School of Health

Physio technique found to reduce pain for cancer patients

Thousands of cancer patients could receive life-enhancing physiotherapy treatment thanks to new research by a Leeds Beckett PhD student, funded by the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

Physiotherapy using kinesiology

Gourav Banerjee has recently completed the three-year study into the use of kinesiology taping – the sort of strapping used by Olympic athletes – in providing pain relief for people with cancer.

Research into the potential benefits of the taping was one of Jane Tomlinson’s final wishes before her death in 2007. The mum-of-three from Leeds received the treatment herself in her final few months and her family reported that it improved her quality of life immeasurably.

For Jane, the tape helped to lift her ribcage, giving her organs – which had swollen during her cancer treatments – more space to move.

It reduced Jane’s pain levels and relieved pressure on her stomach, allowing her to eat and drink properly.

Now, the Appeal is launching a series of study sessions at Leeds Beckett to share practical and theoretical knowledge of the technique with physiotherapists working in the NHS and in hospices and cancer clinics across the UK.

The first will take place on Thursday 25 October and will be led by renowned physiotherapist Alison Rose, who treats Team GB athletes and also performed the taping on Jane in 2007.

Physio using kinesiology

Mike Tomlinson, husband of the late Jane Tomlinson said: “When Jane died she left me with very little instructions (apart from how to operate the washing machine), but she did ask me, once we had raised enough money, to investigate how kinesiology taping could help other people living with cancer.

Often the drug treatments Jane received were worse than the illness itself. In her final few months, the one thing that improved her quality of life was the taping. It seems such a simple thing, but the benefit was immediate and without any side effects – something that could not be said for the very harsh drugs.

After funding the PhD research, I’m really pleased we are now in a position to be able to fund the study days and share the knowledge of the technique with other physios working with cancer patients.

Mark Johnson, Professor of Pain and Analgesia at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Kinesiology taping is normally used for symptom management of musculoskeletal conditions and involves the application of a thin elasticated self-adhesive cotton-based tape to the skin.

Our research has found that kinesiology taping may have a role in the management of unpleasant symptoms related to cancer such as pain, abdominal discomfort and breathlessness.

Physiotherapists wishing to register for a 2019 session should contact

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