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 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Kinesio taping experts, including Dr. Kase, provided taping services and educational demonstrations at polyclinic venues throughout the 2014 Sochi 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, for example an I-shaped piece of tape will be applied to the teres minor or rhomboid minor. A "Y" shape is used for larger muscles, like the deltoid. The "X" shape is used for large and long muscles, such as the biceps remoris. The tape is available in various colors (e.g., blue, pink).

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). However, the technology may be harmful if the taping encourages an individual to exercise while injured.

Kinesio taping is known by a variety of brand names. Example 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 3, 2017 from the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC: 011196).

Bae, S., Lee, J., Oh, K., and Kim, K. (2013) The Effects of Kinesio Taping on Potential in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients Anticipatory Postural Control and Cerebral Cortex. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 25, 1367–1371. (Level 4 evidence)

Bicici, S., Karatas, N. & Baltaci, G. (2012). Effect of athletic taping and kinesiotaping® on measurements of functional performance in basketball players with chronic inversion ankle sprains. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 7 (2), 154-166. (Level 3 evidence)

Campolo, M., Babu, J., Dmochowska, K., Scariah, S., & Varughese, J. (2013). A comparison of two taping techniques (kinesio and McConnell) and their effect on anterior knee pain during functional activities. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 8 (2), 105-110. (Level 3 evidence)

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)

Kalron, A. & Bar-Sela, S. (2013). A systematic review of the effectiveness of kinesio taping® - fact or fashion? European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 49 (5), 699-709. (Level 3 evidence)

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, 2017 June 1. Doi: 10.1177/1941738117710938. [Epub ahead of print]. Abstract retrieved August 3, 2017 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)

Morris, D., Jones, D., Ryan, H., & Ryan, C. B. (2013). The clinical effects of kinesio® tex taping: A systematic review. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 29 (4), 259-270. (Level 2 evidence)

Ouyang, J., Chang, K., Hsu, W., Cho, Y., Liou, T., & Lin, Y. (2017). Non-elastic taping, but not elastic taping, provides benefits for patients with knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Rehabilitation, 2017 Jun 1. Doi: 10.1177/0269215517717307. [Epub ahead of print]. Abstract retrieved August 3, 2017 from PubMed database.

Parreira, P., Costa, C., Hespanhol, L., Lopes, A., Costa, L. (2014). Current evidence does not support the use of kinesio taping in clinical practice: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 60 (1), 31-39. Abstract retrieved August 3, 2017 from PubMed database.




Policies included in the Medical Policy Manual are not intended to certify coverage availability. They are medical determinations about a particular technology, service, drug, etc. While a policy or technology may be medically necessary, it could be excluded in a member's benefit plan. Please check with the appropriate claims department to determine if the service in question is a covered service under a particular benefit plan. Use of the Medical Policy Manual is not intended to replace independent medical judgment for treatment of individuals. The content on this Web site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider if you have questions regarding a medical condition or treatment.

This document has been classified as public information.