What is Kinesiology tape?
Kinesiology tape is an elastic cotton tape, with an adhesive backing. It can be used to treat injuries, assist with rehab and improve athletic performance.
What does it do?
Kinesiology tape has several purposes, but the main three things it's thought to do are to reduce pain at the site of injuries, improve activation of muscles and promote blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
Most athletic tapes and taping techniques involve a tight application that restricts movements and provides a rigid support. They are generally worn for no more than a few hours during athletic activities due to the restrictions in movement and circulation. Kinesio tape is different; its elastic properties allow the athlete to still move through a full range of movement whilst providing dynamic support to joints and muscles.
Why would I use it?
To relieve pain: the lifting action of the tape can relieve pressure on pain receptors under the skin. The lifting of the skin can also aid lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling and pressure in the area. The application of the tape can also stimulate other nerves which may help with reducing persistent pain.
To reduce swelling and improve circulation: as previously mentioned, the lifting action can improve lymphatic drainage which helps to reduce swelling and remove waste and damaged cells form an area. The same action can also improve blood flow which may improve the healing of soft tissues.
To improve movement: if applied appropriately the tape may activate stretch receptors in the skin, which in turn causes increased muscle tension in the underlying muscles.
To aid return to sport: a combination of the effects above can ultimately aid a quicker return to sport or work. The use of kinesiology tape in the recovery process and improving muscle activation allows for a better and more effective rehab programme for return to activities.