In this episode, we are visiting with Steve Capobianco, DC, the co-founder of RockTape. He shares his story of starting RockTape and the incredible education platform that they’ve built (certifying over 100,000 practitioners worldwide!). He also describes numerous concepts from pain science and the neuro-centric treatment methods that they teach in their curriculum. For our regular listeners, you will recognize a ton of overlap between their approach and ours and see that RockTape offers really valuable tools that complement our work at NeuFit.
The cool thing about kinesiology tape is that because it’s a tape applied to the skin, a lot of people have been asking the question. Well, just like your shirt on your clothing or your clothing on your body, your brain will eventually accommodate, meaning that it recognizes the stimulus and then it eventually decreases the activation. But because this tape is elastic, it has a tendency to reactivate these mechanoreceptors through movement. So whenever you move your body part, the elastic quality of the tape combines with the movement to add another stimulus to these mechanoreceptors, which maintains that conversation with the brain. It’s a term that I like to use. By stimulating these mechanoreceptors, we have an effect on different parts of the central nervous system. And kinesiology tape is demonstrating a more robust effect over those three to five days that we’re documenting the tape on the body.
Garrett Salpeter: (00:55)
I’m Garrett Salpeter, and I believe that the most powerful and transformative way to help people recover from pain and injury, heal from trauma, and reach their highest levels of fitness and performance is to focus on the nervous system. In this podcast, we’ll share knowledge from the frontiers of neuroscience and inspirational stories of how applying that knowledge has empowered people from all walks of life to heal, adapt, and grow. Welcome to the Undercurrent podcast. I am joined today by Dr. Steve Capobianco, the co-founder of Rock Tape, and I’m excited to dive into the story of Rock Tape here. Before we do that, we’ll ask him a little bit about his career. He was practicing as a chiropractor before co-founding Rock Tape and starting this movement within the industry. And I’m just delighted to have you on the show. Thanks for being here.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (01:45)
Thanks for having me. I always like to talk shop, so I’ve known you for a couple of months now. I think we met a couple of months ago, and I think we’re on the same page, so I look forward to the conversation.
Garrett Salpeter: (01:57)
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (01:59)
You know, I was practicing. I still practice nowhere near at the level I used to, but I’ve been practicing for almost 20 years now. And I started my practice in northern California, right out of Chiropractic College, in 2003. I practiced there for about 12 to 13 years. I met a guy, I wish he was more involved in that, you know, a guy showed up at my office. He had a role of kinesiology tape that he had invented, and he knew that I was the taping guy in our small town. So he wanted my opinion on it. And at that time, I was using a competitor’s product, and I was having some difficulty with it quality-wise, just wasn’t doing what I was expecting with my patients. And he just showed up at the right time and he said, “I think I have a better widget.” And I tried it out. I agreed with them. I called them back, and I said, “I have an idea of a process of education for this product that is different than what others have taught over the last 30 years.” And so we started the company together that way. So that was kind of the inception of Rock Tape—just the right time and right place. So to speak, we were both aligned with kind of getting this product out into the market. And my method was to use education to be able to do that.
Garrett Salpeter: (03:34)
That’s awesome. And before we dive into the education, because I’m really interested in sharing your perspective on that because, you know, it’s very interesting. There’s a lot of overlap in the concepts that we cover on this podcast and in our curriculum. Before we do that, just to make sure everyone who’s listening understands for those who have not used kinesiology tape. Can you just give a quick primer on what it is, you know, how it’s different from like traditional, you know, athletic trainers taping your ankle. Just a little bit about what it’s, so everyone understands.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (04:05)
Yes. It’s a good question. I think a lot of people have a misconception of this style, this category of tape. And I keep using the term “kinesiology tape,” but I could also use the term “elastic therapeutic tape.” And ultimately, that just describes it better—that it’s a tape that stretches vs. the traditional form of tape that most of us recognize, cotton athletic tape, a rigid tape that’s intended to support or protect an area of the body. This tape has elasticity within it that allows you to go through the full range of motion that the joint or body area has. So that’s one of the main differentiations of traditional tape. It’s elastic. So it’s made out of cotton and nylon woven together with an acrylic-based glue that allows it to adhere to the skin for three to five days. That’s the average of most kinesiology tapes. So once it’s applied over an area that’s experiencing pain, swelling, or some type of movement dysfunction potentially be able to affect the area. And we can talk more about what that’s really doing, what we think it’s doing, and what the science is telling us. But to affect the area for multiple days vs traditional tape, again, is meant to be for a short period of time to, again, protect and restrict range of motion.
