“Something better than any laser, wrap, or electric massager…The Tape. It is a special hot-pink athletic tape that came from Japan and seemed to have special powers. Every morning before the stage, they would tape us all up, different parts of our bodies… George’s back, Chechu’s knees. Sometimes we’d be so wrapped up in hot-pink tape that we’d look like dolls, a bunch of broken dolls. But the next day the pain disappeared..it was gone.”
-Lance Armstrong, Tour de France champion
What is Kinesio Taping®
The Kinesio Taping Method has taken the Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine world by storm. Developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase nearly 25 years ago in Japan, Kinesio Taping has become the gold standard for therapeutic rehabilitative taping. Our proprietary method of taping uses a uniquely designed and patented tape for treatment of muscular disorders and lymphedema reduction.
The Kinesio Taping Method involves taping over and around muscles in order to assist and give support or to prevent over-contraction. The first technique gives the practitioner the opportunity to actually give support while maintaining full range of motion, enabling the individual to participate in physical activity with functional assistance. The second technique helps prevent overuse or over-contraction and helps provide facilitation of lymph flow 24 hours per day. It is most commonly used in the acute stage of rehabilitation. Correctional techniques include mechanical, lymphatic, ligament / tendon, fascia, space, and functional. Kinesio Tex Tape can be used in conjunction with other therapies, including cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, and electrical stimulation.
Kinesio Taping affects the activation of neurological and circulatory systems. Muscles are not only attributed to the movements of the body but also control the circulation of venous and lymph flows, body temperature, etc. Therefore, the failure of the muscles to function properly induces various kinds of symptoms. Consequently, so much attention was given to the importance of muscle function that the idea of treating the muscles in order to activate the body’s own healing process came about. Using an elastic tape, it was discovered that muscles and other tissues could be helped by outside assistance. Employment of Kinesio Taping creates a totally new approach to treating nerves, muscles, and organs.
Since the introduction of Kinesio Taping into the US, medical practitioners from PTs, ATCs, OTs, DCs, MTs, to MDs have recognized and embraced this effective, safe, and easy-to-use modality. The method and tape allow the individual to receive the therapeutic benefits 24 hours per day because it can be worn for several days per application. Currently, Kinesio Taping is used in hospitals, clinics, universities, high schools, and by professional sports teams.
Kinesio Taping® Method Concepts
Muscles constantly extend and contract within a normal range; however, when muscles over-extend and over contract, such as when lifting an excessive amount of weight, muscles cannot recover and become inflamed. When a muscle is inflamed, swollen or stiff due to fatigue, the space between the skin and muscle is compressed, resulting in constriction to the flow of lymphatic fluid. This compression also applies pressure to the pain receptors beneath the skin, which in turn communicates, “discomfort signals” to the brain; the person experiences PAIN. This type of pain is known as myalgia, or muscular pain.
To ensure that the muscles have free range of motion, elastic tapes with an elasticity of 130-140% of its original length are recommended for Kinesio Taping. This specific elasticity also will not allow an over stretch of the muscles themselves. It may look like conventional athletic tape, but tape and Kinesio Taping is fundamentally different. Kinesio Taping is based on a different philosophy that aims to give free range of motion in order to allow the body’s muscular system to heal itself bio-mechanically.
Kinesio Taping alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. The taped portion forms convolutions in the skin, thus increasing interstitial space. The result is that pressure and irritation are taken off the neural and sensory receptors, alleviating pain. Pressure is gradually taken off the lymphatic system, allowing it to channel more freely.
UNSTRETCHED. In this case, we stretch the skin of the affected area before application of the tape. This is done by stretching the muscles and joints in the affected area. After application, the taped skin will form convolutions when the skin and muscles contract back to their normal position. When the skin is lifted by this technique, the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid beneath the skin improves.
On the other hand, if joints or ligaments are injured, the tape should be STRETCHED before application to the skin. The damaged joints or ligaments are incapable of functioning normally and rely on stretched tape for correction. It is also important to note that while depending on the injury, tape is either stretched or not stretched, this does not mean that the actual application technique will change.
Tape can be applied as a single strip [I], or in the shapes of an “X” or “Y”, depending on the shape and size of the targeted muscle(s). The basic principle of therapeutic taping for weakened muscle is to wrap the tape around the affected muscle. Start from where the muscle begins [ORIGIN] and continue along the muscle, and finish where the muscle ends [INSERTION]. This particular application process is typically used for supportive purposes. As the muscle fibers contract, Kinesio Tex Tape supports the contraction by pulling and stimulating the skin and muscle back towards the point of origin.
For preventing cramping or over-contraction (overuse of muscles), tape should be applied from [INSERTION] to [ORIGIN]. If you are treating yourself without assistance, it is important to remember the basic principle of stretching the skin before application, no matter where the pain is located. For example, if the body-side of the forearm is the source of the pain, you should bend your hand back before applying the tape. Similarly, if the source of pain is the outside of the forearm, then the wrist should be bent forward. This principle must be strictly observed. For treatment of muscle pain, Kinesio Taping is ineffective unless the skin is stretched. This particular application process is typically used for acute conditions such as strain or sprain, muscle spasm, and edema from injury or surgical procedures. As the muscle fibers contract, the Kinesio Tex Tape will relax or slack said muscle.
Caution should be exercised to prevent lateral shearing forces particularly on elderly or individuals who have systemic illness, sensitive and/or traumatized tissue. Increased unindirectional pull on the skin can cause blistering or micro trauma increasing edema and hemorrhage. In addition over stimulation of pain and nociceptors of the skin may increase pain or produce itching.
Kinesio USA, LLC recommends consulting your physician/Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner prior to the use of Kinesio Tex Tape.
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