Kinesiology Taping – What Is It and Can it Help You?

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In 1979, a Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase, developed an innovative treatment that keeps injured muscles moving and circulation flowing. He later named this therapeutic tape kinesiology tape or kinesio tape for short. 

Since then, this method has been used alongside other therapies by physiotherapists, acupuncturists, sports therapists, and chiropractors. Athletes all around the world start wearing Kinesiology tape in international competitions, including U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh in the 2008 summer Olympics, which generated immense buzz about this colourful therapeutic tape. 

So, what is kinesiology tape? Is it only useful for athletes? 

What Is Kinesiology Taping?

Kinesiology tape is not like your old school athletic tape. Traditional athletic tape is wrapped around a sprained or injured muscle to immobilize it and prevent further injury. However, it also interferes with circulation and the body’s natural healing process. 

Kinesiology taping takes an entirely different approach. Kinesiology tape is made of a thin, porous cotton fabric that allows the skin to breathe and has an elasticity comparable to that of human skin. It allows full range of motion and aids circulation while providing effective stabilization for the injured muscle or tendon. When applied directly to the injured area, movement causes the tape to pull the skin and connective tissue away from the muscles underneath, creating space for blood and lymphatic fluid circulation. 

The four major functions of kinesiology tape include: 

  • Muscle support- With the correct taping technique, kinesiology tape can improve the muscle’s ability to contract, reduce pain and fatigue, and protect the muscle from over-extension, over-contraction and cramping. 
  • Fluid flow support- Kinesiology tape encourages blood and lymphatic circulation and, in turn, reduces inflammation and swelling. 
  • Pain relief- reduction in fluid build-up alleviates pressure on local pain receptors 
  • Alignment support- Kinesiology tape improves proprioception, which is our innate sense of our body’s position in space. It helps re-educate and realign tightened muscles to prevent re-injury in the future. 

Kinesiology tape can aid healing in all areas of the body, from the shoulder and neck to the calves and ankles. However, the tape is only beneficial when applied with the correct technique. Before attempting taping, make sure you get informed and learn the taping method from a professional, or else you can do more harm than good.

Kinesiology tape usually comes in rolls, which you can cut to the shape and length you need. Some popular shapes include “X,” “Y,” “I,” and “fan”. The specific muscle group you’re treating will determine the shape, size and length you need. There are also pre-cut kinesiology tapes on the market, which provides ease and simplicity of use for every user, from novice to professional.

Can Kinesiology Tape Help You? 

There is no reason why the many benefits of kinesiology tape are only reserved for athletes. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists worldwide are now incorporating kinesiology tape into treatment plans for their patients. Kinesiology tape’s versatility makes it an excellent complement to other forms of treatment for common conditions such as shin splints, chronic knee or back pain, and general muscle soreness. 

However, it’s important to note that kinesiology tape is not a cure-all and cannot replace medical professionals’ help. Taping is not a permanent solution, but rather, it helps you address the root problem. It’s always recommended to consult a healthcare practitioner before taping. They will be able to assess whether you’re suitable for taping and show you how to do so with the correct technique. There are some circumstances when you should not use kinesiology tape, including: 

  • Open wounds- taping over a wound can lead to infection or skin damage
  • Active cancer- increased blood flow to a cancerous growth can be dangerous 
  • Deep vein thrombosis- increase in fluid flow can dislodge a blood clot, which can be fatal 
  • Diabetes- a person with advanced diabetes may have lost sensitivity in some areas and might not notice if there’s an adverse reaction to the tape 
  • Fragile skin- if your skin is prone to tearing due to a condition, medication, or age, you should avoid placing kinesiology tape on it

If you feel like a strained or injured muscle or tendon is holding you back, talk to your physiotherapist today to determine if kinesiology taping is for you. 

Author’s Bio

Kristy Ngai is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When she’s not working, you can find her playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.

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