Kinesiology Tape Does Not Facilitate Muscle Performance

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Manual Therapy 20 (2015) 130e133

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Original article

Kinesiology tape does not facilitate muscle performance: A deceptive controlled trial
K.Y. Poon a, S.M. Li a, M.G. Roper a, M.K.M. Wong a, O. Wong b, R.T.H. Cheung a, * a b

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
Physiotherapy Department, United Christian Hospital, Kowloon East Cluster, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong, China

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 21 May 2014
Received in revised form
15 July 2014
Accepted 22 July 2014

Kinesiology tape (KinTape) is a therapeutic tape without much understanding of its mechanism. KinTape claims to increase cutaneous stimulation, which facilitates motor unit firing, and consequently improves functional performance; however these, benefits could be due to placebo effects. This study investigated the true effects of KinTape by a deceptive, randomized, and controlled trial. Thirty healthy participants performed isokinetic testing of three taping conditions: true facilitative KinTape, sham KinTape, and no
KinTape. The participants were blindfolded during the evaluation. Under the pretense of applying adhesive muscle sensors, KinTape was applied to their quadriceps in the first two conditions. Normalized peak torque, normalized total work, and time to peak torque were measured at two angular speeds (60 /s and 180 /s) and analyzed with one-way repeated measures ANOVA. Participants were successfully deceived and they were ignorant about KinTape. No significant differences were found between normalized peak torque, normalized total work, and time to peak torque at 60 /s or 180 /s (p ¼ 0.31 e0.99) between three taping conditions. The results showed that KinTape did not facilitate muscle performance in generating higher peak torque, yielding a greater total work, or inducing an earlier onset of peak torque. These findings suggest that previously reported muscle facilitatory effects using KinTape may be attributed to placebo effects.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


1. Introduction
Kinesiology tape (KinTape) is a well-recognized adhesive therapeutic tape which has been widely used for injury prevention, rehabilitation, and even performance enhancement. It appears to be clinically effective in controlling pain (Thelen et al., 2008;
alez-Iglesias et al., 2009; García-Muro et al., 2010;
ndez et al., 2012), promotKalichman et al., 2010; Saavedra-Herna ing range of movement (Jaraczewska and Long, 2006; Yoshida and
Kahanov, 2007; Kalichman et al., 2010; Williams et al., 2012), increasing muscle activity (Thelen et al., 2008; Briem et al., 2011;
Wong et al., 2012), inducing an earlier occurrence of muscle peak torque (Wong et al., 2012; Fratocchi et al., 2013), and functional performance enhancement (Jaraczewska and Long, 2006;
Yasukawa et al., 2006; Chang et al., 2010). However, the positive results can be due to the absence of adequate blinding and placebo controls. More importantly, the working mechanism of KinTape

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ852 2766 6739.
E-mail address: (R.T.H. Cheung). 1356-689X/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

remains unclear. It has been speculated that the muscle facilitatory effects of KinTape may be due to the interplay between cutaneous afferent stimulation and motor unit firing in both central and peripheral nervous systems. An increase of peripheral nerve stimulation was shown to promote excitability of the motor cortex
(Ridding et al., 2000). Reduction of motor neuron threshold may be induced by cutaneous stimulation, resulting in easier recruitment of the motor units (Maratou and Theophilidis, 2000), and in turn, leading to an improved functional performance.
Such speculation can only be