Do you remember at the last Olympics when all the athletes had brightly colored tape wrapped around their bodies? It’s called Kinesiology tape, and although it’s been around since the late 70s, it’s only recently become big among American athletes. Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase first developed the tape in 1979 as part of his Kenso Taping method. His technique revolved around promoting the flow of blood around muscles by gently lifting skin and connective tissue.
So what exactly is kinesiology tape? It’s a soft, thin, porous, and very stretchy tape that’s designed to be as similar as possible to the elasticity of human skin. So while traditional taping methods immobilize muscles and impede circulation, kinesiology tape allows full range of motion. The approach is gentle and subtle.
What does the tape actually do? First of all, if applied properly, it supports the muscle, improving its ability to contract and protecting it from over-extension and over-contraction. When the body moves, the tape gently pulls the skin and it’s connective tissue away from the muscle, allowing for improved flow of blood and other bodily fluids. This can relieve inflation. Together, all of this helps activate the body’s natural healing mechanisms to correct joint problems.
It’s essential that kinesiology tape be applied correctly, otherwise it can cause more harm than good. There are several different taping patterns, and different muscle groups require different ones. Different situations also call for different levels of tension in the tape. In general, injured or overused muscles needing immediate pain relief should be taped with no tension. Chronically weakened muscles needing support should be taped with light tension. Remember to start at the origin of the muscle and extend the tape towards the connective tendons to the bone. It’s often very difficult to tape yourself up correctly, so consider finding someone to help.
What makes this therapy method work is the quality of the tape. Good tape has the perfect level of stretchiness, lets the skin breath, and can stay put for days through motion, sweating, and bathing. Here at Team Medical, we’re committed to providing quality medical equipment. We offer several brands of kinesiology tape: Rocktape, TheraBand, and the original Kinesio. Each of these is a trusted brand, and there’s a best option for every situation. For more information on our selection, check out the Team Medical website today.