I thought some of you may be wondering about kinesio tape from my Day Five journal entry, so I thought I'd write a little more about it…
"Kinesio tape was developed over 25 years ago in Japan. "The Kinesio Taping® Method is applied over muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused or tired muscles, and support muscles in movement on a 24-hour-a-day basis. It is not a restrictive type of taping and allows for full range of motion." (www.kinesiotaping.com/)
"Theoretically, KINESIO TEX® TAPE will lift the skin to increase the space between the skin and muscle. This reduced localized pressure help(s) promote circulation, lymphatic drainage and lessens the irritation on the subcutaneous neural pain receptors. As an end result, the Kinesio Taping Technique reduces pain, swelling and muscle spasm; and subsequently promotes the body's natural healing processes. Additionally, the built-in stretch of the TAPE supports fatigued, weakened and/or strained muscles" (http://www.kinesio-tape.com/KinesioTex1.html).
This is actually the second time we've tried kinesio tape on Elijah. The first time was a few months back. His clinic-based OT placed some kinesio tape on Elijah's hands, in an attempt to keep them more open. Unfortunately, since Elijah sucks on his hands so much, the tape fell off within a few hours (the tape is supposed to stay in place for 3-4 days).
On Friday, Elijah's PT placed the tape on his shoulders and neck in an attempt to get him to stand up straighter and hold up his head while he's walking. And, the great thing is, I think it is working! He really seems like he's been holding up his head more consistently while he walks and I couldn't be more excited (of course, all of the exercises we've been doing to try to keep him more upright are probably helping too!).
Kinesio tape can be used for all sorts of things (such as pain relief) and a lot of athletes use it. That's what I think of when I see the tape on Elijah's back – that he's in training for something awesome. J For Elijah, we're using it to support his muscles and to try to teach how to hold his body. The tape should have the same function as a brace.
Anyway, I think kinesio tape is pretty remarkable. It's non-invasive and seems like a simple way to help. The PT actually put some kinesio tape on my wrist on Friday so I could experience what it feels like. It was really interesting. She taped my wrist so it was difficult for me to extend my hand. I could do it, but my hand felt odd and so I tended not to bend my wrist while wearing it. So, I imagine it's the same for Elijah. The tape on his back makes it more difficult to walk around with his head hanging. He can do it, but it probably doesn't feel quite right. The tape reminds him how his body should be aligned. It doesn't hurt and doesn't seem to bother him in the least.
I'm not an expert, but I hope I helped describe kinesio tape a little bit. I think it's pretty cool since it seems to be helping Elijah stand up straighter. And with standing up straighter, comes a better awareness of the world around him – which of course leads to all sorts of wonderful things.