Garrett Salpeter: (05:30)
Awesome. So great description. Thank you. I think everyone will understand the difference. This is the tape that you see, you know, the volleyball athletes wearing at the Olympics. Beach volleyball wearing at the Olympics and stuff. And so it’s definitely different from athletic tape, and because of its elasticity, it has the property of being able to create, you know, tension and pull that create slack on the skin and so there are mechanical and also neurological benefits. So can you speak to, you know, what the tape actually does?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (06:00)
Yes. I think you brought up something that was interesting. First is that the tape has been around for almost 40 some odd years now and there’s lots of misconception of what this elastic tape, this colorful elastic tape and really do to for, you know, for those that are looking for pain mitigation, swelling, control, and movement. But it wasn’t until the 2008 Olympics that Kerrie Walsh, the US beach volleyball player, had it on her shoulder. And from my understanding, she’ll be competing at the next Olympics in the 2021 Olympics, for her fifth time, which is amazing, to be honest. But she had tape on her shoulder, and it got a lot of questions. It garnered a lot of questions about what this tape was doing. And I think that’s been a benefit for us in the western world because we just got exposed to it at that time and really started a lot more research on what it’s doing.
Garrett Salpeter: (06:59)
So when you say we got exposed to the Western world, does that mean that of 40-year history, it had started in the Eastern world. It was used; would it be used more in Asian countries?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (07:08)
Okay. Correct. Yes. So the founder of, I guess the grandfather of, this category of tape is named Kenzo Casa, who was a chiropractor from Japan who created this category of tape, and his category, the brand that he created, was Kinesio Tape. And so that’s considered, you know, the grandfather of the brand of the category. And again, it was mostly used in Asia, but it now became more visible here in the western world, the US in particular because of Kerrie Walsh. And it started to get a lot more questions about how it really works. And so that’s what we really know now because of the previous research over the last 10 years that kind of identified what it’s doing, to your point, mechanically to the skin, what it’s doing because of its elastic quality, and then what is it doing neurologically to be able to help with pain, swelling, and movement?
Garrett Salpeter: (08:04)
So, tell us what it is doing when he creates tension. It creates that, you know, stretching it out and creating that tension kind of pulling the skin back in toward each other and the ends of the tape back in toward each other. What’s actually happening there?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (08:17)
Yes. So, the tape, once it’s applied in a stretched position, either the body part or the tape or both, it’s like any other elastic band that will recoil back to the center. And when it does so, it creates what we like to call the “biomechanical lifting effect.” and that just ultimately means it’s lifting the skin away from the underlying tissue. So that’s what we know is happening mechanically.
