KINESIO TAPING ISSUE 17.qxd_Jerkins feature.qxd 05/08/2013 17:56 Page 2
In a sport where everyone is looking for an edge, the latest for Thoroughbreds may be Kinesio tape. It is the same tape seen on tennis star Serena Williams, soccer player David Beckham, any number of University of Connecticut basketball players, and many others. It creates a lifting effect on the skin of humans and horses alike to improve circulation, relieve pain, and, depending on its application, relax or stimulate muscles. By Ken Snyder
HE principle behind Kinesio tape on horse hair or human skin is complex, involving stem cell activity, the peripheral nervous system, and lymphatic circulation. At the same time the concept is very simple. “Manual therapy doesn’t last long. We wanted something to last longer,” said Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor who developed Kinesio tape more than 35 years ago. “You can’t massage for 24 hours or 48 hours, but the tape can, continuously and effectively,” he added. Simple enough, but what actually transpires during both an “ahh,-that-feelsgood,” moment in massage or the days when tape essentially prolongs that moment by replacing a hand? According to veterinarian Dr. Nancy Brennan, Kinesio tape, which adheres to horses and humans for three-to-five days, takes pressure off “pain receptors” to provide immediate relief. More importantly, however, it facilitates and accelerates stem cell activity by creating space for that activity beneath the skin through the lift on the skin’s surface. Stem cells in an injured area of the body in both humans and horses reproduce healthy cells to bring about healing, according to both Kase and Brennan. The surprise, perhaps, with the tape is that it can affect more than muscle problems. Brennan, a holistic veterinarian who employs traditional veterinary medicine, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, and now Kinesio tape in her practice, has treated sinuses, ovarian difficulties in fillies, lung abscesses, sesamoiditis, other bone and joint issues, and more. The proverbial light bulb went off with Brennan when she had Kinesio tape applied by her chiropractor and friend, Dr. Tracy Barnes, in Louisville, Kentucky, where Brennan lives. “I had a herniated disk at age 19 and had developed multiple spurs in my back between the shoulder blades. I woke up one day unable to bend over and do my work,” said Brennan. The tape essentially “remodeled” the bone spurs, according to Brennan, and provided what she called a “miraculous recovery.” She became an instant believer in Kinesio tape therapy. “At that point, I said, if it can be this effective on people, what about my horses?” A few months later Brennan got the opportunity to find out when a young Quarter Horse suffering from equine protozoan myelitis was sent to her from Oklahoma. “She was spastic, almost cerebral palsy-like in her movements,” recalled Brennan of a horse who had potential value as a broodmare but for whom euthanizing was a real possibility.
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