How Does Kinesio Tape Work?
Kinesio tape is based on kinesiology, the science of anatomy, physiology and body mechanics. It is based on the idea that the body can heal itself, if enabled with appropriate support. You might see it on the shoulders of Olympic volleyball players or the calves of a suburban runner. The use of Kinesio tape involves taping over muscles to minimize pain and inflammation, relax tired muscles that are suffering from overuse and to support muscle movement. The taping is non-restrictive and allows a full range of motion, critical for athletes who are recovering from injury or seeking to avoid it. It must be applied by a professional who is trained; you can apply it yourself if you have been properly trained to do so and can reach and stretch the appropriate areas.
If used properly, you might not even feel it on your body. Your physical therapist or sports medicine practitioner stretches your skin lightly to apply the tape. For support, the tape is applied from the origin of the muscle to where it inserts. For rehabilitation purposes, the opposite direction is stretched and taped. The goal is to help the muscles work with proper biomechanics. In addition, the tape aids in proper blood flow and lymphatic drainage, further rehabilitating damaged muscle or aiding in avoiding injury.
Besides aiding with proper body mechanics, Kinesio tape also helps athletes mentally. Because the tape doesn't bind, an athlete can practice using the affected area to its full extent. And because the area is supported, pain is often minimized, making the athlete less fearful of movement. In addition, the removal of pain, or fear of pain, enables the athlete to relax and engage fully in the sport.
Who Can Use It
Kinesio tape was first used over 25 years ago after being developed in Japan by a chiropractor, and has spread rapidly from elite athletes to every day sports fans. It must be applied properly to be effective. Its use has been noted to resolve shoulder issues, headaches, plantar fasciitis, gastrocnemius tears and has almost unlimited potential to aid in rehabilitating and avoiding muscle injury. It does not contain latex. It can be worn while swimming and bathing and lasts for three to five days before retaping is required.
- running image by Byron Moore from Fotolia.com