Garrett Salpeter: (08:42)
So if you’re just listening to the audio, not watching the video, see Capo here, Dr. Capobianco. I’m sorry. That gone by his nickname. So he’s actually pinching his skin and pulling it up. So it looks like it, when we say tenting effect, it actually, you know, if you pinch the skin on your own arm and you lift it up, it looks like a little bit of a tent, like it raises up kind of to a point and it, you know, literally is lifted off the layers beneath it. So, yes. Please continue it.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (09:06)
Yes. So we’ve been able to document that objectively using multiple mediums, but the most recent has been using MSK, or musculoskeletal ultrasound. So you can actually document how much lift or tenting is occurring from the skin away from the underlying tissue. And we’re able to document from, you know, 0.5 millimeters to 2 or 3 millimeters of space that’s acquired underneath the skin. And so for some, that could be, you know, creating more space for blood flow. That could be more space for lymphatic drainage, and all of those things may or may not be true. We’re getting more evidence as we’re learning about this type of product. But what the research has kind of pivoted is saying. If we’re having a mechanical effect on the skin and underlying connective tissue, the next question from these researchers has been, what are we doing neurologically? How are we stimulating the receptors, the mechanical receptors, in that area? And that’s what is exciting for me: is to be able to better understand what is happening neurologically locally, where the tape is applied to the skin, and then what is happening centrally to the brain. So that’s what we’re starting to learn more of and what the evidence is telling us at least right now, is that we are stimulating multiple different categories of Mechanoreceptors from the light touch receptors of C Tactile fibers to Mincers, to Merkel discs, to the Paxin and even refineries that exist in that area within the skin superficial connective tissue or fascia, as well as the deep fascia.
Garrett Salpeter: (10:53)
So you’re stimulating all the receptors that sense light touch, deep touch, vibration, movement of the skin. I mean, everything, you’re getting everything in there.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (11:00)
Right. And the cool thing about kinesiology tape, because it’s a tape applied to the skin, a lot of people have been asking the question. Well, it’s just like your shirt on your clothing or your clothing on your body, your brain will eventually accommodate, meaning that it recognizes, the stimulus and then it eventually decreases the activation. But because this tape is elastic, it has the tendency to reactivate these mechanoreceptors through movement. So whenever you move your body part, the elastic quality of the tape combines with the movement to add another stimulus to these mechanoreceptors, which maintain that conversation with the brain. It’s a term that I like to use. By stimulating these mechanoreceptors, we have an effect on different parts of the central nervous system. And kinesiology tape is demonstrating a more robust effect over those three to five days that we’re documenting the tape on the body.
Garrett Salpeter: (11:56)
That’s awesome. So when you first had the concept, you know, met your co-founder, Greg, and had this concept of really leading with education, did you already have that neurological understanding of what the tape can do? Or is that something that’s evolved in those last 10 years?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (12:11)
Totally evolved and education of which it should always evolve. So my view of kinesiology tape at the time was pretty rudimentary where I knew that it had a lifting effect because you could see the lifting effect from the outside, and it had an effect on pain. So I initially started thinking about, you know, the traditional gate model where I’m stimulating these fast-traveling mechanoreceptors, but I didn’t know which ones. And I figured that was the mechanism just like, you know, general touch of, you know, human touch. I felt it was mimicking something like that, but I just didn’t necessarily understand it as well as I do now. But that’s the beauty of the evolution of knowledge, it’s that we’ve gained more and more understanding and better techniques to measure it to be able to feed the information that I’m actually delivering in our education. So it’s definitely evolved over the last 11 years since we started it.
Garrett Salpeter: (13:08)
Just to give people a scope of the education before we dive back into some of the, you know, curriculum and content and concepts here. How many people have you certified? I’ve been through at least one Rock Tape certification.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (13:21)
Oh, well, that’s a good, that’s a good question.
Garrett Salpeter: (13:23)
I should have prepared you for this.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (13:24)
I’m not sure if I’m prepared. Let’s say that we started our education platform in 2010. So it’s obviously been 10–11 years approximately. We crested, you know, pre Covid of about a thousand courses a year here domestically in the US. And then the traditional number of people in our live courses is 25 people. So we’re looking at, you know, 20 to 25, you know, of people per year for whom I have been trained. And so, you know, that would be a ballpark number that I can give you. So I’m proud to say that we trained a lot of therapists, from physical therapists to occupational therapists to chiropractors, from massage therapists to personal trainers, athletic trainers, acupuncturists, and more. So that’s kind of the category that we get to teach.
Garrett Salpeter: (14:22)
So, even if people are taking multiple courses, like we’re into 6-figures in terms of the number of people who have been through at least one Rock Tape certification.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (14:29)
Yes. I think that’s fair.
