Before I started PT school, I shadowed a PT who was a proponent of kinesio taping. This has been an ongoing trend and made its first big appearance during the 2008 Summer Olympics. After that, it has stuck around and is mainly used in Crossfit and PT settings.
I took my class in Somerville, MA and the class went from 8 AM to 5 PM. The class consisted of taping history, a general anatomy and physiology background, and the taping concepts for different situations. The first two hours were lecture and the rest of the day was hands on lab work. I really appreciated this since I learned more with hands on training compared to lecturing. Most of my class were PTs with a handful of massage therapists, a nurse practitioner, another personal trainer, and an athletic trainer.
The class began with a general anatomy and physiology of the skin and how kinesio tape affected it. There was some neuro anatomy that I had just learned about last semester that brought everything back together into clinical applications. The instructor described it in scientific terms as well as patient friendly terms. Then, she proceeded to educate us on the company and how the tape worked.
At first, I was skeptical because of a systematic review in 2014 that stated that kinesio taping was not effective. However, as a DPT herself, she addressed the evidence. Her presentation provided evidence from 2015 confirming what the taping was effective at and also provided evidence about which application techniques were not effective. I really appreciated this and the list of research articles were also provided for us to review.
During the lab portion, were were given the contraindications and precautions when using kinesio tape. The lab covered taping for pain which consisted of stretching the patient and not the tape. Edema and swelling was addressed with the fan technique. Posture taping was pretty self explanatory but is the easiest to over correct. Nerve entrapment seemed a little confusing for me because of the glides that can be used while applying the tape. Scars may also benefit from taping early on in order to properly align the tissues and reduce adhesions. I would highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the fascia lines as this is mentioned quite often during the application of the tape.
Overall, this was a great experience and I was able to learn from different specialties. Is there evidence stating that it is not useful? Yes, dependent on the way it was applied. Can it be helpful? Yes; Again, it is dependent on the way it is applied. Is it a cure all for all patients? No; Every patient is different and needs an individualized treatment plan that consists of different interventions.
I would recommend people who are skeptical to at least try the class out. I was a skeptic at first because I was unsure about how it works. However, after taking the class, I would definitely consider using this over ultrasound which I have heard doesn’t do jack squat. The class was definitely more suited for PTs since the instructor was a PT herself and it was helpful to have a year of PT school under my belt before going.