You may have seen professional athletes, dancers, gymnasts, and others who engage in extremely physical activities using a type of tape on various points of their bodies. It is sometimes colored and does not seem to inhibit range of motion. While it looks like tape, or maybe a very fancy bandage, it is actually a highly technical, specialized tape that is used to treat patients of all ages and activity levels. It is called Kinesio tape and it is often used by chiropractors to help treat certain injuries.
What is Kinesio Tape?
Kinesiology tape is a specially designed elastic tape applied directly to the skin for a therapeutic effect. It works by being applied over and around muscles to provide support or prevent over-contraction of the muscles, while still allowing for a full range of motion. Many tapes on the market today claim to reduce pain, support muscles and joints, reduce muscle tension, increase strength, improve performance, enhance or correct movement, and reduce swelling. The flexible tape mimics the performance and functionality of human skin. When placed on a body part, it helps to facilitate the body’s natural healing processes by lifting the skin away from the muscle fascia—creating space between the blood vessels, lymph, and nerves.
How Does Kinesio Tape Work?
The tape can stimulate or relax muscles, depending on the tension that it puts on the body when applied. When worn, it lifts the skin by microscopic increments which aids in lymphatic drainage.It also helps to decrease inflammation and swelling which reduces pressure in the area. This allows the blood and lymphatic fluid to flow freer and more effectively in and out of the affected area.When used correctly, Kinesio Tape can reduce inflammation, promote better circulation, prevent injury, facilitate healing, the re-educate the neuromuscular system. This helps the body return to homeostasis. It can be applied in many different configurations, but often the applications are a single “I,” “Y,” or “X.”
Methods of Taping
The Kinesio taping method is a systematic, therapeutic technique that offer a two-prong approach of supporting the patient and rehabilitating the condition or affected area. It can alleviate pain reduce swelling, providing relief to the patient. There are specific taping shapes that are specialized to address certain areas of the body as well as certain conditions. While it provides stability and support to the body’s joints and muscles, it does not restrict the range of motion. The technique is designed to address soft tissue injury by manipulating that area and facilitating healing.
Conditions Treatable by Kinesio Tape
There are many conditions throughout the body that can benefit from Kinesio taping. Chiropractors use it for:
Lower back strain
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Rotator cuff injury