Taping techniques are increasingly performed after trigger point therapy sessions to “unload” the treated muscle
The use of taping has become increasingly prolific as an adjunct to manual therapy, and trigger point therapy offers a number of excellent opportunities to exploit the benefits of taping.
Like so many manual therapy techniques, there is simply too little research to make a strong case one way or another for the benefits of taping. However, most therapists who use taping (including ourselves) will tell you that it is often extremely effective as a method of providing support to weakened muscles whilst providing full range of motion for the client.
The Journal of Sports Medicine (Feb 2013) reviewed the evidence from 10 research papers about the effectiveness of kinesio tape in preventing sports injuries:
No clinically important results were found to support the tape’s use for pain relief.
There were inconsistent range-of-motion results.
Seven outcomes relating to strength were beneficial.
The tape had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was not clear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful.
The review concluded that there was little quality evidence to support the use of kinesio tape over other types of elastic taping to manage or prevent sports injuries.
In summary, taping where it is used by therapists to provide support for weakened muscles (usually between treatments) is generally useful and effective. It is unlikely however to provide any form of therapy in itself. I should add here that there is some evidence to support the use of tape in aiding the reduction of pain (Thelen et al. 2008).
The following illustrations show a typical taping technique for the deltoid muscle. This is commonly used between treatments to reduce load on the muscle whilst still allowing the client a full range of movement.
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