The concept behind posture correcting clothing from ActivePosture® is inspired by Kinesiotaping often used by physiotherapists and chiropractors to help develop better muscle functionality, improve blood circulation and reduce pain in the neck, back and shoulders. Many of the key elements that comes from this taping technique has been transferred into the posture correcting clothing from ActivePosture.
Inspired by kinesiology
The Posture Shirt™ from ActivePosture® is inspired by kinesiology which you may have come across from a visit at a physio, osteopath or chiropractor or you may have seen top athletes with a colourful tape on specific muscles. In the ActivePosture Posture Shirt™ the functionality experienced in the taping technique is what can be experienced when wearing the shirt. Instead of tape that sits directly on the skin, you will rather feel the effect through the integrated NeuroBands™. These bands are a special composition of materials which, like the Kinesiotape, aims to reflect the contraction and expansion of the muscles to promote a better posture.
Use of the AlignMed products (that ActivePosture is sole distributor of in Europe) described below is based on the studies carried out between 2008 and 2015. The effect of the kinesio tape was studied, including those in the posture corrective shirts. Action of the kinesio tapes is regarded applicable to AlignMed shirts, as these are furnished with unique NeuroBands.
Af Lars Corneliussen (fysioterapeut)
In comparison with the placebo tape (1), kinesio tape can reduce pain, improve functional ability and enhance muscular endurance after a week, as shown in an RCT, which involved test subjects with chronic lumbar back pain. At the same time, other intervention studies had difficulties demonstrating any clinically relevant effect. A meta-analysis (2) confirmed there was no sufficiently strong evidence of sole efficacy of the kinesio tape in case of LBP thus far. The kinesio tape is recommended as a complement supporting physical activity, exercising and physiotherapy for the quickest possible relief of pain in acute phase. In comparison, the AlignMed shirts can be used as a complement to said interventions, in the rehabilitation and prevention of the LBP.
Paravertebral musculature fatigue plays an important role in the LBP development (3). An RCT (3) demonstrated a statistically significant effect of the kinesio tape on musculature fatigue in young, healthy subjects in comparison to the control group without the tape. Another control group with the placebo tape showed no statistically relevant difference versus intervention group with the kinesio tape. Consequently, the kinesio tape may have a certain placebo effect on muscular endurance. The potential of the AlignMed shirts consists in this promoting effect on the muscular fatigue.
In an RCT (4) involving subjects with cervical pain of mechanical origin, it was shown that the kinesio tape may have a positive effect. Within a week, this group experienced the same statistically significant effect on pain and functional ability, as the comparison group with two cervical manipulations within the same period. Efficacy of the manipulations was already demonstrated in previous studies. In a further study (5) with subjects having whiplash associated pain, the kinesio tape in a treatment session showed significant improvement in comparison to the placebo tape group within 24 hours. AlignMed shirts have the potential of exerting the same positive effect in the treatment of cervical pain.
Kinesio taping is also effective in patients with a shoulder impingement. In an RCT (6), treatment with kinesio tape and shoulder exercises was more effective in comparison with the same exercises plus ultrasound/TENS in a control group. Furthermore, interventions with a kinesio tape combined with exercises during 12 days was more effective as exercises alone in terms of the parameters pain, functional ability and painless mobility (7). Another RCT (8) involving young people with rotary cuff tendinitis/impingement could not show any positive effect after intervention with kinesio tape alone after three and six days in terms of the parameters already mentioned in comparison with the control group with placebo tape.
In summary, the review (9) concludes that the combination of training and kinesio tapes can be effective for immediate short-term pain relief. On this background, the AlignMed shirts can be used in addition to the treatment and prevention for shoulder pain.
It is believed that pain relief is partly based on the gate control mechanism (10): Increased pressure and traction applied to the skin, stimulates mechanoreceptors and thus reduces pain. This theory can be also applied to the AlignMed shirts, however, there is still no evidence of that. The tactile stimulation is promoted.
In an RCT (11) with subjects having dystonia, it was found that the kinesio tape simultaneously improved somatosensory discrimination and relieved pain. This can be an indicator of activation of the tactile and sensory mechanisms by the tapes with a positive effect on pain. The AlignMed shirts may also have this effect.
Afferent and sensory feedback is necessary for developing maximum force. A study (12) with an intervention group with and a control group without the kinesio tape established that the latter also stimulates afferent Ia fibres and efferent γ fibres by the tactile stimuli and thus can prevent myasthenia.
All these studies can also explain the potential effects on afferent physiological mechanisms of the AlignMed shirts furnished with NeuroBands.
