To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expert Advice,” in the September 2011 issue. Article summary: Touch for Health kinesiology was the vision of John Thie, D.C., in the early 1970s. He wrote the first Touch for Health kinesiology manual and began teaching classes that today are offered in more than 90 countries. His dream was that this simple, low-cost, high-touch system would find its way into every household, to give people skills to be proactive with their health care.

by Renee Romero, R.N., L.M.T., CLT-LANA

Elastic taping is now a hot topic, as massage therapists look for ways to help clients stay out of pain, reduce inflammation and complement the effects of manual therapy so results last longer.

What are the characteristics of an elastic tape that can produce these effects? There are many tapes on the market, with many different uses. As therapists, we need to decide why we are taping and the effects we want to achieve. For sports injuries, a fixation taping will stabilize a joint and acts as a strengthener of the joint. The tape itself is a sturdy cloth bandage with a rubber-based adhesive backing. The tape permits movement without loosening but still allows the skin to breathe.

Other elastic tapes as kinesiology taping have a wave pattern or twin groove pattern on a latex-free adhesive backing. The purpose of these patterns is to lift the skin and facilitate movement of the underlying fascia. These tapes are made of a lightweight, fabric material with the adhesive backing protected by paper. When the paper is removed, the material stretches, thereby energizing the wave pattern as it is placed on the client.

The bright-colored tape can be cut into patterns to facilitate or inhibit muscle groups. Another cut, which resembles the hand and fingers, are used for lymphatic taping to reduce swelling. The different cuts of tape can be used in combination to address the needs of the client for pain reduction, edema or mobilization. The tape works well over scars to soften scar tissue and free adhesions.

To ensure the tape adheres for the three to five days, make sure the skin is free of oil or perspiration. After applying the tape, rub briskly to activate the adhesive backing.

It takes a bit of practice to get the best effect, but the results are amazing. There are several brands on the market and it is worth trying some to see which may work best for your client.

Renee Romero is a registered nurse and licensed massage therapist in the state of Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in education. She is also a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.  She is director of the Lymphedema Institute of America Inc. and consultant for Bandages Plus Inc. For more information, visit .