Kinesiology taping (KT) is used in musculoskeletal practice for preventive and rehabilitative purposes. It is claimed that KT improves blood flow in the microcirculation by creating skin convolutions and that this reduces swelling and facilitates healing of musculoskeletal injuries. There is a paucity of physiological studies evaluating the effect of KT on cutaneous blood microcirculation.
The purpose of this parallel-group controlled laboratory repeated measures design study was to evaluate the effects of KT on cutaneous blood microcirculation in healthy human adults using a dual wavelength (infrared and visible-red) laser Doppler Imaging (LDI) system. KT was compared with rigid taping and no taping controls to isolate the effects associated with the elasticity of KT
Forty-five healthy male and female human adults were allocated to one of the three interventions using constrained randomisation following the pre-intervention measurement: (i) KT (ii) ST (standard taping) (iii) NT (no taping). Cutaneous blood perfusion was measured using LDI in the ventral surface of forearm at pre-intervention, during-intervention and post-intervention in a normothermic environment at resting conditions.
Mixed ANOVA of both infrared and visible-red datasets revealed no statistically significant interaction between Intervention and Time. There was statistically significant main effect for Time but not Intervention.
KT does not increase cutaneous blood microcirculation in healthy human adults under resting physiological conditions in a normothermic environment. On the contrary, evidence suggests that taping, regardless of the elasticity in the tape, is associated with immediate reductions in cutaneous blood flow.