Take Control of Your Pain With Cross Tape

Self-help technique for every occasion.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, I have been working on creating and curating online courses for self-help techniques, in hopes of helping you alleviate different pain points on your body.

Now let us just be clear, by self-help techniques, I mean suggestions for strategies to implement in between sessions with your therapist—this is NOT in any way a replacement for seeking medical treatment. My goal was to help you get enough relief for things like jaw pain, sinusitis, knee pain, etc., until you find time for your next appointment with your doctor or therapist.

Today I’ll be sharing with you few techniques with Cross-Balanced Tape.

I’m sure you are familiar with Kinesio Taping but have you ever heard of cross balance tape? If you are intrigued enough…keep reading and let me explain more.

I was introduced to cross balance tape a few years ago through my Korean doctor. Simply put, this self-help technique is similar to acupuncture but without the needles. There is limited information on it available here in the USA.

Take Control of Your Pain With Cross Tape 1

Brief history of cross tape

Cross balance tape or cross taping technique was originally developed in Asia, mainly in Japan and Korea before it was adapted to Western medicine. Two people: Dr. Aeo Kang and Professor Nobutaka Tanaka are said to be responsible for the development of the cross tape and the technique. Dr. Aeo Kang, a Korean rehabilitation physician is attributed to be the inventor of cross tapes while Japanese osteopath Professor Nobutaka Tanaka subsequently contributed to its evolution.

Cross Taping was based on several ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts such as the Tendinomuscle Energy Meridians (pathways for the flow of life-energy or “qi”). In modern terms, this is translated as Trigger Points that impact the flow of electromagnetic energy to the body, which in turn affects the bioelectric balance and electromagnetic microcurrents that pass through the skin thereby optimizing their functioning and removing imbalances.

Benefits of cross tape

In physiological terms, there are four main benefits of using cross tapes:

  • analgesic effect or relieving pain – this happens when cross tapes influence the nociceptors thereby helping to deactivate the myofascial trigger points.
  • influencing dermatomes (areas of the skin responsible for sensations of temperature, pressure and pain) to create a neuro-reflex effect.
  • addressing energy imbalances – cross tapes can influence acupuncture points, which is why it is sometimes called “soft acupuncture” or “needleless acupuncture.”
  • improving lymphatic drainage and improving muscle tone – because after the application of cross tape, there is lifting of the skin and markedly less slippage.                                

Simply put, cross tapes are known to alleviate symptoms of a variety of issues such as:

  • sore throat
  • insomnia
  • sinusitis
  • jaw pain
  • knee pain
  • tense muscles
  • painful joints
  • headaches
  • painful scars
  • muscle soreness

Aside from the physical benefits of cross tapes, people who have tried this technique appreciate that cross tapes on their own are free from active ingredients, free of medication, are water resistant, easy to apply and can stay on the skin for several days.

Who is cross taping for?

Generally speaking, cross taping can be for any adult who is experiencing pain. It is ideal for athletes, people with active lifestyles, those recovering from injuries or currently in physical therapy, or people experiencing any of the symptoms we have mentioned here.

And of course, it has to be said that cross tapes are not advised for young children, elderly people with comorbid conditions, and pregnant women.

Again, it is best to see a medical professional or a therapist for the pain you are experiencing before using any self-help techniques because cross tapes are intended to alleviate the pain, not necessarily solve its root cause.

Cross balance taping can help with a lot of pain that you are feeling. Should you need more information on this technique or any expert advice on pain management, nutrition and more, please feel free to schedule a consult with me or sign up for my courses.

How exactly does cross taping work?

At present, there is a dearth of scientific studies on cross tape but what we do know is that there is a strong theoretical basis on how it functions, whether on its own or in combination with Neuromuscular Bandage.

So how exactly does cross taping work?

Application of a cross tape is the stimulus that acts on the sensory receptors of the skin. The response of the body depends on the mode of application and the placement of the cross tape. Once the cross tape is applied, the skin transforms the stimulus into energy transducers, which the nervous system then encodes and converts into different signals, in turn starting bioelectrical activity in the area.

Cross tapes have been noted to influence the following:

  • nociceptors or pain receptors
  • exteroceptors or sensory receptors
  • pressure receptors such as Pacinian corpuscles
  • temperature-sensitive receptors such as Ruffini receptors (heat) and Krause receptors (cold)
  • stretch-sensitive receptors like Meissner’s corpuscles.       

How is cross tape applied?

There are four methods of applying cross tapes, each with different rationale behind them:

  1. stretching the skin before application

a. best for those seeking effects in a shorter period of time

b. creates significant lifting and convolutions

c. most effective during the first few days of use

d. can be uncomfortable at the beginning

  1. without stretching the skin before application

a. recommended for those seeking medium to long-term effect

b. becomes more comfortable as days pass without losing effectivity

c. can be used in areas of muscle retraction

  1. Korean Method (Longitudinal)

a. cross tape is placed in a longitudinal manner, following the direction of the muscles needing treatment

b. cross tape looks like a rhombus in a diagonal direction

c. used for muscle and lymphatic benefits

  1. Japanese Method (Horizontal/Transversal)

a. most widely used technique for segmental applications

b. follows a rectangular shape, placed horizontally

c. integrates several acupuncture points or dermatomes

Take Control of Your Pain With Cross Tape 2

Here are few self-help cross tape techniques

Knee Pain
Jaw Pain

About the author 

Ani Papazyan BS, CN, LMT, LE

As a Pain Resolution Practitioner, I empower individuals to conquer body pain, reclaim their lives, and embrace personalized wellness based on their unique genetic makeup, offering tailored solutions, self-help techniques, and transformative strategies.

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