It seems every time we apply this technique to patients in our clinic we get asked “what is spider tape?” “Does it have any medication on it? How does it work?” These are some of the questions that we have been asked. Here is the simplest explanation I can offer for this interesting tape. Elastic therapeutic taping or kinesio taping made its first prominent appearance on the world stage at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. A good number of athletes were shown wearing the tape and it obviously caught the attention of the public. Kinesio taping has actually been around for quite a long time and it has been somewhat slow to “catch on” due to the wide variety of opinions in the healthcare realm. The results can be as different as each individual themselves and tend to vary from very good to none at all. It depends on the application technique, reasons for use, etc. The tape itself is manufactured by several different companies and comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. We at Pro Motion Rehab use primarily Spider Tape™ to perform either kinesio taping or McConnell Taping to the affected body part with the hope of eliciting a desired result. Uses include muscular, mechanical, muscle fascial, ligament and tendon correcting, functional, and lymphatic.
To give more information on this strange little known technique, kinesio taping is supposed to be based on a very simple principle. It acts to enhance or aide in the body’s natural healing mechanisms. More specifically, it targets the body’s natural receptors and maintains effects on these receptors following treatments in the clinic or athletic training room. The possible effects on the body include increased blood flow to an injured region, increased nutrient absorption, decreased swelling, better control over muscle contractions, decreased pain, and hopefully faster healing.
With help from a heat activated acrylic adhesive, it can be applied to the skin to create a mechanical lifting effect. Because the tape is elastic, it can stretch lengthwise 40-60% past its resting length, which aides in the lifting effect. This tends to open the narrow space between the skin and muscle tissue, thus allowing for the healing effects as listed above.
For the most part, kinesio taping can be very beneficial. However, just like anything else, there are some conditions where this taping method may not be beneficial. These include, but are not limited to, active cellulites, skin infections, open wounds, diabetes, kidney disease, coronary artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, and congestive heart failure. Also, adhesive allergies may create an adverse outcome. So, is kinesio taping for you? It may be. As these methods continue to grow in popularity, and as further research is performed, it quite possibly could be seen in many different settings and for many uses. Only time will tell…….