Garrett Salpeter: (14:30)
That’s awesome. That’s, congratulations.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (14:33)
Garrett Salpeter: (14:34)
That’s awesome. So in terms of the curriculum and what you actually cover in these courses, just to kind of recap and reflect back, we’re hearing that we have this mechanical tenting effect, which helps tissues move better when the skin is pulled up. There’s more ability for the skin to move over the superficial fascia and the other layers of tissue underneath it. And we get this stimulation of these neurological receptors, so we get more input into the central nervous system. That’s a big theme in our curriculum, it is creating input into the nervous system in order to change the perception of threat, which plays into pain and plays into the degree to which nervous system will either inhibit or allow performance of the body. So I think what you’re tapping into is. You know, it’s important, and obviously you see that in the results that it happens. So can you just kind of complete that loop, you know, in terms of what your kind of, what your message is when you’re teaching courses or when your team of other instructors is teaching these courses. You create this input, and then you’re activating these receptors, and then, you know, what are you seeing? What’s kind of the next phase of that, and how you described it?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (15:49)
Yes, I like the way that you kind of summed it up, but it’s exactly what we tried to deliver is this is providing some type of input and the input that at least the term that we’re using to be able to communicate the type of input is this novel stimulus this stimulus that the brain deems novel or deems interesting. And that’s something that I think is unique to this type of tape is that because it’s elastic and because it continues to provide that stimulus, that safe and novel stimulus, the brain pays attention. And so what we try to do? We try to clarify in our education that it’s a novel, safe stimulus that we’re providing to an area that is under threat. The meaning that the brain is interpreting for that area is under threat, and it may be increasing the perception of pain that person is experiencing due to that fact. So to provide a safe stimulus that could potentially mitigate that threat and improve the perception of pain. Now, we quickly couple that with some type of movement. We want to take that opportunity, where we decrease the threat signal, if you will, and then encourage what I call meaningful movement. If that person is coming to you, let’s take any patient or client that’s coming in with, let’s say, elbow pain that’s taking them away from swinging a golf club, which they love to do at their men’s club every Thursday. By providing a stimulus to that region of the body, that mechanical stimulus like we just described, that provides that safe neurological stimulus potentially that as it’s perceived by the brain can decrease the threat, improve their pain perception, which allows them to move through that range of motion more comfortably, which starts to build this other component of the experience, which is safety and confidence and hope. There are other components of the equation when it comes to someone in pain that we need to understand. And that’s what we’ve, again, evolved into in our educational offering is that it’s more than just a strip of tape. It’s how you use that strip of tape with the individual that you’re working with. And then that’s the part that I’m most proud of when it comes to our education is that the tape isn’t the tool. It’s the experience that you provide with that tool. And that’s what we try to provide our attendees at our courses.
Garrett Salpeter: (18:27)
I love that there’s a lot of wisdom in there. And ultimately, you know, if you’re a clinician treating somebody, you have a few different tools and you have yourself and how you interact and how you make that person feel. And that all factors into those, which are all variables that influence how that patient is going to respond to treatment. So I love that you take that, you know, more—I guess you’d call it a holistic view of treatment because it’s all relevant. It’s not just like, “Woo, woo, woo.” I mean, we know neurologically that how you interact with how your clinician interacts with the patient and, how the language that we use and their understanding of why they think they have pain that all factors into their outcomes. I love that you’re covering that.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (19:12)
Yes, and I think, you know, when it comes to the nervous system, I think we have the tendency of isolating ourselves that, you know, neurologically, it’s a mechanic reception to a specific part of the brain. And that is the only interaction. But we know that the brain has influenced us not only neurologically or biologically, but it’s also influenced psychosocially. And that’s the part that I’m talking about, which is that the effectiveness of a product or a tool like kinesiology tape can’t be relegated only to that neurological, you know, window. It’s the opportunity that it provides psychosocially to be able to build all those other components of the pain experience.
