Elastic Therapeutic Tape (ETT), of which Kinesio taping is the most well known, was originally designed by Kenzo Kase in the 1970’s. The treatment method was used in the Seoul Olympics in 1988 but it started to find a name for itself during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. This may have been helped by 50,000 rolls being donated to many of the competing teams.
There are many brands and variations on colour of tape available, each with different qualities. Generally speaking ETT is a largely cotton based tape which can stretch length-ways. It is designed to be thin and lightweight with an acrylic adhesive to attach it to the skin for up to 5 days.
ETT is used for treatment in areas such as lymphoedema management, respiratory condition, sports medicine and neurological rehabilitation. There are many theories as to how ETT works, including that the tape ‘lifts’ the skin, enables an increase in blood flow, the direction of application either inhibits or stimulates the underlying muscle, the tape gives messages to the nerve endings in the skin and works with the central nervous system. However, the research gives mixed views on these ideas, with systematic reviews highlighting the need for more underpinning research.