What Is Kinesiology Taping?
First used by acupuncturists and chiropractors in Japan, today kinesiology tape is used by a wide variety of health professionals throughout the world to treat injuries and pain.
How does it work?
Unlike traditional athletic tape that binds and doesn’t stretch, kinesiology tape is engineered to mimic the human skin. This stretchiness is the secret behind kinesiology tape. Kinesiology stretches up to 180% of its original length but has amazing ‘snap-back’ or recovery. This is what gives kinesiology tape its performance advantage over other tapes.
Kinesiology Tape can be used in a variety of ways to achieve different benefits:
When kinesiology tape is applied with little or no stretch on the tape but lots of stretch on the tissue it causes the skin to form convulsions and wrinkle. This creates a bio-mechanical lifting mechanism that decompresses the tissue just under the skin. It is believed that this decompression and having tape on our skin creates 3 main effects:
Fluid Effect: By causing decompression the tape promotes a more normal fluid dynamic in the taped area. Swelling is better able to flow out of the area, taking with it toxins which result from inflammation and injury. Also blood has less resistance to enter the area bringing with it more oxygen and nutrients vital for healing and recovery. This fluid effect is probably behind the dramatic improvement in swollen and bruised tissue that is often seen when kinesiology tape is applied.
Mechanical Effect: As pressure on the vertical layer cake of tissue between skin and bone is reduced more normal slide and glide mechanics between the layers of tissue is restored. It is likely that this is the mechanism that can make someone who can only bend as far as their knees touch their toes in an instant!
Neurological Effect: A lot of pain generated by movement or muscle contraction is generated by nerve endings in the space between the skin and muscle. As tape decompresses this space there is less pressure on these nerve endings so pain is reduced or stopped completely at its source. Having elastic tape stuck to your skin is also believed to stimulate receptors within the skin called Mechanoreceptors. These receptors play a part in our movement awareness, or what therapists call Proprioception. Many therapists believe that one of the main effects of applying kinesiology tape is to improve our Proprioception, which can both decrease pain and improve the way we move.
When kinesiology tape is applied with more stretch it can be used to support areas where tissue has been strained, torn, weakened or lengthened. By adding more elastic recoil to the taped area, functional stability and tissue ‘snapback’ are enhanced.