Alexander Technique and Physical Therapy
The Alexander Technique


By Idelle Packer, MS, PT, CTAT
certified teacher of the Alexander Technique

Kinesio Taping is a versatile modality for the treatment of muscle and joint dysfunction and swelling due to edema, hematoma, and lymphedema. From knee pain to tennis elbow, Kinesio Taping is an effective tool to complement a comprehensive program of physical therapy for the patient with orthopaedic or neurologic problems or compromise to the lymphatic system. The Kinesio Taping technique appropriate for a particular patient can be taught to a caregiver to increase independence.

The taping technique can improve
muscle function by supporting contraction of a weakened muscle, reducing fatigue, reducing cramping, increase joint range of motion, and relieving muscle and joint pain. Kinesio Taping is an adjunct to other physical therapy tools for improving muscle function by making therapeutic exercise easier to perform and supporting postural retraining and functional activities.

Joint function is enhanced through subtle realignment that can reduce spasm and shortened muscle length, decrease muscle tone and abnormality of involved muscles and fascia, increase range of motion, and relieve pain. Again the Kinesio Taping complements other physical therapy modalities, supporting joint comfort while instructing therapeutic exercise, movement mechanics and postural coordination.

Taping addresses
lymphatic function by improving blood and lymphatic circulation, assisting in the reduction of fibrosis, opening lymphatic drainage directly under the skin, reducing excess heat and substances in the tissue, assisting manual lymph drainage by promoting proximal drainage of lymph, stimulating a subtle skin stretch in the direction of drainage areas, and supporting skin movement beneficial for lymph drainage.

HISTORY: Kinesio Taping was developed by Japanese born chiropractor, Dr. Kenso Kase, in 1973 for the conservative treatment of traumatized soft tissue. It's initial use was by Japanese physicians. In 1988, the techniques were introduced to the world at the Seoul Olympic Games. The Japanese volleyball team was noticeably decorated with tape. In 1995, the Kinesio Taping method was introduced to the United States, and today, most applications are done for non-athletic populations.

MECHANISM OF TAPING ACTION: When the tape is placed on the skin it activates the endogenous analgesic system providing sensory stimuli to mechanical receptors. The result is a decrease in inflammation which in turn results in a decrease in pressure on chemical receptors. There is also the possibility that the tape activates the spinal inhibitory system and/or the descending inhibitory system (Gate Theory of pain reduction). The parameters that can affect the results of the taping: how the tape is cut (the shape of the cut), the placement from muscle origin to insertion or from insertion to origin, and the amount of stretch or lack of stretch of the tape. For instance, the greatest tension as the tape is applied will address ligaments; light to moderate stretch of the tape will affect muscles; light to absent stretch will encourage blood and lymph flow and reduce inflammation.

While assessing the patient and deciding how to tape for a particular problem is best left to the trained therapist, instruction to the caregiver for a particular taping is not difficult; the caregiver can become adept at cutting and applying the tape after one or two demonstrations.

Copyright © Idelle Packer 2007
For more information on the respiratory program, contact Beacon Healthcare 828.254.4899 or Body Sense 828.687.0407

Course work from
Kinesio Taping for the Upper and Lower Extremities with Rosemary Schrautch, OTR, CLT, CKTI
Clinical Applications of the Kinesio Taping Method by Kenzo Kase, Jim Wallis, and Tsuyoshi Kase
Illustrated Kinesio Taping by Kenzo Kase, D.C.
Kinesio Taping Perfect Manual by Kinesio Taping Association

"The Alexander Technique stresses unification in an era of greater and greater medical specialization. Its educational system teaches
people how to best use their bodies in ordinary action to avoid or reduce unnecessary stress and pain. It enables clients to get better
faster and stay better longer. This is undoubtedly the best way to take care of the back and alleviate back pain."
Jack Stern, MD, PhD, Neurosurgical Group of Westchester White Plains, NY