Garrett Salpeter: (19:56)
So one interesting tidbit that I’ve heard you speak about before, and I’ll ask you to share here is can you talk to that psychosocial interpretation of hair follicle stimulation that was a really interesting tidbit?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (20:10)
Yes. So again, something that I would never have considered when I first started this company and started the educational platform is because I didn’t know that the hair follicles that we have, you know, on the majority of our body, less, you know, the palms of our hand and in the souls of our feet and some portions of many people’s face, is that the majority of our body is covered by hair. And I didn’t really understand the significance of the hair follicle or the nerve root plexus that that envelops every single hair that we have in our body and how it’s ending, the nerve ending that innovates those hair follicles goes to a different part of the brain. And the part of the brain that we’re starting to get a better understanding of is this region of the brain called the affective region of the brain, which includes parts of the brain called the insula, the anterior cingulate. The periaqueductal gray is also a component of the affective region of the brain. And this is the part of the brain that’s involved with the perception and anticipation of pain. The emotional context around the pain experience and other components of affect and the interesting thing about deflecting or bending a hair follicle or plucking a hair follicle stimulates these receptors called C Tactile fibers. And these C Tactile fibers preferentially stimulate this affective region of the brain that is demonstrating potential. If, again, that stimulus is safe and novel, it will provide a safe and novel stimulus to that region of the brain that could potentially feed it to mitigate the threat associated with the stimulus or the threat of the associated area that’s being innervated. And I’m not sure if that explained it well enough, but the cool thing is that when you stimulate the C Tactile fibers that exist within the hair follicle, they can preferentially stimulate a part of the brain that is associated with the emotional context of pain.
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Garrett Salpeter: (23:02)
That’s awesome. It’s powerful stuff. And, you know, there are so many cases, and, you know, we’ve talked about it a little bit on this podcast for the clinicians who have been through our curriculum; we talk about how so many patients think, “Oh, this hurts, therefore something’s broken, or I need surgery, or I need a brace,” but it’s not going to feel better until it heals. And yet, you know, it will heal. Whatever the injury is, it will heal 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks later. And they still have pain, and they have pain for months or years, and, you know, we need to understand this model of pain that you’re describing, it’s so important, and it’s so empowering for patients if they can understand, like, you know, there’s pain. It doesn’t mean I’m broken. Pain is my brain’s interpretation of based on its orientation towards survival. Its evaluation of all these different threats in my environment. Pain is my brain’s way of telling me something’s wrong. But I can get to that through many different avenues sometimes. And this is what I love hearing you talk about because it speaks to the potential of these different avenues and different ways that we can affect pain.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (24:02)
Sure, and I think it’s one of the newest things, again, not well enough delivered in the educational arena to be able to let therapists and movement specialists really understand this network of receptors that we have access to through touch to be able to influence someone’s pain experience. So I think we’re moving in a direction that I’m really thinking is going to be effective.
Garrett Salpeter: (24:29)
That’s Awesome. So one Rock Tape methodology question. So, you know, outside of our conversations that we’ve had, how do you teach? What’s your way to teach? How do you identify where that threat is or where to put the tape?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (24:44)
Well, that’s a great question. The way that we identified is going to be consistent with what most therapists usually use. They’re going to use, you know, the typical history of getting that subjective analysis from the individual. Where are you feeling the symptoms and so that’s going to be an important component of the total experiences we just discussed because I want to be able to apply the safe and novel stimulus to the area that that person’s identified and that starts that therapeutic alliance between the therapist and the patient or client. So that’s one way, which is obviously subjective; you know, where is your pain? The second one would be going through the traditional orthopedic, you know, screen and testing to be able to identify what tissues need to be innovated or what areas of the body need to be innovated.
Garrett Salpeter: (25:37)
So that could be either areas that are inhibited or areas where there’s excessive tension and you need more mobilization. You would tape, you know, both the quote, unquote, tight, or weak tissues.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (25:46)
Correct. And so to your point is that part of the orthopedic exam could be muscle testing; it could be, you know, neurological testing of two point discrimination, vibration testing, all the traditional, you know, neurological tests that you have. In fact, we kind of lean pretty heavily on two point discrimination to be able to identify, I guess, blind spots.
