03 Sep Kinesio tape
With it being so widely used in the recent London Olympics and its popularity with athletes increasing world wide, we will be seeing a lot more of the Kinesiology taping techniques being used in Sports Medicine. The tape itself goes by a few trade names such as Kinesio Tape (TM) or Rock Tape (TM). Kinesiology tape has actually been around since the late 70’s and early 80’s but it has only really gained popularity in the medical and sporting fields in the last few years.
What is it?
Kinesiology Taping works by taping around or over muscles with the intent to either assist and support (facilitate), or to relax the muscles. The use of the Kinesiology Taping Method requires a very thorough understanding of the human body’s anatomy and physiology, so whilst it can be used on almost anybody, it cannot be used by just anyone! Although it may look like conventional athletic tape, Kinesiology Tape is fundamentally different from traditional athletic tapes.
This is a method that relies as much on the technique of it’s application as it does on the properties of the tape itself. You can’t use simply any old tape with the Kinesiology Taping Method! The elastic tapes we use for Kinesiology taping have an elasticity of 130-140% of the original length of the tape – this is vastly different to normal strapping tape which has no elasticity at all. Having said that, we can teach you many of these techniques so you or a family member can tape your injury for you. You can also purchase the tape direct from us at SSPC.
One of the main principles of Kinesiology taping is to ensure that either the underlying skin, or the tape (or both) are stretched prior to application. So when you are taped, we will place the joint or area in its stretched position prior to applying the tape. Here is another fundamental difference to traditional taping, where the joints are usually taped in their neutral position which is actually the position of least stretch! One of the big advantages of this is that the joint will have significantly more movement and less restriction compared to normal strapping tape, which is fantastic if you are about to play sport.
How Does It Work?
Muscles constantly extend and contract within a normal range. However, when muscles over-extend or over contract, such as when lifting an excessive amount of weight, or playing sport, these muscles cannot recover and become inflamed. When a muscle is inflamed, swollen or stiff due to fatigue, the space between the skin and muscle is compressed, resulting in constriction to the flow of lymphatic fluid. This compression also applies pressure to the pain receptors beneath the skin, which in turn communicates “discomfort signals” to the brain. This type of pain is known as myalgia, or muscular pain.
Kinesiology Taping alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage (drainage of waste products produced by the body) by microscopically lifting the skin. The taped portion forms convolutions in the skin, resulting in less pressure and irritation on the neural and sensory receptors around the muscle and skin, alleviating pain. Pressure is gradually taken off the lymphatic system, allowing it to channel or flow more freely.
Another great advantage of this form of taping is that the tape is hypo-allergenic, meaning is has a very low risk of irritating the skin. Many people will leave this tape on for 5-7 days at a time.
So far the clinical results and feedback from patients has been excellent. As well as the advantages listed above, Kinesiology Tape now supplies us with a means of taping muscles, which was previously not very effective with rigid tape which was designed more to support and provide stability at joints.
Ask one of our physio’s if you have a muscular problem that you feel may respond to the Kinesiology Taping Method.