Kinesio Tape : Does it Really Work?

Most individuals, athletes or not, have experienced a musculoskeletal injury due to the overuse of a specific tissue or muscle. These overuse injuries can slow down an individual either in the workout routines or daily life. While not all injuries react the same way, many overuse injury areas are known to build up lymphatic fluid causing swelling and pain. The swelling and pain come from the accumulated lymphatic fluid putting increased pressure on the injured muscle or tissue.


Taping using Kinesio Tape (KT) has become a very popular proposed treatment and recovery aid over the past couple of years. KT became popular after the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, where beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings caught the attention of many spectators for wearing multi colored tape strips on her shoulder. KT is believed to lift the skin from the underlying layers of fascia, or bands or connective tissue. The lifting of the skin from the fascia results in a greater movement of lymphatic fluid, which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes bacteria, waste products, and cellular debris. When the tape is correctly used it may also be able to provide support to the surrounding muscles and help to ensure that the muscle does not over extend or over contract [1].


Figure 1. Athlete wearing Kinesio Tape.


Research suggests show that the tape will allow increased oxygen to the injured muscle and decreased inflammation. A 2012 study tested the effects of KT on blood flow in the gastrocnemius muscle and whether or not the way KT is applied changes the outcome on the muscle performance. In this study 61 healthy active individuals with no recent leg injuries were assigned to either treatment KT, sham KT, or a control group. Before taping a blood flow, circumference, and water displacement was taken for the gastrocnemius muscle. The individuals were then taped, and each measurement was taken again 24 hours and 72 hours after being taped. The results of this study showed no significant differences in the blood flow to the muscle using KT. There was also no change in the muscle’s performance based on the application technique of the tape [1].


From five previous systematic reviews, a new systematic review had been created to evaluate whether or not KT was more effective than no treatment or a placebo treatment, for people with musculoskeletal conditions, on pain levels, disability, and quality of life. Several different studies had been performed that looked at the pain levels on a scale from (0-10) for performing different activities while wearing either KT or another form of tape. These studies are prone too potential bias from the users and small sample sizes. Many of the referenced studies only shared certain of the results or were considered significant but of low quality [2].


Within a study done on subjects who had been diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement similar results were found as in the studies before. The only difference in this study was that they took self-reported measurement for range of motion along with pain. While the taping was ineffective compared to sham tape in long term, the KT provide immediate in pain free abduction range of motion. Once again, this study was limited to a. young population and it lacked a control group for comparison [3].


Although studies show that KT is ineffective in aiding injury rehabilitation, it is. Still used often by many groups of people. Since KT is relatively safe there is no reason why it cannot be used. Whether or not KT acts as a placebo or works I ways that are yet to be understood, it has worked for a large population of people for many years in helping to get past injuries for exercise and daily life.


Questions to Consider


Have you ever used Kinesio Tape? If so, did it help alleviate pain or support movements?


KT placebo effect or valid injury rehabilitation aid?


Do you think KT will last as an injury aid?




[1] Hannah L. Stedge, Ryan M. Kroskie, and Carrie L. Docherty. (2012). Kinesio Taping and the Circulation and Endurance Ratio of the. Gastrocnemius Muscle. Journal of Athletic Training, 47(6), 635-642.


[2] Patricia do Carmo Silva Parreira, Luciola da Cunha Menezes Costa, etc. (2014). Current evidence does not support the use of Kinesio Taping in clinical practice: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 60(1), 31-39.


[3] Mark D. Thelen, James A. Dauber,  Paul D. Stonemen. (2008).Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy,38(7), 389-395.


[4] “WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE TAPE? Benefits of Kinesiology Theraputic (KT)Tape-Small Tool Delivers Big Impact.” Fischer Institute, 16 Oct. 2017,


Personalized BioElectrical Impedance Analyzer


 It is common for people worry about their Body Mass Index (BMI) values after visiting the doctor’s office. What many people don’t know is that these BMI values do not take into account what body weight comes from muscle and what comes from fat. This can be hard for individuals who contain high amounts of muscle, which weighs more than fat, and get a BMI value back saying that they are overweight.

One way to differentiate between an individual’s fat free mass (FFM) and their fat mass (
FM) is by using a bioelectrical impedance analyzer. These analyzers work by sending a low electrical current through the body from one electrode to another. This electrical current will pass quickly through hydrated tissues such as muscle and slowly through low hydrated tissues like fat.


There are many different factors to be taken into consideration when programming a bioelectrical impedance analyzer as shown above. Many estimated values for these analyzers come from average values and standard deviations of measurements from more accurate body composition tests such as hydrostatic weighing or Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Specific equations based off of these values must be input into the system that will be able to give back estimates of an individual’s specific body composition given an input of the individuals weight, height, and gender. The problem with these analyzers is that the estimated values don’t accurately or even closely relate to each individual.