Garrett Salpeter: (26:11)
Can you give the little overview on what it is and how you implement it and why you’d want to work on places?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (26:18)
Neurologically, as part of that part of the assessment or screen, you’re using a device called a two-point discrimination tool. And they’re very readily available in the medical space, but you can literally purchase a two-point discrimination tool on Amazon. They’re inexpensive, but they’re ultimately just, you know, two points that you would touch the skin. And you’re looking to ascertain the individual’s ability to identify two points of contact with that tool on the skin. And when an individual has difficulty identifying those two points, it gives us an idea of the clarity of their body map in a certain part of their brain called the somatosensory cortex. And so we use two-point discrimination to identify the clarity of that body map to be able to identify if someone has an understanding of where a body part is in space. And so that’s one of the ways that we would use two-point discrimination to identify the area that we want to provide a stimulus to be able to start to clarify the resolution of that map, if you will. Does that make sense?
Garrett Salpeter: (27:28)
That’s awesome. And so for everyone who’s been through our curriculum, you know, we talk a lot about proprioception. If there’s a deficit in proprioception in an area, it’s like you’re walking around in a room with your eyes closed. You know, the brain can’t see where the body is in space, and so it can’t predict what obstacles it might run into or trip over. And so the brain causes the body to tighten up, to move less, to protect, to be more guarded. And so being able to pick up that two-point discrimination. I have a tool to apply tape like that, which is awesome. And all of that, you know, since we’ve started using Rock Tape here in our clinic in Austin, I mean, we’ve seen really cool benefits, and one of the things that I love is that, like you said, you’re able to continue to get some stimulus for three days post-treatment as opposed to just having that stimulus kind of stop when the patient leaves the office. And so we’ve seen benefits from working in all the places that you’ve described. And then also, we’ll add tape to the hotspots that we find when we go through our mapping process with the Neubie, because those also are areas of elevated threat. So we’ve seen that’s the only, I mean obviously you have a wonderful curriculum and everything. That’s, I think, the little piece that we’ve been able to kind of tweak. So, I think, you know, it adds a little something at least, you know, it does for us and our clinicians. It seems like being able to tape have those as additional locations to tape or to prioritize, you know, have been really cool there. But I love hearing your description of all that, and it’s really a wonderful curriculum they’ve put together.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (29:01)
Garrett Salpeter: (29:02)
In order to see it in action, what are some of your top success stories that you’ll share? If someone’s like, you know, what can tape really do for me? What are the top, you know, couple examples that come to mind for you?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (29:15)
Yes, this is not just using antidotes. I’m using what the evidence is telling us as well, which is that there are multiple systematic reviews, you know, top-tier research—that are indicating that kinesiology tape as a general role is either favorable, ideal, or even recommended. And the areas that I would probably highlight in that category would be plantar fasciitis, or, you know, sole of the foot pain; acute lower back pain; chronic lower back pain; wrist pain; wrist and thumb pain; and patella femoral, or knee osteoarthritis. Those are the main areas that have demonstrated for well over 10 years through pretty robust testing that those are the most consistent areas that are demonstrating really good outcomes. That being said, I can share, you know, 15-20 years of taping patients anecdotally demonstrating effects on shoulder impingement syndromes, acute and chronic lower back pain. The one that I’ve really been fortunate to work with is pregnancy-related lower back pain, which is a really difficult one because generally women going through late stage pregnancy are relegated to, you know, sucking it up ultimately.
Garrett Salpeter: (30:46)
Because we can’t even really use our machine. We do other exercises or manual stuff.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (30:50)
Exactly. They’re typically contraindicated for many therapies. And so, you know, new moms are just begging for some relief, and we’re finding, and now the evidence is supporting this, that pregnancy-related lower back pain can be ameliorated with the use of kinesiology tapes. So that’s a feel-good one for me.
