By Karen Danish, PT, MS, CHT, CKTI
The use of the Kinesio Taping® Method is increasing with professional and collegiate athletes. Professional tennis player Serena Williams, for example, has used it, and the taping technique gained popularity during the 2008 Olympic Games. Nonetheless, the Kinesio Taping Method is used largely on non-athletes to help control pain, decrease edema, facilitate or inhibit muscles and support joints.
This rehabilitative taping method utilizes Kinesio Tex Tape, which was developed by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenso Kase, in the 1970s. The tape may be combined with other treatments and modalities, and its use continues to evolve.
The most obvious objective benefit of the Kinesio Taping Method is that the lightweight cotton elastic tape facilitates superficial lymphatic flow. The increased lymphatic flow helps to decrease edema, reduce hematomas and decreases the pressure on the free nerve endings within the interstitial space. By decreasing this pressure, the patient also experiences an almost immediate decrease in pain level. In fact, the most frequently subjective response to the tape is that of pain relief.
Another benefit of Kinesio Tex Tape is that its elastic properties allow for full range of motion to enhance normal function and aide the body’s return to its homeostatic condition. This helps the body maintain what has been achieved during treatment sessions. The tape’s placement and amount of tension is personalized for each patient, and since the tape can get wet, the patient can wear it for three to five days.
Formal training, including certification, in the Kinesio Taping Method is important in order for clinicians to provide a consistent taping method and achieve the best results for their patients.
Karen Danish, PT, MS, CHT, CKTI, has been a practicing physical therapist for 31 years. She currently practices at CORE PT (a member of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network)  in Bethlehem Township, PA. Karen has been a certified Kinesio Taping practitioner since 1999. She is one of the only certified Kinesio Taping instructors in Pennsylvania and leads Kinesio Taping training for Good Shepherd.