Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. Therapeutic kinesiology tape can benefit a wide variety of musculoskeletal and sports injuries, plus inflammatory conditions.Kinesiology tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows kinesio tape to be worn without binding, constricting or restriction of your movement. Kinesiology tape is used for treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders. For the first decade after its introduction practitioners in Japan were the main users of the therapeutic kinesiology tape. By 1988 the tape had been adopted by Japanese Olympic and professional athletes before spreading across the world. You would have noticed that more and more professional athletes use kinesiology taping improve their sporting performance, prevent injury and allow them to return to sport quicker.
How is Kinesiology Tape Different from Conventional Strapping Tape?
Kinesiology tape differs from other types of strapping tape in both form and function. Most types of strapping tape are non-elastic, and are wrapped tightly around an injured joint or muscle to provide rigid support and restrict movement. They can only be worn for short periods of time, after which they must be removed to restore movement and circulation.
Kinesiology tape, on the other hand, has unique elastic properties that allow it to provide dynamic support, protecting muscles and/or joints, while still allowing a safe and functional range of motion.
Rather than being wrapped completely around injured joints or muscle groups, kinesiology tape is applied directly over and/or around the periphery of these areas. This non-restrictive type of taping allows most applications to be worn for 4-5 days, allowing therapeutic benefits to accumulate 24/7 for the entire time they’re worn.
Kinesiology tape can be worn during intense exercise, showering, bathing or swimming, and dries quickly after a quick pat with a towel.
How Does It Reduce Swelling?
Kinesiology tape helps you to reduce swelling and bruising by lifting the skin away from the swollen tissue below. Essentially the elasticisedproperties of kinesio tape creates a sub-dermal vacuum that assists your lymphatic and venous drainage systems to work more efficiently.
You can partially replicate this holding your skin and lightly pulling together your fingers. The result will be an "orange-peel" appearance, loose skin and lots of remove below your skin for the swelling drainage to occur.
Benefits of Kinesiology Tape
As previously mentioned, your muscle strength may be assisted by kinesiology tape via physical assistance and tactile feedback through the skin e.g. proprioception boost. This phenomenon may assist both the able bodied athlete to enhance their performance and hypotonic eg children with low muscle tone.
Kinesiology provides a passive lift to your skin via its elastic properties. This vacuum effect allows your lymphatic and venous drainage systems to drain and swollen or bruised tissue quicker than without the kinesiology tape.It is also thought that this same principle can assist the removal of exercise byproducts like lactic acid that may contribute to post-exercise soreness eg delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
There is an art to application of kinesiology tape. You should seek the advice of a physiotherapist trained in the application of kinesiology tape for the most effective techniques and what kinesio tape is best for you.