Kinesio taping, or Kinesio Tex Tape, was developed in the late 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor who wanted a tape that provided support but didn’t limit movement as traditional athletic tapes do. The tape comprises a polymer elastic strand wrapped with 100% cotton fibers. It was designed to mimic the skin’s elasticity so you can use your entire range of motion. The tape’s medical-grade adhesive is water-resistant and robust enough to stay on for three to five days, even while you work out or take showers. When the tape is applied to your body, it recoils slightly, gently lifting your skin. It is believed that this helps to create a tiny space between your skin and the tissues underneath it.
What are the Benefits of Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio tape is proposed to have various benefits, including decreased muscle fatigue, increased muscle flexibility, decreased delayed-onset muscle aches, pain reduction, and enhanced healing, such as reduced edema and improved blood circulation. The tape is gentle enough to be used on a baby’s tender skin and aged individuals, sturdy enough to support working muscles, joints, or ligaments, and strong enough for athletes of all levels. Applied by practitioners, the Kinesio taping provides optimal stimulation based on movement, heat, and pressure, allowing the body’s natural healing system process to function.
How Does Kinesio Taping Work?
The Kinesio Taping Method is a therapeutic taping technique that alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. The lifting effect forms convolutions in the skin, increasing interstitial space, relieving pressure, and creating more space for lymph flow and drainage through an affected area.
This space also houses nerve receptors sending specific information to the brain. When the distance between the epidermis and the muscle is compressed, such as during an injury, these nerve receptors are compressed and send information to the brain regarding continuous touch, light touch, cold, pain, pressure, and heat. This information causes the brain to send specific signals to the body on how to react to stimulation.
Kinesio Tape alters the information the receptors send to the brain and causes a less reactive response, allowing the body to work normally. Therefore, removing roadblocks that generally slow down the healing process.
Also, Kinesio Tape can affect deeper tissues in the body. Increased space theoretically allows muscles greater contractility, pushing more fluid through the muscle, resulting in better muscle performance. The end results are reduced muscle fatigue, increased range of motion, and better quality of muscle contraction.
When not to use Kinesio tape
There are some circumstances in which kinesiology tape should not be used. They include the following.
- Open wounds. Using tape over a wound could lead to infection or skin damage.
- Deep vein thrombosis. Increasing fluid flow could cause a blood clot to dislodge, which might be fatal.
- Active cancer. Increasing blood supply to cancerous growth could be dangerous.
- Lymph node removal. Increasing fluid where a node is missing could cause swelling.
- Diabetes. If you have reduced sensation in some areas, you might not notice a reaction to the tape.
- Allergy. You could trigger a strong reaction if your skin is sensitive to adhesives.
- Fragile skin. If your skin is prone to tearing, you should avoid placing the tape on it.