In addition to enhancing athletic performance, Kinesio Tape is popular among athletes and non-athletes for its ability to protect, support, and promote healing in overworked muscles. Few people are aware, however, that its healing benefits don’t end there. Research studies show that taping skin wounds with Kinesio Tape actually improves wound healing.
“Kinesio Taping for Skin Wounds,” a clinical research report published by Kiyotaka Oka, concluded that “wounds healed rapidly and cleanly by using Kinesio Tape while maintaining moist conditions.” The above report contains photographs illustrating the taping process and chronicling the progress of wound healing in various patients whose wounds (which included “burns, abrasions, and incised wounds”) the researcher taped using this method. Some of the study photos also illustrate the difference in effectiveness between moist and dry taping applications.
The researcher explains: “In an orthopedic clinic, skin injuries heal cleanly and quickly by using wound coverings and keeping the area moist. Recently, adhesive Tapes for injury using coverings have been marketed, but as a Kinesio Tape lover, I treated the skin wound using Kinesio Tape, keeping it moist by use of tap water and deep sea water (for skin care). In addition, in a few cases, we compared the healing rate between a case left dry without attaching anything and a case using the usual adhesive Tape.”
In reference to the comparison between moist and dry applications, the report continues, “From the above, it is believed that (by moistening the pad) the natural healing power is maximized, that regeneration of the skin is accelerated and the wounds heal more rapidly, cleanly and with minimal scarring.”
A few benefits of taping wounds with moistened Kinesio Tape follow:
- Enhanced healing, as the tape microscopically lifts the skin, maximizing blood flow to the taped area while facilitating lymphatic drainage. Increased blood flow releases more vital oxygen and nutrients to the area, aiding the natural healing process, while lymphatic drainage helps reduce inflammation. Keeping the wound moist also helps prevent scab formation, thereby speeding healing, since scabbing interferes with healing.
- Minimization or prevention of scars, as the tape gently flattens the wound, controlling the formation of scar tissue by causing collagen fibers to be laid down in a more parallel pattern during healing, rather than in raised whorls, which create more visible scars. Using moistened Kinesio Tape for this purpose (in a special process described in the clinical report) minimizes excessive accumulation of scar tissue, which is known as hypertrophic scarring. (A second clinical study, “Kinesio Tape Application on Hypertrophic Scar Formation,” published by Sheryl Goodridge, indicates that hypertrophic scarring can be reduced by long-term application of Kinesio Tape to the existing scar.)
A few cautions: Never self-treat a serious wound. Even in the case of superficial wounds, it’s always wise to seek the advice of a medical professional or alternative health practitioner before using Kinesio Tape in wound healing. Consulting a certified Kinesio Tape professional for taping instructions and advice or for the actual taping will also help ensure the best results.