For a bioelectrical impedance analyzer, the impedance value is mathematically found from the equation Z^2 = R^2 + Xc^2. Within this equation Z is the impedance, R is the resistance, and Xc is the reactance. The resistance is the opposition of a conductor to the alternating current and the reactance is the additional opposition to the current from the storage effects of the cell membranes and tissue interfaces.

As an engineer it is important to find the right programming equations for the technology being made. These equations will vary in accuracy depending on the sex and ethnicity of its user. After the impedance has been calculated from the electrical current, it will need to be plugged into an equation, along with height, weight, and gender to find fat mass. When using segmental analyzers each different segment being measured will use its own specific equations for FM and the segments will then be summed for a total body FM. A typical FM equation for a non-segmental analyzer for ages 16-80 may be set up as:

FM(kg) = C1 + C2 Age + W + C3 (H(m)^2 / Z) – C4 H(m)

Where H(m) is height in meters, W is weight kg, Age is age in years, Z is from the previous equation depending of the testing frequency and each C variable is a different constant. The constant values will be determined using linear regression models of data taken on a group of individuals using a different form of body composition analysis.

The following assumptions can be made when programming the equations:

  1. The electrical current follows the path of least resistance within the body
  2. Both the body and its specified segments follow a cylindrical ‘typical’ shape

If these two assumptions hold true and the following equations are programmed correctly an FM estimate can accurately be made.



 The following measurements and calculations will then be made for fat mass:

Z^2 = R^2 + Xc^2

FM(kg) = C1 + C2 Age + W + C3 (H(m)^2 / Z) – C4 H(m)

Using the standard deviations as C values from data taken from a previous body composition study in Japanese women [1],the following equation can be determined:

FM(kg) = 37.91 + 18 Age + W + 0.6144 (H(m)^2 / Z) – 6.7 H(m)

Using these calculations along with a weight measurement from a scale an individual can then accurately assess their body composition health and fat free mass rather than using the BMI percentile chart.

Weight = FFM + FM

FFM = Weight – FM

It is important to understand that this developed equation will be limited only to Japanese females. If a scale programmed to find fat mass using this equation was used by a male, even a Japanese male, they would get an inaccurate reading. These reading will be inaccurate mainly due to the differences in how each sex and different ethnicities hold water within their body. This equation found for a BIA scale would be reasonable for female Japanese users only. In order for the scale to be reasonable for other individuals the programmed equation will need to be changed based of previous body composition findings of other groups based on ethnicity and sex.

Further Readings:


 Image Sources

Body Composition Testing for All

Patent Number: US 6,631,292 B1

Filing Date: March 23, 2001

Issue Date: October 7, 2003

Inventor(s):  Rudolph J. Liedtke (Grosse Pointe Park, MI)

Assignee: RJL Systems, Inc. (Mt. Clemens, MI)

U.S. Classification: 600/547

Claims: 20


Figure 1. A functional block diagram of a single aspect of a device based on the invention


A bioelectrical impedance analyzer is an apparatus used to determine bioelectrical impedance measurements. This particular analyzer is used to measure a particular area of impedance in a subject. This works by having a constant source of current where the currents input is controlled by a feedback loop. This feedback loop uses an error signal that represents the difference between the actual impedance of the area measured, the target current. The analyzer also contains an impedance measuring circuit that detects and output voltage from the area of the subject. This circuit splits the measured output voltage into a reactance output signal and a resistance output signal. The image above shows a block diagram of the electrical components within this analyzer.

Bioelectrical impedance analyzers can be used to find measurements within the human body. These measurements    can then be used to determine many different things about the body being tested. Using these measurements, blood flow, cardiac output, lean body mass, and body fat can be found for the tested individual. This invention of the bioelectrical impedance analyzer differs from those before it because it separates the electrical components of the analyzer from the individual using it. This is different from previous designs that directly attached electrodes to the individual. Another difference in this invention its temperature insensitivity. This allows the analyzer to be easily portable compared to its related technologies.

This analyzer invention had 20 claims outlining the main components of this device. These claims all referred to the electrical components of the analyzer. The main claims of this invention are that the constant current sources input current is controlled by an internal feedback loop that uses error signals to calculate an output. Another main claim is that the impedance measuring circuit is made to give out both a reactance and a resistance output signal.

This particular bioelectrical impedance analyzer invention would be ideal for any individual who is concerned about their body composition. It is easily portable and safe to use. For example, an individual who is looking to cut body fat, but doesn’t want to pay for the expensive body fat testing, would benefit from this analyzer. This analyzer would also be good for people who are body builders that travel often. This way they would have a way to test their body composition so that they could stay on track with their goals. Having had personal experience using a portable bioelectrical impedance analyzer, I think this would be ideal for someone wanting a close estimate on different body composition measurements. Even though the measurements aren’t as accurate as some other more expensive and invasive techniques, these portable analyzers work great and are more easily accessible. It is interesting to think about how this analyzer will advance and become more accurate in the future.


Liedtke, Rudolph J. (2003). United States Patent No. US6,631,292B1. Retrieved