Tape Up Your Injuries with Kinesiology Tape
Brightly colored or patterned kinesiology tape has shown up on professional athletes everywhere since its prominence at the 2008 Olympics. Curious to learn more about what this tape can do? Keep reading to find out more!
What Is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape is used to help relieve pain in muscles, joints, and ligaments, and can be used to support functional motion. The unique design of KT tape differs from athletic tape because it is made of cotton fibers which makes it more pliable than athletic tape. This allows it to support movement of the body and range of motion, rather than restrict it.
What Does Kinesiology Tape Do?
Kinesiology tape is used for a variety of ailments including:
- Pain relief
- Speedier recovery
- Reduction of swelling and inflammation
- Healing of bruises/contusions
- Prevention/relief od muscle cramping
- Provides support without restricting range of motion
How Does It Work?
The soreness that is felt when recovering from both daily exercise and an injury is both from lactic acid (a normal byproduct of muscle metabolism), and the result of the lymphatic system activating to repair the damage. This is done through an influx of white blood cells, prostaglandins (lipid compounds), and fluid that is sent to the area to repair damage.
Dr. Kenzo Kase, the founder of the Kinesio Taping Method, noted that kinesiology tape helps with four major functions necessary for healing and improved movement. These are:
- Support the muscle through proper taping technique - when applied properly the tape can aide in helping affected muscles contract properly and/or prevent over-extension and over contraction.
- Remove congestion of body fluids – the unique design and placement of kinesiology tape improves blood and lymphatic circulation and reduces excess chemical buildup of tissue by lifting the skin between the muscle and dermis layers.
- Activate the endogenous analgesic system – the unique design of kinesiology tape helps to facilitate the body’s own healing mechanism.
- Correct joint problems – kinesiology tape helps to adjust misalignments that result from tightened muscles.
Kinesiology tape must be applied using proper technique for it to be effective. It is essential that tape is applied by a professional or someone who has spent the time necessary to learn how to apply it properly. Generally speaking, there are two different directions of application that can have different results:
- Starting from the tendons and extending towards the origin of the muscle, with no tension applied to the tape, provides relief and healing.
- Starting from the origin of the muscle, and extending towards the tendon, with light tension, provides support.