Kinesio taping techniques are all the rage in sports medicine right now, thanks to a popularity lift from world-wide Olympians. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a clinic specializing in sports injury treatment that isn’t adopting the practice. But if you’re new to the world of competitive sports, you may find yourself asking "What is Kinesio taping" or "How does Kinesio tape work?" Hopefully, this will answer your questions.
What is Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio tape is a cotton and acrylic tape applied to muscles for rehabilitation purposes. As opposed to more traditional tapes used in sports injury treatments, Kinesio tape allows for a full range of motion for your muscles while supporting them against strains and pulls.
How Does Kinesio Tape Work?
It’s the Kinesio taping techniques that get the most credit here, though the specialized tape itself certainly plays a part. It was designed as a muscle pain treatment for athletes. It helps to rehabilitate weak and overused muscles, stabilize the injured area, and decrease pressure caused by inflammation in the muscles and joints. It also decreases the amount of time needed for sports injury treatments and recovery. The tape itself is porous, which allows for it to be used for longer periods of time, because it doesn’t come off in the shower or if you sweat.
How do You Use It?
A licensed medical professional who focuses on muscle pain treatment, such as a doctor who specializes in sports medicine, a physical therapist or a chiropractor, places the tape over the affected areas of the body, from one end of the stretched muscle to the other. Then, depending on the muscle and the injury, the tape is placed in specific patterns on the skin. The tape then "pulls" on the skin, which creates some space between the muscle and the skin, allowing for increased blood flow.
A New Kind of Sports Injury Treatment
The current trend in chiropractic care to use Kinesio taping techniques has garnered a tremendous amount of positive feedback. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong even credits the technique as beneficial in one of his books.
The space created by the "pull" of the tape works effectively as a muscle pain treatment because it relieves pressure on nerves. When an athlete’s nerves are too compressed, the impulses sent to your muscles from your brain are overtaxed. Kinesio taping techniques ease that pressure, which means that your muscles receive the right signals – in the right amount – from your brain. This cuts down the pain, stress, and recovery time needed for more traditional sports injury treatments.
It’s also possible that Kinesio taping techniques affect the deeper tissues in your body, because they allow for increased fluid flow in the muscles. The muscles perform better, resulting in less strain and fatigue – which means that deeper tissues are under less pressure. Less pressure and greater fluidity means less aches and pains deep in the tissues of the body. These same techniques have been used for sports injury treatments for joints, too, as the methods work in the same way.
If you’re looking for non-invasive form of medical pain treatment, this is a great way to go. Kinesio taping techniques vary from injury to injury, so it’s best to outline a plan with a medical professional about what will work best for you.