Elastic therapeutic tape, also called kinesiology tape or kinesiology therapeutic tape, k-tape, or KT is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is purported to ease pain and disability from athletic injuries and a variety of other physical disorders. In individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain, research suggests that elastic taping may help relieve pain, but not more than other treatment approaches, and no evidence indicates that it can reduce disability in chronic pain cases.
Kenzo Kase, a Japanese-American chiropractor, developed the product in the 1970s. The company he founded markets variants under the brand name "Kinesio" and took legal action to prevent the word from being used as a genericized trademark.
A surge in popularity resulted after the product was donated to Olympic athletes in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and 2012 London Summer Olympics. The tapes' prominence and mass introduction to the general public have been attributed to Kerri Walsh who wore the tape on her shoulder, and who along with Misty May-Treanor dominated the 2008 beach volleyball event. In 2012, science journalist Brian Dunning speculated on why he had not seen "a single athlete, pro beach volleyball players included, wear Kinesio Tape outside of the Olympics". He believes that "sponsorship dollars may be entirely responsible for the popularity of Kinesio Tape during televised events."
Elastic therapeutic tape used for lower back pain on an older adult male. The product is a type of thin, elastic cotton tape that can stretch up to 140% of its original length. As a result, if the tape is applied stretched greater than its normal length, it will "recoil" after being applied and therefore create a pulling force on the skin. This elastic property allows a much greater range of motion compared to traditional white athletic tape and can also be left on for long periods before reapplication.[
Designed to mimic human skin, with roughly the same thickness and elastic properties, the tape can be stretched 30–40% longitudinally. It is a latex-free material with acrylic adhesive, which is heat activated. The cotton fibers allow for evaporation and quicker drying leading to longer wear time, up to 4 days. How the tape is claimed to affect the body is dependent on the location and how it is applied; the stretch direction, the shape, and the location all supposedly play a role in the tape's hypothetical function.
People claim the tape has several theoretical benefits. One of those is correcting the alignment of weak muscles as well as facilitating joint motion as a result of the tape's recoiling qualities. Additionally, some claim the tape “lifts” the skin, increasing the space below it, and increasing blood flow and circulation of lymphatic fluids (swelling). This increase in the interstitial space purportedly reduces pressure on the body's nociceptors, which detect pain, and stimulates mechanoreceptors, to improve overall joint proprioception.