Garrett Salpeter: (31:07)
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (31:09)
So those are the kind of the general ones. You’ll find quite often, people are using them for pain, as I just described, you know, the areas of the body that have experienced pain. But the kinesiology tape has also been reported to benefit swelling, both acute and chronic swelling. So you’ll see this quite often used in ankle inversion sprains or sprained ankles in other forms of acute swelling and then even chronic swelling. And so again, this would be another one that I’m just most thankful to be able to help, specifically women. But breast cancer affects both men and women, but predominantly more women. And the women that have had the radical mastectomies where they removed lymph nodes in their axilla or their armpit, they quite often develop this chronic edema or swelling of their upper extremity. And it’s debilitating, and generally, those people are offered lymphatic massage therapy and/or compressive sleeves to be able to mitigate that swelling, both of which are uncomfortable. So the compliancy is pretty poor. So they found over, again, after years of research, that kinesiology tape applied in a specific way to more comfortably manage their swelling and allowed the individual to resume more normal daily activities of living. So that’s another feel good one that we’re using tape for something that I’ve never thought of, but it’s helping people live a more productive life.
Garrett Salpeter: (32:45)
That’s awesome. That’s fabulous to really be able to make an impact for people who are going through those types of challenges. I mean, pregnant women and, you know, women who have been through breast cancer surgery—it’s a big deal times are you kind of left behind by the system?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (33:00)
Garrett Salpeter: (33:00)
That’s awesome. That’s really cool. So we’ve talked a lot about tape; Rock Tape, however, has additional products. Can you just speak for a moment about some of the other products that you use? From what I can tell, they all fit into this same neurological framework. So can you speak to other products and kind of how you use them at a high level?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (33:22)
Yes. We’ve been fortunate enough, obviously the company is called Rock Tape—so we’re probably best known for our kinesiology tape brand. But over the first couple of years of our development, I wanted us to be more of a movement-based company where we would provide products and education to be able to help people move more effectively, and tape fit that mold very well. But we had the opportunity to start creating and innovating on some other products. So the other products in our toolkit, instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation tools or stem tools. These are the stainless steel tools that many people use in the market already. We just made our version of these tools, which we think are just if not more effective, and we created an education platform around them. We have other soft tissue manipulation tools, our version of traditional cupping therapy or decompression therapy, as well as compression therapy. We’re using a latex rubber band to wrap an area with compression and shear to be able to influence pain, swelling, and movement.
Garrett Salpeter: (34:40)
And with all these, when you’re teaching these at your certification, again, it’s through that neurological lens that you’re talking about the receptors and their effect on the nervous system and brain.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (34:49)
Yes. I think the reason is traditionally this goes all the way back to tape, but traditionally most manual therapies. They’re taught with a mechanical lens, meaning that we’re affecting this tissue, breaking down the fascia, disrupting the scar tissue, or breaking up the scar tissue. And the evidence is heavily leaning towards the sides, suggesting that we’re probably not doing what we think we’re doing mechanically. And so now we’re starting to get a better understanding because of better testing that these types of manual therapies are affecting the individual neuro psychosocially. That’s again, going back. And so that’s kind of our delivery of the message is. Yes, we are mechanically influencing the tissue, but more importantly, this is what’s happening neurologically, which is probably providing the output or the outcome that you’re all observing.
