How Using Kinesiology Tape Can Provide Relief And Support
Kinesiology tape has a long history, invented in the 1970s by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase, as a way to allow his patients to continue to heal after coming to his practice for treatment. The tape wasn’t publicly available until 1983, and over the last few decades, it has been found to be useful in an increasing number of applications.
How Kinesiology Tape Works
The original purpose of the tape is to give your joints and muscles stability and support while minimizing any reduction in range of motion. While an injured area can be assisted in the healing process by kinesiology tape, a healed injury tends to be weaker than a previously uninjured counterpart, and some athletes continue to use kinesiology tape on the affected areas long after they have recovered. More recent uses of the tape include helping to reduce pain in inflamed muscles and providing helpful guidance on the acceptable range of motion for a muscle through the natural tension of the tape.
So how does kinesiology tape do all of this? It would be first helpful to know how the tape was designed to be different from other types of tape on the market. The most common type you will find is rigid athletic tape, a staple in any sports locker room. While this tape is excellent for support, it doesn’t have any flex whatsoever and cannot be worn for long periods of time, as this would result in irritation and blistering in the worst cases. Kinesiology tape is a cloth-based tape that was designed to be breathable, meaning it won’t trap perspiration under the tape. It is also a stretchy tape that allows it to move with your body instead of staying rigid. This helps to reduce irritation and allows you to wear the tape longer term: up to five days instead of a maximum of one like traditional athletic tape.
Kinesiology Tape and Pain Relief
In the case of pain relief, the natural flex of kinesiology tape is where it really shines. Inflamed muscles tend to expand and press into the skin, taking up more space than in their healthy state and putting pressure on the pain receptors found in your skin. The gentle stretch from kinesiology tape allows you to adhere it to the skin over your inflamed areas, gently pulling it away from your muscles and providing them extra room to move and breathe. This not only relieves some of the pressure from your pain receptors, but also allows for your muscles to work more like they are supposed to under normal conditions, decreasing rehabilitation time and providing instant relief. This can be done for any muscle on the body, which is why you will find athletes taping their shoulders, legs, arms, and even necks.
This natural tension is also an excellent guide when performing physical therapy exercises. There are some exercises that require you to move through the maximum range of motion you can, and applying tape to the right muscles with the right amount of stretch can indicate to you where you have reached your limits. This is also useful in the re-education of muscles to perform in intended ways, as some muscles may develop bad habits if they have been used poorly for extended periods of time. Applying tape to the appropriate muscle groups will give you a good indicator if you return to these bad habits, and urge you to fix them to release the tension in the tape.
To a lesser extent, kinesiology tape has also been used for supportive reasons where some range of motion is still desired, instead of being held completely firmly in place. The natural flex of the tape allows for this motion while still providing some element of support, and has been used on joints like elbows or knees to allow them some degree of flex while undergoing rehabilitation.
There are a number of different methods and shapes of tape that you can use on different areas, depending on your needs. Once you get a better understanding of what kind of support or guidance you need from the tape, you will be able to choose the right orientation of tape for you.
How To Apply Kinesiology Tape
Of course, kinesiology tape will only work if applied correctly. This is why it’s very important to consult your physical therapist or personal trainer to ensure that the tape is applied in the right places and at the right level of stretch to ensure maximal benefit. When applying the tape for the first time, it’s always a good idea to have your professional of choice apply the tape and show you how it’s done. Take along a recording device like a phone or a camera to take images of the process, which will allow you the benefit of pictures or video to fall back on when you are attempting to apply it yourself. Poorly applied kinesiology tape will provide very little benefit, which makes it vital you understand how it works, and why it gets applied in the places where you need it.
When used correctly, kinesiology tape has a wide variety of benefits, which can provide relief and support for large portions of your body. Feel free to experiment and see what different types of applications can do for you!
Colin Hegarty is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he’s not working, you can find him playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.