Kinesiology tape is a latex-free tape that is wearable for days at a time and is used successfully to treat numerous orthopaedic, neuromuscular, neurological and other medical conditions. Kinesiology taping is rehabilitative and aims to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without reducing the body’s range of movement.
This taping method targets receptors within the somatosensory system, reducing pain and aiding lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. The lifting affect of the tape helps to form convolutions in the skin, increasing the interstitial space permitting a reduction of inflammation of the affected area.
Kinesiology tape is specifically applied to the patient based on their needs. Clinical assessment and evaluation dictates the application of the tape. The tape is applied in many shapes and directions with varying amounts of stretch placed on the tape. The application of the tape can help re-educate the neuromuscular system, decrease pain and inflammation, enhance performance, prevent injury and promote circulation and healing.
How is Kinesiology Tape different from Conventional Strapping Tape?
Kinesiology Tape is different from other types of strapping tape in both form and function. The majority of tapes used in strapping are non-elastic and are applied firmly around an injured joint or muscle to provide rigid support and restriction of movement. These types of tape can only be worn for brief periods and then need to be removed to restore movement and circulation.
Kinesiology tape has unique elastic properties that allows for dynamic support, while still enabling safe and functional range of motion. The tape is applied directly over and/or around injured joints and muscle groups, rather than being wrapped completed around the injured area.
Kinesiology tape can be worn for 3-5 days due to its non-restrictive application, allowing the therapeutic benefits to accumulate during the duration that is worn for. It can be worn during intense exercise, swimming, showering and bathing.
What are the Benefits of Kinesiology Taping?
Kinesiology taping has a wide variety of therapeutic benefits, as it can be left on for up to 5 days.
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, allowing for quick relief from acute injuries. Chronic pain is affected through sensory stimulation of other types of nerve fibres. It 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. This applies not only to sporting injuries, but to other inflammatory conditions.
3. Prevention or Relief from Spasms and Cramping
Enhanced circulation to working muscles helps deliver oxygen and nutrients at the cellular level as well as aid in the removal of waste products. Both of these mechanisms can help prevent , reduce and relieve spasms and cramps in overused or injured muscles.
4. Speedier Recovery of Overused Muscles
Fatigued, overused muscles contain byproducts of exercise (e.g. lactic acid) that can contribute to pain and stiffness, limiting the ability to continue exercising. Applying kinesiology tape to these areas, can enhanced removal of these byproducts allowing a 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 allows 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. One of the major uses in this category is with infants and young children with hypotonia, poor muscle tone that limits their ability to learn to sit up, crawl, etc.
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.