Kinesiology tape has grown in popularity in both active individuals and athletes alike. So what’s all the hype about? In this article we will answer the question, “how does kinesiology tape work?” We’ll start by breaking down the science behind it, explaining the benefits, and deciphering when it is recommended.
Kinesiology tape is defined as an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive designed for sticking directly to the skin. It comes in a variety of colors that correspond to different levels of both adhesion and stretch; providing anywhere from 10% to 90% stretch
Some brands offer precut strips for specific body parts while most offer different roll sizes that can be customized for individual use.
The premise from which kinesiology tape works is simple. The natural stretch found in the tape provides a gentle lift to the skin. This can have beneficial circulatory effects and provide additional sensory feedback to the problem area.
Even if kinesiology tape is simply applied directly to the skin without any stretch, the tape’s innate elasticity will provide approximately a 10% stretch to the skin. Additional stretch can be added to the tape simply by pulling on the tape as you lie it down on the skin. Most tape brands have built in wave-like lines that can help you ballpark the amount of stretch you are applying to the tape. How much stretch you will apply to the tape will depend on the area of the body you are addressing and what your overall goals are with the tape.
The jury is still out on what the true benefits are of kinesiology tape. This is because some of the claimed benefits are better researched and supported than others (some benefits often being attributed to the placebo effect). However, with all of the great stories, reviews, and research that can be found out there, it’s hard to deny that kinesiology tape can be a great option for helping address a wide variety of musculoskeletal issues. Here are the top potential benefits of using kinesiology tape.
When it comes to kinesiology tape application, it can go practically anywhere. It is most commonly seen across large muscle groups along the neck, spine, shoulders and hips. However, any injured or affected joint or muscle group could benefit from the application of kinesiology tape.
Since kinesiology tape is so versatile, when you’re deciding whether or not to give it a try, we recommend reviewing these potential contraindications for application.
Indications for kinesiology tape can include one or more of following:
There are some basic rules to keep in mind when applying kinesiology tape. These tips ensure the best possible comfort, efficacy, and longevity of your tape.
Kinesiology tape and a brace have relatively different functions. Both options can be used to offer support to a local joint that is sprained, unstable, painful, and/or hypermobile. Deciding what to use will depend on your long term goals
You may also consider the use of different types of tape that are more rigid, such as athletic tape or leuko tape. You can discuss which option is best for you with your doctor or therapist.
The opportunities for pain relief, injury recovery, and overall health management with kinesio taping are endless. In the end, kinesiology tape is a very cost effective tool that can be utilized to expedite your recovery goals with little to no risk to you. The real question to ask here is, why not give it a try? Depending on your problem area and local deficits, you can try several different techniques and see which option provides you the best outcomes. As always, if your symptoms suddenly change or get worse, always consult a professional for immediate medical advice.
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