Systemic arterial hypertension, a well-known cause of morbidity, is associated with dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Neuromuscular taping (also known as kinesio taping, medical taping and Vendje neuromuscular) allows movement and muscle activity to treat pain, muscle disorders and lymphoedema, in which its mode of action may involve muscular stimulation leading to increased local blood circulation or stimulating dermatological, muscular and fascial structures with a form of passive massage. We hypothesised that neuromuscular taping may reduce blood pressure in systemic arterial hypertension. This hypothesis was tested by carrying out the first pilot study of its kind to determine whether the non-invasive technique of neuromuscular taping can reduce blood pressure in patients suffering from systemic arterial hypertension.
Neuromuscular taping was symmetrically applied to the back, between C1 and T2, of seven hypertensive patients for 5-7 days. Cardiovascular autonomic parameters were assessed at baseline and at the end of the study.
Taping was associated with falls in mean arterial blood pressure (p = .001), mean systolic blood pressure (p < .01), mean diastolic pressure (p < .01) and cardiac vagal tone at rest (p = .063). The beneficial effects on blood pressure appeared to last for at least five days post-neuromuscular taping.
There is an indication, given the reduction in cardiac vagal tone at rest, that the mechanism of action of this intervention involves modulation of the brainstem parasympathetic system during cardiovascular control. Further studies are indicated to replicate the present findings, further investigate the effects of taping on autonomic functioning, and establish the optimum time-period and taping positioning.