I first became aware of the pretty colored tape and its methods when watching the London Olympics in 2012. Ever since then I have kept a superficial eye on the literature on it and it varies. The research results are mixed as to its effectiveness. A 2013 systematic review concluded: “There currently exists insufficient evidence to support the use of KTT over other modalities in clinical practice” and the most recent systematic review I read concluded: “The current evidence does not support the use of this intervention in these clinical populations.” A few other bloggers have looked at it much better than I could:: Pulling the (Wool) Stretchy Tape Over Your Eyes and Kinesio Taping Review; A quick analysis of that colourful therapy tape that was so popular at the Olympics. Does it help? and Kinesio Tape – what is it, what does it do and what’s the evidence?.
I don’t plan to get into the effectiveness issues, but will get into what this study found:
KINESIOLOGY TAPING AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB: A QUALITY AND CONTENT ANALYSIS OF INTERNET‐BASED INFORMATION
Bryan G. Beutel and Dennis A. Cardone
Int J Sports Phys Ther. Oct 2014; 9(5): 665–673.
Due to limited regulation of websites, the quality and content of online health‐related information has been questioned as prior studies have shown that websites often misrepresent orthopaedic conditions and treatments. Kinesio tape has gained popularity among athletes and the general public despite limited evidence supporting its efficacy. The primary objective of this study was to assess the quality and content of Internet‐based information on Kinesio taping.
An Internet search using the terms “Kinesio tape” and “kinesiology tape” was performed using the Google search engine. Websites returned within the first two pages of results, as well as hyperlinks embedded within these sites, were included in the study. These sites were subsequently classified by type. The quality of the website was determined by the Health On the Net (HON) score, an objective metric based upon recommendations from the United Nations for the ethical representation of health information. A content analysis was performed by noting specific misleading versus balanced features in each website.
A total of 31 unique websites were identified. The majority of the websites (71%) were commercial. Out of a total possible 16 points, the mean HON score among the websites was 8.9 points (SD 2.2 points). The number of misleading features was significantly higher than the balanced features (p < 0.001). Fifty‐eight percent of sites used anecdotal testimonials to promote the product. Only small percentages of websites discussed complications, alternatives, or provided accurate medical outcomes. Overall, commercial sites had a greater number of misleading features compared to non‐commercial sites (p = 0.01).
Websites discussing Kinesio tape are predominantly of poor quality and present misleading, imbalanced information. It is of ever‐increasing importance that healthcare providers work to ensure that reliable, balanced, and accurate information be available to Internet users.
I am not surprised at their conclusion of “predominantly of poor quality and present misleading, imbalanced information“. While this was about Kinesio tape, a lot of similar studies in a lot of other treatment methods or conditions have pretty much found the same thing (including one I did 14 yrs ago! – yes, the internet is that old and so is the woo). A portion of what I know a lot about and read online is the same. The quack, woo, snake oil, pseudoscience and logical fallacies are obvious and so is the Dunning–Kruger effect strong. In the areas that I blog about, the wishful thinking fallacy is also strong – that is making a statement and wishing it was true. This was the reason I even started this blog in the first place – to counter the woo meisters! I belong to many skeptics groups on Facebook and elsewhere and there is a constant battle between the science and the woo that makes you quite depressed about human nature and just how stooopid so many are to believe what they read and lack the logic, critical thinking and analysis skills to see through it.
…but then again I am allegedly just part of the Illuminati and the big conspiracy to cover it all up. If its not that then I am just a shill for big pharma or the big running shoe industrial complex have paid me off … go figure
As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise…and this is just more evidence why we need to rely on what the science is saying rather than what was found via the University of Google.
Beutel BG, & Cardone DA (2014). Kinesiology taping and the world wide web: a quality and content analysis of internet-based information. International journal of sports physical therapy, 9 (5), 665-73 PMID: 25328829