Have you ever watched the Olympics and seen strips of colorful tape adorning the athlete's arms, legs or backs?
No, it's not a fashion statement. It's kinesiology tape and is used by both elite athletes and regular people.
Kinesiology tape was invented by a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase in 1979.
But how does kinesiology tape work? Read on to get answers to this and other questions.
What is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape is a latex-free very stretchy, thin, water-resistant, flexible strip with medical-grade adhesive on one side.
This tape will stay on the body for several days in a row, even if the wearer has showers, baths and does intense workouts.
Kinesiology tape was designed to mimic the human skin. It is similar in thickness and elasticity.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?
Kinesiology tape (sometimes called K-tape) provides support to joints and muscles in order to enhance the healing process.
Kinesio taping allows a physiotherapist or chiropractor to manipulate the muscles and joints at home in addition to the work done during physical therapy exercises.
Who Should Use Kinesio Taping?
Lots of people benefit from the use of Kinesio taping. It's easy to apply and is extremely versatile for many applications.
Runners, athletes at all levels, people with joint or muscle pain and pregnant women are examples or those who benefit from kinesiology tape.
Doctors might also recommend kinesiology tape for people suffering from injuries and chronic conditions.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?
As we mentioned earlier, the tape mimics the skin’s elasticity. This allows you to keep your full range of motion while wearing k-tape.
The adhesive is strong enough to stay on the skin for five days or longer. When you apply this tape to the skin, it pulls the skin to create a tiny amount of space between the skin and the tissues underneath.
Benefits of Using Kinesiology Tape
There are many benefits to using Kinesiology tape.
Creates Space in Joints
K-tape creates needed space in joints when there is inflammation and irritation. A study found that when kinesiology tape was applied to 32 participants over the knee, it increased space in the knee joint.
This little bit of space causes relief of knee pain (or any other body part the tape is applied to). And this space allows the body to begin repairing the damage that's there.
Improves Circulation Inside the Body
The space created by the application of k-tape also improves the circulation in the affected area. The more circulation, the faster your body can reduce swelling in the injured area.
A recent study found that Kinesio taping can improve blood flow in the skin and also improve circulation of lymphatic fluids. The circulation of lymphatic fluid is important because the lymphatic system is how your body regulates swelling and fluid buildup.
The space k-tape creates changes in the pressure gradient under your skin. That pressure change enhances the flow of these vital lymphatic fluids.
As a result, your bruises may heal faster. Some people report that the area under k-tape is less bruised than the surrounding area that didn't have tape when they remove the tape.
We mentioned swelling when we talked about circulation. But it deserves repeating because of how vital this benefit of k-tape is.
The vacuum effect of Kinesio taping allows your veins and lymphatic system to drain those swollen areas.
After intense exercise, many people experience delayed onset muscle soreness. This is due to a build-up of lactic acid in the body. Kinesiology tape also helps remove lactic acid the same way that it reduces swelling.
That's why many athletes use k-tape after training events to reduce post-workout pain and soreness.
Supports Weak Zones
One of the main reasons medical specialists such as physiotherapists use kinesiology tape is to help their patients get extra support to specific joints and muscles.
If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis, patellofemoral stress syndrome, IT band friction syndrome, or bad posture, K-tape may be the solution.
Kinesiology tape takes the pressure off the weak zones that have been overworked. And it also provides structure to muscles that need it.
In fact, studies show that when K-tape is used on tired muscles, athletic performance tends to improve.
Retrain Lazy Muscles
One of the main reasons people experience pain and visit a physical therapist or chiropractor is because one or more groups of muscles have lost their proper function. Or those muscles have gotten accustomed to working in an unhealthy way.
Kinesiology tape can help retrain muscles in order to correct posture, make a specific muscle fire and stop one group of muscles from overcompensating for weak ones.
Even the physical sensation of the tape against your skin can help you become more aware of the way you sit, stand, and walk. You are more likely to recall the good posture and positioning your medical specialist has shown you.
Final Thoughts on Kinesiology Tape
There you have it! A detailed guide on the way kinesiology tape works, what it is used for and the many benefits.
Now you know the answer to the question, 'how does kinesiology tape work?' and can explain it to others.
Remember, you only have one body. It's vital that you take care of it and help it work at the optimal level.
At Carolina Active Health Chiropractic, our goal is to provide quality, holistic, and individualized care to improve your quality of life in any way we can. Contact us today to discuss how we can help.