September 20, 2012

Wrapping Up a Massage with Tape

Lots of athletes showed up with their sticky strips showing at the London Olympics this year, giving the wide world of kinesio-tape a swift punch in the deltoid.
I do occasionally use the tape I dealing with massage clients, generally to encourage sluggish lymph, although I find it also helps with muscles that keep slipping back into spastic patterns. More sports stores are carrying the tape, making it readily available to all of us weakened warriors.
Neat stuff, really, although I warn other therapists to clearly think through their tapings to make sure they are following lymphatic vessels and major muscle groups. I have seen about 30 U-Tube versions of taping, some of them I swear seemed to be taping backwards or across lymph channels. The goal for these tapes may be more to create an awareness of synergy and balances in troubled muscle groups rather than enhance drainage. Or they are just wrong.

Also fun in the kinesio world, no one is really sure how it works. Lots of people are doing lots of studies, and thus far the best clues say that the tape pulls skin up and away from lymphatic vessels. That drains more lymph fluid than usual - as long as the person is moving the area actively by themselves or passively with the help of a therapist.

We therapists, of course, are at risk for some lymph related problems as we are often on our feet, moving but not doing full steps or cardio. A little tape up the calves or on the lumbar/QL works wonders for me. I have also used the hand stretch tape at night to improve drainage of the hand at the carpal area.

It would be nice to know how or why tape seems to help with muscle spasticity. Surely some silly hamstring or soleus should by oblivious to a strip of kinesio-tape. Yet there it is. Preventing spasms and cramps. Hmmm. It would be nice to know those answers….

1 comment:

Rick James said...

My wife was studying massage therapy and she loved it!