Review – Taping Lip- and Lymphedema

K-Taping (‘K’ from gr. Kinesis = movement) is one of many other possible therapies against lip- and lymphedema.

During my rehabilitation after three surgeries I got teaching and experience in taping. My main problem is the oedema between leg and hip and on the stomach. With daily manual lymph drainage they became smaller and less painful, but it is difficult to bandage them. Compression tights help me to keep the legs small, but the lymph stucks in the stomach and the upper body. For me, taping in addition to MLD, wearing compression tights and sports are very helpful.

I got these oedemas after tumor surgeries with an excision of several lymph nodes and the peritoneum. So to speak – I lost my sewer! To pump out the lymph I wear my compression and do lots of sports: 5x endurance sports, 4x weight lifting, 2x Aquajogging and daily gymnastics to help my legs and arms.

The aim of taping is to reduce the pain and to let the oedemas go down. But how?

When you put the tapes on the legs or the stomach or any other part of your body after manual lymph drainage, the skin will be lightly massaged by the stripes. And taping works best while you are in movement! As well as moving under bandages or with compression stockings, lymph will be transported when you are doing sports. On the backside of the tape there is a glue, an acrylic adhesive, and it is applied in sinus curves which causes little movements of the skin beneath.

Normally you are taped by a physiotherapist, but on some body sites you can try it on your own. I’m very grateful to the wonderful people of the Clinic  Reinhardshöhe, who taught me so many things to manage me by myself and have given me so much information!

But now to practice taping: How do I proceed, what shall I do?

I’m going to buy elastic K-Tape and make sure that it’s a good tape which won’t irritate my skin. I ordered my tape directly from Schug medical (adress below). In the Clinik Reihardshöhe they’re using Pio Sport Tape which is from viscose and a little bit softer than the cotton tape from Schug. Both tapes let your skin breathe, and both have good adhesive effect. About one week you can leave the stripes on your skin, no matter you go swimming or taking showers – but take care: Don’t rubb them, better use a hairdryer. And the easiest way to get ridd of them is to pull them off during the shower.

The Tape is longitudinal elastic. On the backside the acrylic adhesive in curves causes restoring force which you can notice after swimming or shower: The wet tape will get waves and wrinkles what is good for the massage effect of your skin. It gives more space between skin and subcutaneus tissue which lets the lymph flow more easily.

What colour should I choose? Most K-Tapes are red, blue, green and yellow. Red signalizes activity (I use it after MLD, but never take it when you feel any pain or the region of the skin is swollen!) , blue means calming and decongesting (I take it by pain), green means regeneration and yellow is said to be stimulating. That’s colour theory, you can beleave it or not:  There is no scientific proove, but colours can stimulate your mind, and I like this effect very much – of cource, I love my colourful compression tights and I like to take coloured bandages.

taping lymphedema

How to cut the tape: Cut it as long as the region of your body needs support. In lymphtaping the tape is cut in four stripes with a two fingers wide part as basis.

Important: The edges must be cut round to make sure that the tape won’t roll and get off too early.

taping lymphedema

First lift the paper on the backside from the base and tape this part onto the region of your body to where the lymph is going to flow. Let your physical therapist show you how to do it. The skin must be stretched, so sweep over the skin a few times. Then switch off the paper from the first stipe and put the stripe on the skin in the direction which you want to treat, and then sweep over it some more times. It’s not necessary to put it straight – on the contrary: Taped in waves you will reach a larger area. In this manner you have to nfix all the four stripes like a fan.

taping lymphedema


Basically it/there is to be said: Cut the the tape in small stripes to reach a bigger area of skin and don’t stretch the skin before taping.

The tape is already pre-streched on the paper by 10% what is similar to the natural stretching of skin. A big Advantage of taping: It works without any drugs!

Don’t use it in case of thrombosis, problems with heart- and kidney deseases, cancer, diabetes and fever! So far my personal experience in k-taping, and I hope it will help you, too.


My motto: „Keep going“!


Lit.: Kumbrink, Birgit; K – Taping, Praxishandbuch für Physiotherapeuten
Grundlagen, Anlagetechniken, Indikationen
Heidelberg 2009, Sprenger Medizin Verlag
ISBN 13-978-3-642-20741-9

Tape: Schug Medical Service GmbH, Karlsplatz 10, 92676 Eschenbach

ursula thomé

Author: Ursula Thomé

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