It seems like more and more athletes are competing with colored tape on various parts of their bodies. What is that tape and what is it used for?
The tape is called Kinesio or Kinesio Tex tape. They are still doing research as to the exact benefit of utilizing this tape, but many athletes believe it has medical benefits. Kinesiology is the scientific study of human body movement. It addresses physiological, biomechanical, and psychological dynamic principles and mechanisms of movement.
The tape was developed in the late 1970’s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor who wanted a tape that provided support but did not limit movement the way traditional athletic tape does. It is believed to have benefits in creating space in joints, may change pain pathways in the nervous system, may improve circulation of blood and fluids, treating injuries, supporting weak zones of muscles or joints, enhancing performance and protection in athletes, and possibly managing scars.
The tape is very stretchy blend of cotton and nylon and is designed to mimic the skin’s elasticity allowing for a full range of motion. It has medical-grade adhesive, is water resistant, and is strong enough to stay on for three to five days, even while you work out or shower.
When the tape is applied to your body, it recoils slightly, gently lifting your skin. It is believed that this helps to create a microscopic space between your skin and the tissues underneath it stimulating circulation through its tug on skin which starts clearing out the damage.
Although the effectiveness of kinesiology taping is not well researched, it may provide support, increase circulation, reduce pain, and improve the way your joints and muscles work. Before using it, you should talk to a physical therapist as it is most useful in combination with other treatment methods. It is also best to have it applied the first time by a therapist or someone experienced with the taping in order for you to learn exactly how to apply to achieve the greatest benefit. Ultimately, it is not just the latest fad or cool style; you need to be taping with a purpose working toward not needing the tape.