Kinesiology Tape? ...... Does it work? Is it just for Sports?
As an Osteopath I see a wide range of people from the everyday Jo to the Elite athletes. Osteopathy is all about treating the person and not necessarily an injury, therefore helping the person to be perform better in daily tasks and protect themselves against injury. To aid in the prehab and rehab of my patients I use a wide range of tools and techniques. One of these tools is kinesiology tape, this is the bright colour tape you may see sports men and women using in competition. But, kinesiology tape has many more uses than just helping sports people.
What Is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape or K-tape is a thin, stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. Therapeutic kinesiology tape can be applied to anyone as it is used to aid people with a variety of musculoskeletal and sports injuries plus can be used to reduce inflammation. Kinesiology tape is designed to not be constricting or restricting on your movement.
For the first decade after its introduction practitioners in Japan were the main users of the therapeutic kinesiology tape. By 1988 the tape had been adopted by Japanese Olympic and professional athletes before spreading world wide.
You may notice that more and more professional athletes use kinesiology taping to improve their sporting performance, prevent injury and allow them to return to sport quicker. Most literature on kinesiology tape uses professional athletes as an example but a fellow sports Osteopath (Matt Wallden) describes everyone as an athlete as we all move and all have the ability to raise our heart rate. Therefore we are athletes the only difference between the everyday Jo and elite athletes is the fitness levels.
Benefits of Kinesiology Tape
Kinesiology tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. Kinesiology tape can usually be left on for several days up to a week, therefore these therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24 hours a day, which significantly accelerating the healing process from traumatic injuries and inflammatory conditions.
Kinesiology has been researched to have the following benefits:
1. Pain Relief (via structural support for weak or injured body parts)
Kinesiology tape is a flexible elastic tape that moves with your body. This provides support to your body parts without the tape slipping or restricting your movement. By supporting your body part, kinesiology tape is able to provide you with pain relief and muscular support to help control body parts affected by muscle inhibition.
Your muscle strength may be assisted by kinesiology tape via physical assistance and tactile feedback through the skin e.g. proprioception boosting. This phenomenon may assist both the able bodied athlete to enhance their performance and hypertonic e.g. children with low muscle tone.
3. Swelling Reduction
Kinesiology provides a passive lift to your skin via its elastic properties. This vacuum effect allows your lymphatic and venous drainage systems to drain and swollen or bruised tissue quicker than without the kinesiology tape.
It is also thought that this same principle can assist the removal of exercise byproducts like lactic acid that may contribute to post-exercise soreness e.g. delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Conditions or problems which kinesiology tape may help are:
low muscle tone