Even as the 2012 London Olympic Games drew to a close earlier this week, many viewers questioned the colorful tape applied to Olympic athletes in soccer, swimming and volleyball. Andrea Wolkenberg, director of Physical Therapy at Spine Options in White Plains, NY, and a Certified Kinesio Taping Instructor since 2001, offered her proven insight into this decades-old, non-invasive physical therapy treatment during an August 7 segment on CBS This Morning.
According to Wolkenberg, Kinesio Taping is not only for elite athletes. It is a time-tested treatment applied to average people with commonplace injuries. However, only licensed health care practitioners can become certified in the Kinesio Taping Method because proper application requires a working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and the body's natural healing process.
The Kinesio Tape, which is widely used in rehab centers and skilled nursing facilities throughout Westchester, is made of cotton fibers wrapped around an elastic polymer. It was invented in 1979 by Dr. Kenzo Kase, an American-educated Japanese chiropractor, and was quickly embraced by the general population because it reduces pain and promotes healing in patients regardless of age or fitness level.
When applied properly, Kinesio Tape causes a positional change in the skin. As the skin is lifted, superficial lymphatic channels are opened allowing for more efficient circulation to the area. Congested fluid which causes edema (swelling) is also cleared away taking with it pain-inducing lactic acid and other waste products. In addition, repositioning the skin also helps manipulate muscle tone.
"Like any other modality, if applied improperly, Kinesio Tape can have ill effects,” Wolkenberg cautions. “While technically anyone can put a piece of Kinesio Tape on your body, only someone trained in the Kinesio Taping Method will know the right way to cut the tape, how much tension to put in it and what direction to lay it down in for your particular problem.”
Through the Spine Options practice, Wolkenberg has offered patients a medically supervised alternative to back surgery since 2004. Fewer than five percent of people truly require surgery to alleviate back and neck pain. The Spine Options plan can include comprehensive medical treatment, physical therapy and an array of holistic methods. Wolkenberg and her physical therapy team strive not only to relieve their patients’ pain in the short term, but to give them skills and strategies to maintain the gains they make while in treatment.
ABOUT ANDREA WOLKENBERG
Andrea Wolkenberg, PT, MA, CKTI, serves as Clinical Coordinator and Instructor for the Spine Options Physical Therapy Department’s student program. She currently trains doctoral physical therapy students from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. In addition to her work at Spine Options, Ms. Wolkenberg teaches the Kinesio Taping Method, the application of a unique, time tested, flexible sports tape, to other therapists in seminars all over the country. For more information, visit -- http://spineoptions.com/spine_surgery_alternative/