The Science Behind Kinesio Tape
For over 35 years, kinesio tape has been used to treat various soft tissue sprains, strains, inflammation, and soreness. On any given day you can tune your TV to ESPN or some other sports network and see colorful strips of kinesio tape adorning your favorite NFL quarterback, NBA point guard, track runner, cyclist, tennis player, boxer, MMA fighter, wrestler, bodybuilder, or weightlifter. The science behind kinesiology tape is fascinating in itself. There’s far more to it than creating colorful tape art on a body. There is a method to the colorful chaos.
The Kinesio Reason
There is one truth that all athletes must accept: they will get injured sometimes. In fact, that applies to most people at some point(s) in their regular lives. When injury occurs, often athletes and other people turn to physical therapists and chiropractors for help with pain, inflammation, stiffness and mobility. Many of these accredited practitioners use kinesio tape to help with joint and muscle woes. The science of kinesiology tape is all about decreasing swelling, supporting tissues and structures, improving movement, and easing discomfort.
Taping: Then & Now
With the creation of standard elastic tape, physical therapists used it for compression and to restrict movement. The thought was that to prevent further injury and to allow proper healing, it was necessary to limit movement of the area. Kinesiology tape science works on a different premise. The tape has some flex and stretch to it to decompress, align and support connective tissues, enable some regular movement, provide appropriate stability and ease discomfort. The science behind it is in biomechanics. It lifts skin away from affected areas to allow blood and other fluids to flow easily and enhance the healing process.
It’s All About Movement
Kinesio tape features a reinforced yet flexible, elastic cotton weave. When applied, it contracts and expands as needed while providing support. When at rest, the tape maintains integrity with a separating action to ‘pull apart’ or decompress connective tissues, enabling movement and the flow of essential fluids while discouraging stiffness and atrophy. Movement is paramount to its effectiveness. The formula and makeup of kinesio tape differs from brand to brand, so be sure you buy the best kind for you.
Many people can learn how to apply kinesio tape, but to achieve best effect it should be noted that professionals in the fields of athletics, training, and physical therapy are better suited for the job. There are millions of fibrous strands of muscle in your body, along with numerous tendons, ligaments and other tissues. A professional can determine the cause of an issue and apply the tape in various locations and patterns as needed. As you may have noticed, some users can look like a work of colorful art.
Kinesio Tape Benefits
Kinesio tape has many benefits to offer athletes and the everyday person. If you suffer from sprains, tears, bruising, pain, or soreness (among a myriad of other ills), then kinesio tape could be for you. Allowing the body’s natural fluids, like blood and lymphatic fluid, to flow freely to taped areas can allow damage to heal faster. It can aid in pain relief and in decreasing bruising and swelling more rapidly. With its support for connective tissues, it can even lessen step impact which can help with pain management while allowing increased movement.
There is plenty of science behind kinesiology tape, along with great care and commitment by those who treat soft tissue injuries professionally. Give it a try for yourself. You have nothing to lose and much to gain.
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