Kinesio taping is a therapeutic taping method that reduces pain and helps in preventing further injuries in the affected area. Most of you might think that the technique of taping is associated with treating sports injuries alone. But the truth is that Kinesio taping can be used for various other conditions.
Kinesio taping also referred to as kinesiology taping should be performed properly to reap the benefits. If you are unaware of how to use the Kinesio tape, you can contact your physical therapist to assist you.
What is Kinesiology Tape?
The term kinesiology describes the anatomical science that focuses mainly on the treatment of connective tissue, joints, muscles, and tendons. The entire Kinesio tape technology is designed in a certain way to balance body health and energy by stimulating the natural healing process of the body.
To maintain balance in the muscles and the surrounding tissues, your physical therapist will recommend a method that simply wraps the muscles and the surrounding tissues with a supportive material called Kinesio tape. The kinesiology tape is designed by a chiropractor named Dr Kenso Kase.
How A Kinesio Tape is Designed?
The Kinesio Tape is an elastic therapeutic tape made of cotton fibre and spandex with an acrylic heat-activated adhesive that is latex-free and hypoallergenic for people who may develop an allergic reaction to latex. The tape stretches only along its longitudinal axis and provides around 40-60% of elasticity.
The tape is designed in an effective way to get adhered to the skin with a medically approved, water- and sweat-proof adhesive. When applied to the skin properly, it stays there as long as the adhesive works, almost three to four days. The adhesive is waterproof and breathable, hence it is strong enough to stick to the skin even while showering or performing daily activities.
The Kinesio tape completely differs from an athletic tape even though many of us think that they both serve the same purpose. The kinesiology tape is a flexible tape that is used to improve mobility and reduce pain but an athletic tape is inflexible that is used to provide support by limiting mobility. The Kinesio tape is developed to increase circulation whereas an athletic tape decreases circulation as it is designed in a tightly bound manner.
How Does The Kinesiology Tape Work?
When the Kinesio tape is applied over the affected area or muscles, it will cause the skin to lift by recoiling slightly. It is believed that this creates a small space between the skin and the tissues below it. This space also contains several nerve receptors that transfer information to the brain.
During an injury, space gets reduced and the nerve receptors transfer that information to the brain. This information makes the brain transfer certain signals to the body on how to react to particular stimuli.
Kinesio tape changes the information about pain and compression in the body that are sent to the brain. This causes the body to be less reactive to the pain and remove the blocks that act as a hindrance to the process of healing.
The kinesiology tape helps to improve the circulation of lymphatic fluids and reduces inflammation. When the tape is applied over the skin, it creates extra subcutaneous space, which changes the levels of pressure in the area below the skin, thereby increasing the flow of lymphatic fluid. Changing the flow of lymphatic fluid speeds up the process of healing.
Different Shapes of Kinesiology Taping
Kinesiology taping can be applied in the shape of a ‘Y’, ‘I’, ‘X’, ‘Fan’, ‘Web’ or ‘Donut’. The physical therapist may select the shape of the Kinesio tape by examining the size of the affected muscle.
1) ‘Y’ tape is used to surround the target muscle and it should be 2 inches longer than the target muscle. It helps to prevent or stimulate muscle stimuli.
2) ‘I’ tape mostly treats oedema and pain. It corrects the alignment of muscles
3) ‘X’ tape is used when the origin and insertion of the target muscle changes depending on movement.
4) ‘Fan’ or ‘Web’ shaped tape treat oedema.
5) ‘Donut’ shaped tape also treats oedema. It uses overlapping strips and the centre is cut out over the area of focus.
Conditions Treated by Kinesiology Taping
Kinesiology taping treats the following conditions
- Tennis/Golfers elbow
- Herniated disc
- Muscle injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle sprain
- Knee pain
Benefits of Kinesiology Taping
Kinesiology taping is more effective when it is used in conjunction with other treatments like Manual Therapy. Its advantages are
- Increases muscle support
- Corrects the position of muscles and joints
- Reduces pain and muscle spasms
- Improves stability
- Decreases inflammation
- Increases blood circulation
- Improves athletic performance
- Treats the scar tissue after an injury
Kinesiology taping has been reported to have positive physiological effects on the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Most physical therapists recommend this method to treat pain, swelling and loss of motion. More research is needed in proving the complete benefits of kinesiology taping, but it has shown better results when combined with other physical therapy treatments.