It was established in a study (13) that, in case of the CLBP, anticipatory posture control can be improved by the kinesio tape. The EMG confirmed statistically significant improvement of the activity in the transverse abdominal muscle and in the motor cortex for the intervention group (with the kinesio tape) in comparison with the control group (without the kinesio tape). This can be an indication of a supporting effect of the NeuroBands in the AlignMed shirts, which promote neuromuscular activity and activate posture-related muscles acting as kinesio tapes.
It should be assumed that the shoulder pain and dysfunction of the glenohumeral joint, such as rotary cuff problems, glenohumeral joint instability or adherent joint capsule result from changes in scapulohumeral (14) rhythm. At the same time, it is assumed that the changed scapulohumeral rhythm is influenced by a range of complex parameters: Proprioception of the shoulder, EMG activity in fundamental muscles, change of tone in muscles directly or indirectly relating to the shoulder and scapulohumeral rhythm (14-17).
A study showed a significant effect of the kinesio tape on correction of the protracted shoulders. It was measured by the length of the Pectoralis Minor (17). Shoulder protraction is a factor contributing to neck and shoulder injuries. As with the study mentioned hereinbefore, the scan images of a case study showed that the position of the humeral head has a direct effect on the joint capsule (18).
Another study with a posture-correcting shirt with adjustable stretch panels showed significant effect on the shoulder posture (16).
On the basis of the mentioned studied, the AlignMed shirts with NeuroBands have a potential of influencing the scapulohumeral rhythm and correcting shoulder protraction.
Hyperkyphosis increases the risk of vertebral fractures, increases disk pressure and restricts mobility. In a study with the subjects having osteoporosis with coexisting hyperkyphosis, the kyphosis diminished due to a rigid shoulder correction tape, which was set in a manner comparable with the alignment of NeuroBands in the AlingMed shirts. At the same time, the effect of the tape was increasing with the severity of the hyperkyphosis (19). Thus, the AlignMed shirts have the potential of reducing hyperkyphosis in the osteoporosis patients.
Persons with shoulder impingements show the tendency of increased activity in the Trapezius Descendens and reduced activity in the Trapezius Ascendens (16). As documented by different studies, kinesio tapes on the shoulder with comparable alignment as the NeuroBands in the AlignMed shirts, reduced the EMG activity of the upper and promoted that of the lower part of the Trapezius muscle. Another study tested a posture correcting shirt with adjustable stretch panels (16) and detected significant changes in the EMG activity of the Trapezius Descendens and Ascendens (14, 17) as well.
One of these studies also found a correlation between the increased EMG activity of the Trapezius Descendens and the proprioception (14).
All mentioned studies detected EMG activity changes not only in the Trapezius, but also in Serratus Anterior and Deltoid muscle (14, 17) caused by a tape or posture correcting shirt.
The AlignMed shirts may possibly show the same result, as they are based on the same technical principles as kinesio tapes.
Posture and breathing
The ideal breathing spreads from the centre of the body. It necessitates elasticity of thorax without extended or shortened muscles such as Pectoralis Minor, without hyperkyphosis or protracted shoulders (20). Thus, the AlingMed shirts can have a positive indirect influence on breathing, i.e. through the already mentioned positive impact on EMG activity changes and posture correcting factors.
Different studies have shown that the evidence collected for kinesio tapes does not differ from the evidence of other treatment methods. As clinicians want to choose a treatment, which is cost-effective, i.e. time-saving, easy to handle and simultaneously best for the patients (21), the AlignMed shirts – just as the kinesio tapes – must be considered. Impact of the shirt on the patient/user is insignificant in relation to its potential positive effects. At the same time, due to the tactile stimulating and posture-correcting NeuroBands, the wearer of such a shirt is always aware of that and thus also of the health-promoting intervention. The placebo effect in the course of wearing an AlignMed shirt should not be disregarded as it may reduce anxiety-induced avoidance behaviour (5).
Wide range of the possible positive effects at relatively reasonable cost makes AlignMed shirts relevant and proper products with a huge potential. Even though the tapes in the mentioned studied were not necessarily applied at the same places as the NeuroBands in the AlignMed shirts, the AlingMed products should be considered as complements in rehabilitation and prevention measures.
The AlignMed products should be used in addition to the generally applicable therapies of musculoskeletal conditions.
1. Adelaida, Castro Sánchez AM, Lara Palomo IC, Matarán Peñarrocha GA, Fernández Sánchez M, Sánchez Labraca N, et al. Kinesio Taping reduces disability and pain slightly in chronic non-specific low back pain: a randomised trial. J Physiother. 2012;58(2):89–95.
