Kinesio taping has become much more visible in recent years. You have likely seen athletes and gym-goers even pregnant women using the colorful muscle tape in strategic positions as a way of easing pressure on their joints and alleviating pain. Kinesio tape is a union of old-school pain management strategies and state-of-the-art medical technology, utilizing aspects of acupressure and strategic physical therapy by placing elastic therapeutic tape around problematic areas. The tape exudes a pulling force, allowing for free range of motion while still providing a therapeutic pressure to the targeted area.
Kinesio tape is specialized to react to body heat, providing added support by staying firm and in-place all day. The tape is cut to fit the area in need of reinforcement, and lasts all day. Unlike a standard ACE bandage, that will typically wear over time and not be as effective with later uses, the Kinesio tape is one-time use and designed to last all day—sometimes even longer!
Kinesio Taping for Injuries and Chronic Pain
Kinesio tape is most frequently used by athletes—especially those who engage in prolonged activities. Runners especially are drawn to kinesio taping, as the technique is incredibly low-profile and unlikely to get in the way of their running stride. However, kinesio tape can benefit many people outside of the athletic world, and certainly stretches beyond supporting runners.
Common conditions treated with kinesiology taping include:
- Back sprains and strains
- Neck aches
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee pain
- Sports injuries
Many pregnant women are also using this method of athletic taping, especially for their back, knees, and even lower abdominal muscles during the third trimester to alleviate some of the additional pressure on the body during pregnancy. Ensure that you talk with a physical therapist for guidance before attempting to use athletic taping for any reason, but especially before taking any action for pain relief when pregnant.
What is the science behind kinesiology taping?
The goal of kinesio tape is to enhance blood circulation at targeted areas, thereby reducing pain and improving recovery time following an injury. The taping creates a pulling action that helps to hold problematic joints and muscles in place as you go about your daily business and routine—including engagement in any level of physical activity or exercise.
The tape works by gently reinforcing the skin, pulling it away from your muscles, thereby allowing blood and other fluids to circulate more easily. The gentle pressure also cues the body to send additional blood to the taped area. This improved circulation lessens swelling and speeds healing. Some evidence suggests that the tape’s exceptional holding abilities also help to correct misaligned muscles and ligaments.
For kinesio tape to work effectively, the tape must be applied in strategic ways. Simply putting a bit of tape on your leg or elbow isn’t going to make much of a difference.