BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Kinesio Taping


Kinesio taping was founded by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1970s. A surge in popularity resulted after the Kinesio taping product was donated to Olympic athletes in the 2008 and 2012 summer Olympics. Kinesio taping experts provided taping services and educational demonstrations at polyclinic venues throughout the 2014 winter Olympics.

The tape is applied with the affected muscle in a stretched position, taping from the origin of the muscle to the insertion point. Once applied, it is rubbed to activate the pressure-sensitive adhesive. Application is in three general shapes or techniques. An "I" shape is used for small or linear places. A "Y" shape is used for larger muscles (e.g., deltoid), and the "X" shape is used for large and long muscles (e.g., biceps).

Proposed benefits include: proprioceptive facilitation (increased awareness of the position of one’s body), muscle facilitation, reduced muscle fatigue, reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness, pain inhibition, and enhanced healing (e.g., reducing edema, improvement of lymphatic drainage and blood flow). This technology may be harmful if the taping encourages an individual to exercise while injured.

Kinesio taping is known by a variety of brand names. Examples include: Kinesiotape, Kinesiology Tape, Acu or Aku tape, Kinesio Tex, Kinesio Elastic Tape, Kinesio-Orthopaedic Tape, athletic tape, elastic tape and neuro-proprioceptive tape.




Well designed, randomized controlled trials with long-term follow-up published in peer-reviewed literature regarding Kinesio taping are not available. Available articles have widespread variations in the focus of the studies and the taping techniques used. The safety and efficacy of this technology is unknown.


American College of Physicians. (2017). Noninvasive treatments for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Retrieved August 7, 2019 from

Chang, W., Chen, F., Lee, C., Lin, H., & Lai, P. (2015). Effects of kinesio taping versus McConnell taping for patellofemoral pain syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, art ID 471208. (Level 2 evidence)

Huang, Y.C., Chang, K.H., Liou, T.H., Cheng, C.W., Lin, L.F., & Huang, S.W. (2017). Effects of kinesio taping for stroke patients with hemiplegic shoulder pain: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 49 (3), 208-215. Abstract retrieved August 7, 2019 from PubMed database.

Logan, C., Bhashyam, A., Tisosky, A., Haber, D., Jorgensen, A., Roy, A., & Provencher, M. (2017). Systematic review of the effect of taping techniques on patellofemoral pain syndrome. Sports Health, 9 (5), 456-461. Abstract retrieved August 7, 2019 from PubMed database.

Lyman, K., Keister, K., Gange, K., Mellinger, C., & Hanson, T. (2017). Investigating the effectiveness of kinesio® taping space correction method in healthy adults on patellofemoral joint and subcutaneous space. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 12 (2), 250-257. (Level 3 evidence)

Nelson, N.L. (2016). Kinesio taping for chronic low back pain: a systematic review. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 20 (3), 672-681. Abstract retrieved August 7, 2019 from PubMed database.

Ouyang, J., Chang, K., Hsu, W., Cho, Y., Liou, T., & Lin, Y. (2018). Non-elastic taping, but not elastic taping, provides benefits for patients with knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Rehabilitation, 32 (1), 3-17. Abstract retrieved August 7, 2019 from PubMed database.

Ramírez, O., & Pèrez de la Cruz, S. (2017). Therapeutic effects of kinesio taping in children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review. Archivos Argentinos de Pediatria, 115 (6), e356-e61. (Level 2 evidence)




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