2. Lim ECW, Tay MGX. Kinesio taping in musculoskeletal pain and disability that lasts for more than 4 weeks: is it time to peel off the tape and throw it out with the sweat? A systematic review with meta-analysis focused on pain and also methods of tape application. Br J Sports Med. 2015 Dec 1;49(24):1558 –
3. Álvarez Álvarez S, San José FG-M, Rodríguez Fernández AL, Güeita Rodríguez J, Waller BJ. Effects of Kinesio® Tape in low back muscle fatigue: randomized, controlled, doubled-blinded clinical trial on healthy subjects. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2014;27(2):203–12.
4. Saavedra-Hernández M, Castro-Sánchez AM, Arroyo-Morales M, Cleland JA, Lara-Palomo IC, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C. Short-term effects of kinesio taping versus cervical thrust manipulation in patients with mechanical neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Aug;42(8):724–30.
5. González-Iglesias J, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Cleland JA, Huijbregts P, Del Rosario Gutiérrez-Vega M. Short-term effects of cervical kinesio taping on pain and cervical range of motion in patients with acute whiplash injury: a randomized clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009 Jul;39(7):515–21.
6. Erkan, Kaya E, Zinnuroglu M, Tugcu I. Kinesio taping compared to physical therapy modalities for the treatment of shoulder impingement syndrome. Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Feb 1;30(2):201–7.
7. Şimşek HH, Balki S, Keklik SS, Öztürk H, Elden H. Does Kinesio taping in addition to exercise therapy improve the outcomes in subacromial impingement syndrome? A randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. 2013;47(2):104–10.
8. Thelen MD, Dauber JA, Stoneman PD. The clinical efficacy of kinesio tape for shoulder pain: a randomized, double-blinded, clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2008 Jul;38(7):389–95.
9. Raewyn, Taylor RL, O’Brien L, Brown T. A scoping review of the use of elastic therapeutic tape for neck or upper extremity conditions. J Hand Ther. 2014 Jul 1;27(3):235.
10. Kachanathu SJ, Alenazi AM, Seif HE, Hafez AR, Alroumim MA. Comparison between Kinesio Taping and a Traditional Physical Therapy Program in Treatment of Nonspecific Low Back Pain. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014 Aug;26(8):1185–8.
11. Pelosin E, Avanzino L, Marchese R, Stramesi P, Bilanci M, Trompetto C, et al. kinesiotaping reduces pain and modulates sensory function in patients with focal dystonia: a randomized crossover pilot study. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2013 Oct;27(8):722–31.
12. Konishi Y. Tactile stimulation with kinesiology tape alleviates muscle weakness attributable to attenuation of Ia afferents. J Sci Med Sport Sports Med Aust. 2013 Jan;16(1):45–8.
13. Bae SH, Lee JH, Oh KA, Kim KY. The effects of kinesio taping on potential in chronic low back pain patients anticipatory postural control and cerebral cortex. J Phys Ther Sci. 2013 Nov;25(11):1367–71.
14. Lin J, Hung C-J, Yang P-L. The effects of scapular taping on electromyographic muscle activity and proprioception feedback in healthy shoulders. J Orthop Res Off Publ Orthop Res Soc. 2011 Jan;29(1):53–7.
15. Cole AK, McGrath ML, Harrington SE, Padua DA, Rucinski TJ, Prentice WE. Scapular bracing and alteration of posture and muscle activity in overhead athletes with poor posture. J Athl Train. 2013 Feb;48(1):12–24.
16. Selkowitz DM, Chaney C, Stuckey SJ, Vlad G. The effects of scapular taping on the surface electromyographic signal amplitude of shoulder girdle muscles during upper extremity elevation in individuals with suspected shoulder impingement syndrome. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 Nov;37(11):694–702.
17. Han J-T, Lee J-H, Yoon C-H. The mechanical effect of kinesiology tape on rounded shoulder posture in seated male workers: a single-blinded randomized controlled pilot study. Physiother Theory Pract. 2015 Feb;31(2):120–5.
18. Gak H-B, Lee J-H, Kim H-D. Efficacy of kinesiology taping for recovery of dominant upper back pain in female sedentary worker having a rounded shoulder posture. Technol Health Care Off J Eur Soc Eng Med. 2013;21(6):607–12.
19. Alison, Greig AM, Bennell KL, Briggs AM, Hodges PW. Postural taping decreases thoracic kyphosis but does not influence trunk muscle electromyographic activity or balance in women with osteoporosis. Man Ther. 2008;13(3):249–57.
20. Brocki BC, Poulsgaard IJ, Alsted AJ. Lungefysioterapi: en grundbog. Kbh.: Munksgaard Danmark; 2011.
21. Montalvo AM, Cara EL, Myer GD. Effect of kinesiology taping on pain in individuals with musculoskeletal injuries: systematic review and meta-analysis. Phys Sportsmed. 2014 May;42(2):48–57.