I did a google search for therapeutic taping and Kinesio taping and found article titles such as Therapeutic Taping:Help or Hype and research that is "inconclusive." Many talk about the "placebo" effect of taping and I say let's embrace anything that is going to allow our bodies to heal that will do no harm and have no risk or invasive intervention. I can only speak to my recent experience after therapeutic taping with Dr. Ryan Means of Elevate Health Cambridge for your consideration and review.
Before I share my anecdotal response to the taping, here is information on the origins and science behind taping from History of Kinesio Tape:
In 1973, Dr. Kenzo Kase began the initial concepts for the Kinesio Taping® Method. Dr. Kase, an American trained Japanese chiropractor, introduced a completely original treatment technique that was not orthopedic per se, although it had vast orthopedic applications. He advanced a revolutionary concept and modality of treatment based on a non-reductionist concept of how the human body worked. Dr. Kase was not interested in addressing parts and pieces of the human organism and healing the individual tissue. His idea was to use tape as a second skin to influence the sensory motor loop between the skin and the brain, creating vaso-motor, neuro-muscular and neuro-fascial changes to bring stressed tissues throughout the body back to homeostasis. The body would then heal itself. In very simple terms, by re-positioning the skin over an injured tissue, sensory feedback is transmitted to the brain, which adapts and changes all the tissues in response. By 1979, Dr. Kase completed and officially founded the Kinesio Taping Method and began authoring his first book and development of Kinesio® Tex Tape (widely known as “Kinesio® Tape” with exact specifications for the method) from 1979-1981.
The underlying theory that led Dr. Kase to invent the tape more than 30 years ago was based in his profound understanding of how the human body works. Each physiological system is dependent on every other system to function and remain healthy. Dr. Kase recognized that the skin and brain communicate constantly to regulate the body's responses to its internal and external environment. The skin and brain are connected not only by the nervous system, but also the fascial system, which communicates information from tissue structure to tissue structure at much greater speeds than the nervous system. Therefore, Dr. Kase reasoned that it was possible, by introducing specific and targeted proprioceptive and neural input through the skin, to affect physiological systems to change motor output, affect circulation, create or direct facial movement, and modulate pain. If one physiologic system could be affected, the other systems would adjust in response. As a practicing chiropractor, he saw how he could affect physiological systems with his hands. He designed the tape to be an extension of his manual treatment and continue the work at home that he started with his patients in the clinic.
In addition to taping my knee, Dr. Ryan used the Graston Technique to help release restrictions in my foot that was torquing my knee. It may very well be the combination of interventions along with my powerful intention to heal that resulted in a positive outcome for my experience with taping.
There was the psychological factor of feeling like a runner again; like the compelling athlete that I am in ministering to the injured area with an intervention that athletes, including Olympians use to help them with recovery and performance.
Walking up and down stairs was noticeably easier and pain free. I gave my knee an intense workout in Aquatics Therapy (and yes the tape that Dr. Ryan used went through two Aquatics Therapy sessions) and was able to engage more muscles and access more energy because I was not focused on experiencing knee pain and trying to avoid knee pain. It was very exciting to engage my hip flexors and my left foot while aqua jogging being able to experience energy flowing through my left leg.
It's also important to note that before I saw Dr. Ryan, in my previous week's treatment with Joseph, my massage therapist at Sollievo, that Joseph placed a fulcrum on my left rib during Zero Balancing. I felt a gush of energy flow with that intervention.
I took the tape off Wednesday evening after 3 full days of wearing it. It can be left on for 3-5 days and since I had a massage treatment on Thursday, I took it off. I can feel that there is a shift happening away from anticipating the knee pain and trying to protect my knee to engaging more muscles and accessing more energy. I am mindful of landing light harnessing the core (the dividends of planking almost every day and doing sit ups and crunches) and organizing myself as a non-injured person. This complements the work I do with Joseph as I leave the stories of my past behind and explore what I can do to shift away from habits that were a result of past experiences placing me at risk for injury.
I am delighted and excited that I have added Dr. Ryan to my team of holistic health providers. Therapeutic taping along with other interventions Dr. Ryan has to offer plus a home rehab program we began to talk about at my first visit is just what I need to get myself back on the roads healthy and happy.
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