”. (1) Because of its unique qualities, kinesiology tape can lift the skin. With the understanding that one’s skin makes up greater than or equal to 16% of his/her body (7), Kase believed it was a most basic and fundamental concept that skin should be used to assist in the healing process. By lifting the pressure off of the critical interstitial space in a person’s skin, kinesiology tape helps and supports the body in homeostasis. The Kinesio Taping® technique made its debut in Europe, spread through Asia, and finally into the United States during the mid-90s. (2) In 2008, the colorful phenomenon of KinesioTape became a major talking point after the Kinesio™ Association donated over 5000 rolls of tape to the Olympic village (2) and it has been present in the physio and rehab community ever since.
What are the benefits of kinesiology tape?
There are many benefits to using Kinesiology Tape. Because this tape was specifically designed to provide its benefits without impeding movement, Kinesiology tape provides muscle support and comforting tactile input without requiring restrictive taping and/or use of a splint/immobilizer (8). Another benefit of kinesiology tape is reduced swelling and bruising (6). With accurate application, kinesiology tape lifts the skin creates a sub-dermal vacuum which means it enlarges the interstitial space allowing increased circulation and greater efficiency throughout one’s lymphatic system. Some of the other benefits of kinesiology taping include, but are not limited to: decreased pain, relief from muscle spasms, and decreased recovery time after muscle injury.
Why do occupational therapists use kinesiology tape?
Occupational therapists are among many disciples that can use kinesiology tape as an alternative pain management modality. Pain associated with orthopedic trauma, joint pain, stress/trigger points, and generalized chronic ailments such as plantar fasciitis and bunions can cause critical restrictions to every day meaningful activities (occupations). Occupational therapists can use modalities such as paraffin wax, ultrasound, e-stim, kinesiology tape, hot/cold compress, etc. to decrease pain and increase functional participation in every day activities.
Michelle Eliason, MS, OTR/L, C.D.S, CKTS is both an occupational therapist and CARES Dementia Specialist. She has been an elder care professional for 7+ years. Working in various aspects of the elder care industry has given her a generalist skill set and a broad knowledge base of elder care approaches and resources. Michelle is passionate about influencing the elder care industry advocating against nursing home negligence and elder abuse, and working with older adults to enable them to live in their own homes throughout the aging process.