How to Apply Kinesio Tape

Updated March 23, 2017

Unlike typical taping methods that are used to stabilise a joint or hold a splint, Kinesio taping is utilised to support muscles and increase the circulation around injuries and painful areas. The Kinesio taping techniques originate from the practice of kinesiology, which is a holistic treatment that taps into the body's internal healing systems through the neurological and circulatory systems. While there are specific brands of stretchable tape preferred by many athletes and physical therapists that use Kinesio taping methods, the term refers to a way of taping rather than a brand of tape.

Plan on wearing the tape for days at a time to get the full benefit of the procedure. Look for Kinesio athletic stretchable tape that is also waterproof to be able to wear it in the shower and through sweaty workout sessions. The tape should be very thin and made of breathable cotton.

Apply the tape to extended arms to sooth shoulder muscles. With the arm extended 90 degrees straight out, gently tap the tape to the top of the shoulder and guide it the length of the arm to just above the elbow. Leave the arm extended while patting down the tape to release the medical adhesive.

Cut the Kinesio tape into a Y-strip for sore or tender neck muscles. Invert the Y so that the edge can sit in the centre of the back of the neck. Extend each piece down across the shoulder blades. Make sure the neck is extended forward when pressing the tape into place.

Extend the leg before applying Kinesio tape to lower extremities. Locate the area that hurts and apply a rounded piece of tape over the spot. Take two straight pieces of tape and extend them up and down from the centre of the tape at least six inches. If the tape is going over a knee, cut a hole out of the tape for the kneecap to be able to bend.

Utilise an X strip of Kinesio tape for arm muscles. Extend the arm with the palm of the hand facing up. Place the ends of the X on the pads of the hand and run the tape up over the inside of the wrist. Press down on the other ends of the X so that each side of the arm is taped.


Use the assistance of a therapist or someone familiar with Kinesio taping for areas that are hard to reach such as the back or shoulder.


Purchase Kinesio tape from a reputable medical supply store to make sure the adhesive is medical grade.

Things You'll Need

  • Kinesio tape
  • Teflon-coated scissors
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About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."