Garrett Salpeter: (35:45)
That’s awesome. For any clinicians who have the Neubie out there, I can tell you that we’ve used it, and many actually already do use Rock Tape and other products. And I’ll say that we’ve found that they work very well within this same model. We’re all speaking the same language here about how we can provide the right inputs into the nervous system to reduce the perception of threat, to reduce the protective responses that limit performance, that keep the body locked in cycles of pain or dysfunction, and that delay the healing process, you know, after injury. I think that everything that you’re describing, all your products work really well in combination with our concepts and with the Neubie. So I’m delighted that you were able to come on the show and share this.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (36:32)
Garrett Salpeter: (36:33)
Can you just, for everyone listening, talk a little bit about your experience with the Neubie?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (36:37)
Yes. Well, just from your point, I got introduced to you by a mutual friend, Joe Dye, and Joe said we had to meet because, you know, our message as it as it pertains to our specific therapeutic interventions was similar and at that time, interesting enough, I was experiencing a shoulder complaint post-surgical reconstruction, and I was having some neurological symptoms that I wasn’t able to manage with my traditional toolkit, which is all the tools that I just referenced. So to your point, this synergistic, you know, combination of interventions for some, including myself, could be the answer. And so, I wasn’t planning on this when I initially met you, but when I came here and you explained the technology that you have, you were thankfully, able to get me some experience with it, and it made a dramatic change in my acute symptoms. I was having these neurological numbness and tingling symptoms in my distal extremities, my hands in particular, for weeks, if not months, prior to meeting you. So, I had attempted to intervene. It wasn’t effective, but the combination of the Neubie therapy and my home care seemed to get me through within, what was it? Three or four treatments at best.
Garrett Salpeter: (38:10)
Over about two weeks or something?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (38:11)
Yes. It wasn’t very long. So I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to learn more about the technology personally, which has made a big difference.
Garrett Salpeter: (38:20)
Awesome. I’m so glad you moved to Austin.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (38:22)
So am I.
Garrett Salpeter: (38:24)
That’s great. Well, if anyone wants to learn about your work with Rock Tape, I mean, what’s the best place? Is it, you know, find you on Instagram, go to the Rock Tape website, like, what’s the best place to follow up and find more information.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (38:37)
Well, the right answer is to go to the website, www.rocktape.com. But as many of the viewers and listeners to this that, you know, many people go to social and try to find, we do have a social entity on all the platforms. Me personally, I’m kind of identified, I guess self-identified. I put like name myself, the Fascia Doc. And the reason that I name myself that is that I’m very intrigued by this layer of connected tissue that I’ve been referencing just underneath the skin, which is generally identified as fascia. And this network of tissue is another medium, if you will, to talk to the brain. And we’re learning more and more about it over the last decade, and I’ve just been diving deep into it. And so Fascia Doc allows me the opportunity to kind of share, you know, my viewpoint of what the research is telling us and what we’re learning, you know, therapeutically in clinics. So that’s what I share on that platform.
Garrett Salpeter: (39:42)
And some funny memes.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (39:43)
Yes. That’s the secondary part of mine. I want to educate you on what I’m learning about fascia, and I want to make you giggle. And that’s the story.
Garrett Salpeter: (39:53)
You get me to giggle from time to time. It’s good. And so when people find you, they’ll see the pig.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (39:58)
They’ll typically see.
Garrett Salpeter: (39:59)
That’s about the pig. What’s the little pig picture of it?
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (40:01)
Yes. Sometimes I regret even calling it that, or, you know, using this as a handle. But there’s a statement that’s used that’s called “Be the Pig.” And I’ve been using it for quite some time because it resonated with me when I first learned about what this expression meant be the pig is referencing if you had a plate of bacon and eggs, a traditional breakfast plate of bacon and eggs. What it’s referencing is that the chicken, as it relates to making that meal, was just involved in laying the eggs, but the pig was totally committed. And that might be gruesome for some people to hear, but what be the pig signifies is that be committed to everything that you do. So when I tell someone to “be the pig,” I want them to be committed, as committed as I am to helping people move.
Garrett Salpeter: (40:53)
Well, you’ve gone all in on the Rock Tape education and you’ve made a massive impact. Thanks for coming on and sharing some of it. And for everyone listening, I can’t say enough about Capo here and the work that he’s done and the quality of their products and education, and it’s so complimentary to what we’re doing that I’m just, you know, really excited to be able to have you on the show and to be able to use your stuff here alongside the Neubie.
Dr. Steve Capobianco: (41:18)
That’s great. Well, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Garrett Salpeter: (41:20)
Thank you. And thanks to everybody for tuning in to this episode of The Undercurrent Podcast.
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