What is Kinesiology Tape?

With the Olympics now in full swing, you may have noticed a lot of athletes wearing colourful or even patterned taped that runs in various directions along their body.

So what is this tape called and what is it used for?

The tape is known as Kinesiology Tape, and despite its recent use, especially in the Olympics amongst athletes, it was actually invented around 30 years ago by a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist in order to facilitate muscle and tissue healing. Since then kinesiology tape has been used to help with swelling, improve circulation, postural awareness, muscle relaxation, muscle activation, increase range of movement, reduce pain and protect injured tissues by offloading them.

The tape itself is very flexible which allows it to move freely with the skin and tissue, without restricting movement. The desired effect of the tape is a direct result of the way it is applied to the body – namely the direction and tension.

For example – applying tape with moderate stretch helps to activate muscles whereas light stretch helps to relax the muscle. Sometimes you may see a fanning of the tape and this is commonly used for swelling.

So how does the tape work?

When the tape is applied it causes the underlying skin to fold and wrinkle this pulls the skin away from the underlying tissues. This lifting of the skin increases the space between tissue (e.g. muscle) and skin therefore decreasing pressure in the region and on pain firing nerves resulting in pain reduction. It also allows increased blood flow to the area to help with regeneration of the injury site and drainage of swelling.

The tape is durable, water resistant, hypoallergenic and can last for several days making it a viable treatment. There are over 1200 applications to help achieve various outcomes. You may see kinesiology tape commonly used when treating back pain, headaches, heel pain, golfer’s or tennis elbow, ITB syndrome, shin splints, muscle soreness or even following a “corky.”

If you think kinesiology tape could be of benefit to you, book in to see one of our physiotherapists through our simple Online Booking system