Beginner's Guide: Kinesiology Taping for Massage Therapists

May 27, 2019
Ryan Barichello

With current research advocating for active recovery programs, massage therapists are looking for new modalities to help reenforce treatment strategies outside of the clinical space.

Kinesiology taping may be that modality.

Kinesiology tape was developed in Japan in the mid 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, and made its first mainstream appearance in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Since then, it has increased in popularity in a number of athletic environments

This type of taping is a definitive rehabilitative technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process.

Pieces of soft, stretchy tape are applied to the skin in specific patterns following the path of an affected muscle or nerve. The tape is placed to activate the body’s neurological, soft tissue, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. It provides support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting.

For massage therapists practising lymphatic drainage, specifically, kinesiology tape may be an excellent adjunct to manual therapy, and may offer additional modality where patients are unable to tolerate, or were unsuccessful with, compression-based therapies.

When kinesiology tape is applied to an inflamed or swollen area, the lifting motion of the tape creates a space between the top layer of skin and the underlying tissues. This space creates a pressure gradient between this area and the surrounding tissues that allows fluids to move into the lymphatic vessels and be eliminated from the body.

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