By: Melissa Coon
Barb Lewis is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist who specializes in upper extremity and wound injuries. She is also a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner. In honor of Pain Awareness Month this September, Barb shares her expertise on Kinesio Taping and explains how it benefits patients.
1. What is Kinesio Taping?
Kinesio Taping is a rehabilitative technique designed by Kenzo Kase to help people with muscular and swelling issues. It provides support and stability for the joints and muscles without affecting circulation or range of motion.
2. What common diagnoses do you treat with Kinesio Taping?
It can be used to treat anything from headache to foot problems. In the outpatient therapy setting, we use it in conjunction with other forms of treatment to decrease swelling, inhibit/facilitate tight muscles and assist with proprioception or muscle correction.
3. How long does the tape last?
It can be worn up to 5-7 days, even through bathing or physical activity, depending on how well it adheres to the patient’s body.
4. Does the tape work for everyone?
Unfortunately, the tape doesn’t always work for everyone. Occasionally patients have sensitive skin. For those people, we may apply a 24 hour sample swatch on their skin to determine tolerance.
5. How is it applied?
Kinesio Tape is applied differently based on the patient’s needs. In general, the tape is cut to a specific length then an anchored portion (the initial placement of tape) is applied. Tension may or may not be applied given the results the therapist is wishing to yield. The therapist may position the joints initially and dynamically when application is being performed.
6. How does it benefit the patient?
Kinesio Taping helps reduce pain and increase the patient’s range of motion and mobility. It’s best used in conjunction with other treatments to optimize function and mobility.
Kinesio Tape can also be used on its own to facilitate or inhibit a muscle if a patient is experiencing particular tightness/soreness in a certain area of the body.
7. Can patients apply Kinesio Tape on their own?
Patients can apply the tape on their own once they have been shown how to do so by a certified practitioner. I apply the tape to my patients during their visits and also teach them a simple application method so they can do it at home.
8. What type of training do you need in order to apply Kinesio Tape professionally?
To become a Certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner (CKTP), qualified candidates must attend three days of practical training and complete a 200 question exam.
I completed my certification through the Kinesio Taping Association International. We partnered up and did various taping techniques on one another during our first two days of training. Then, we met up again a month later to ask questions and report back on how the tape worked for us. In a nutshell, the training was very hands-on and provided a lot of instructor supervision.
9. Are there any safety precautions related to using Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio Tape is water resistant, but it is not waterproof. You should not use a hair dryer or dry out the tape if it’s wet because that will cause the adhesive to stick stronger and may result in blistering.