Kinesio tape is based on kinesiology, physiology and body mechanics. The technology of the Kinesiology tape was developed in Japan. It did not become popular until 1988 and is now used worldwide.
Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. It is used for a wide variety of musculoskeletal and sports injuries, plus inflammatory conditions. The use of Kinesio tape involves taping over muscles to minimize pain and inflammation, relax tired muscles that are suffering from overuse and to support muscle movement. The taping is non-restrictive and allows a full range of motion.
If used properly, you might not even feel it on your body. Your massage therapist, may stretch your skin lightly to apply the tape. For support, the tape is applied from the origin of the muscle to where it inserts. For rehabilitation purposes, the opposite direction is stretched and taped. The goal is to help the muscles work with proper biomechanics. In addition, the tape aids in proper blood flow and lymphatic drainage, further rehabilitating damaged muscle or aiding in avoiding injury.
What are the Benefits of Kinesiology Taping?
Kinesiology tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. Because it can be left on for up to 5 days, these therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24 hours a day, significantly accelerating the healing process from trauma, injuries and inflammatory conditions.
1. Pain Relief
Kinesiology taping relieves pain through both physical and neurological mechanisms. The lifting action of the tape relieves pressure on pain receptors directly under the skin. Chronic pain is affected through sensory stimulation of other types of nerve fibers.This is especially effective for pain that persists after an injury has healed or for pain that is out of proportion to the severity of an injury.
2. Reduced Swelling, Inflammation and Bruising
Reduced pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels enhances the removal of fluids and other materials that collect in an injured area. The lymphatic vessels are located at the level of skin, therefore, the tape lifts the skin, allowing more fluid to enter the vessels. This applies not only to sports injuries, but to other inflammatory conditions, including the extreme swelling of Lymphedema.
3. Prevention or Relief from Spasms and Cramping
Enhanced circulation to working muscles helps deliver oxygen and nutrients at the cellular level. This can help prevent or relieve spasms and cramps in overused or injured muscles.
4. Speedier Recovery of Overused Muscles
Fatigued, overused muscles contain byproducts of exercise (such as lactic acid) that contribute to pain and stiffness and limit the ability to continue exercising. When kinesiology tape is used over these areas, enhanced removal of these byproducts allows for more rapid recovery. This could translate into improved performance in endurance events or more complete recovery between repetitive, high intensity events.
5. Structural Support for Weak or Injured Body Parts
The unique elastic properties of kinesiology tape allow it to provide support to an injured muscle or joint, discouraging harmful movements while still allowing a safe, healthy range of motion.
6. Enhanced Strength and Muscle Tone in Weak or Injured Muscles
Loss of strength or muscle tone can result from pain, injury or a variety of neurological or muscular disorders. In these situations, the weakness can interfere with the ability to do the exercises that are critical to recovery or improving daily functioning. Kinesiology tape not only provides support to these areas, but it can also improve neurological muscle activation, allowing therapeutic exercises to be carried out more effectively.
7. Allows Athletes to Remain Active while Injured
This is one of the most important benefits of kinesiology tape for competitive athletes. Injuries can be taped to relieve pain, minimize inflammation and provide support for injured structures, without compromising a healthy range of motion. Except in the case of severe injuries, this can allow athletes to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal.