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Recently, kinesiology tape has become popular, especially in CrossFit. I have also noted its' use in the NFL, and I want to say Tennis as well.

What beneficial effects does this tape offer our bodies (muscles, joints)? Is there any definitive proof of its' benefits? Can there be negative effects? I don't foresee any, but if it does something to your body, I could see a possibility of prolonged use causing some kind of alternate effects.

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This is in the discussion for quite a while. I have found no scientific studies which back the claims of kinesio tape. A review article (from which the quote below is taken) found no clinically important results which support the claims of the tape. The results about range-of-motion were inconsistant and it is not clear if the changes found were beneficial or not. They state:

KT had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was unclear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful. In conclusion, there was little quality evidence to support the use of KT over other types of elastic taping in the management or prevention of sports injuries. KT may have a small beneficial role in improving strength, range of motion in certain injured cohorts and force sense error compared with other tapes, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

The study can be found here (links to the PDF):

Other (also critical) studies are these:

The problem with these studies is that they are obviously not rigorous enough to make clear statements if KT is beneficial or not. Or (and this is also very possible) that the effect which is claimed to be there does not exist. Besides this, a placebo effect exists very well, since there is an intervention and also something present on the athlete.

There is now a new study avalaible which is blinded and placebo-controlled. This study finds no benefits for Kinesio Tape above a placebo. The study can be found here, there is also a summary available here.

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  • $\begingroup$ In response to your answer, I have added one more piece to my question. Please see my edit. Your citation confuses me a little bit, and perhaps my confusion isn't directed towards you, but towards authors of that piece. How is it unclear if changes were beneficial or harmful? $\endgroup$
    – OverMind
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ @OverMind I have expanded my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ This may be opinionated - but do you think more quality tests will come in the near future? I am wondering if its' placebo effect has instilled itself into athletes because it's "new" and some big-named athletes have worn it in public. I would love to see some truly definitive evidence of its' effects and not same half-ass claim that "it can provide benefits and has been related to alleviating swelling.." blah blah. $\endgroup$
    – OverMind
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure. Personally I am sceptical, since effects should clearly show up in a properly done study. I haven't looked up all the studies in the reviews but a few and these looked ok. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a skeptic as well, and agree 100% with your gut feeling. Thanks for answering. $\endgroup$
    – OverMind
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:52

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