Watch an athletic event on TV, and you’ll see athletes taped all over their bodies with kinesiology tape. Elbows, shins, backs, shoulders and sometimes more than one body part on the same athlete is taped. But what is the tape supposed to do, and does it work?
Kinesiology is the science of muscular and skeletal movement. A strained or injured muscle or tendon can affect performance. For athletes or people who earn a living by physical labor, keeping your body injury- and pain-free is essential to performing well. Kinesiology taping is just one of the techniques that has come out of the latest scientific research being done on the body.
Athletes used to deal with an injury by wrapping the entire body part with a bandage. While this did help with stabilization and the prevention of further injury by impeding movement, it also restricted blood flow, which could impede the body’s healing process.
Kinesiology tape goes over the muscle, not around it, which helps to stabilize it while still allowing full movement. The tape lifts the skin and fascia (connective tissue) covering a muscle so that blood moves more freely around it. As a person moves, the tape, skin and fascia also move. This creates space for blood and lymphatic fluid to flow around the muscle, which cleanses the muscle or tendon and reduces swelling.
Dr. Kenzo Kase, the Japanese chiropractor who developed this method of kinesiology taping and who formed the Kinesio Taping Association in 1984, lists the following as the four major functions of Kenesio Taping:
- Supporting the Muscle – taping improves the muscle’s ability to contract even when weakened, reducing pain and fatigue and protecting the muscle from cramping.
- Removing Congestion to the Flow Of Body Fluids – taping improves blood and lymphatic circulation and reduces inflammation and excess chemical buildup in the tissue.
- Activating the Endogenous Analgesic System – taping facilitates the body’s own healing mechanisms.
- Correcting Joint Problems – taping improves range of motion and adjusts misalignments that result from tightened muscles.
The hypoallergenic tape, which comes in many different colors and patterns, is made of a thin cotton fabric with elastic fibers woven throughout. The adhesive is water-repellent and designed to withstand sweating and showering. A typical taping application will last for three to five days. It is important to know how to properly apply the tape, as it can do more harm than good if applied incorrectly. There are videos and tutorials available online, but your best bet is to visit someone who has become certified in the taping method. There are many brands of kinesiology tape on the market today, but RockTape has engineered their tape to enhance athletic performance while also preventing and treating muscle injuries. Their website also includes a search page to find a “RockDoc,” someone who is certified in the proper application of RockTape. To find one of these professionals, visit rocktape.com.
Be Well Tips
* Find a professional to properly apply the tape.
* Prevents and treats injuries.
* Stays on up to five days.
* Enhances performance for athletes and day-to-day activities.