Kinesiology Tape, or more famous as K-tape and Kinesio Tape, made its first appearance on athletes at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. It had a lot of people talking, wondering what this new trend is, but over the years kinesiology tape has been taking the medicine industry by storm for the treatment of sports injuries and is used mainly by physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other medical practices.
What is Kinesiology Tape and how does it work?
Kinesio Tape was found in the late 1970s by Dr Kenzo Kase, a chiropractor who wanted to provide the needed support to muscle and joints but not limit the movement like how normal tapes used by athletes do. A type of elastic to copy the elasticity of the human skin.
When watching sports many times you spot a colourful piece of tape on the athlete, that is Kinesio tape. You will mainly find it on the shoulders, back, knees, abs, hamstrings etc.
Kinesiology tape is a latex-free, hypoallergenic therapeutic tape. It is an elastic cotton tape with an acrylic adhesive that is also water-resistant. Kinesio Tape is supportive and helps to stabilize and improve proprioception, also to help correct joint misalignments. It helps to lessen pain, also to increase circulation and lymphatic flow. inflamed areas heal quicker when using Kinesio tape. The tape is used in therapy sessions to help overused muscles to relax and in rehabilitation to facilitate the underused muscles.
Many have claimed that the wave pattern found on the tape’s adhesive has a lifting effect on the skin which helps reduce swelling and inflammation by improving the circulation and also to reduce pain by taking the pressure off pain receptors.
So what Kinesio Tape does basically is to help assist the body’s own natural healing power to make it work more effectively.
What is Kinesiology Tape used for?
Kinesiology Tape is mainly used to:
- Treat injuries
- Support muscles and joints
- Re-educate the muscles
- Help with performance-enhancing
- Help managing scars
Benefits of Kinesiology Tape
- Reduces Pain
- Enhances blood and lymphatic flow
- Assists in return to normal muscle function
- Improves proprioception and corrects joint malalignment
- Quality of movement patterns is enhanced
When NOT to use Kinesio Tape
There will be some cases where using Kinesio Tape will not be advised to use, these cases are:
- Open Wounds: using tape over an open wound can lead to skin irritation and in some cases can lead to infection.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis: when fluid flow increases it can cause a blood clot to shift, which can lead to fatalities.
- Active cancers: Increasing blood supply to active cancer can be very dangerous.
- Lymph Node Removal: It can cause swelling when you increase fluid where the node is supposed to be.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause reduced sensations in some areas, making it harder to realize your skin is reacting badly to the tape.
- Allergy: If you are allergic to adhesive, it can cause a strong reaction.
- Fragile Skin: If you know your skin is prone to tearing, the tape will then severely damage your skin.
Applying the tape
- Remember to clean and dry the area first, lotions and oils are known to make the tape not stick like it is supposed to.
- If necessary, trim the hairs on the area where the tape will be placed. Fine hair will not be a problem, but dense hair will prevent the tape to properly grip like it is supposed to.
- Measure and cut the tape accordingly. It is also better to round the edges to help prevent the tape to start peeling prematurely.
- Start by tearing the backing paper in the centre. Avoid touching the adhesive side of the tape, as for it will decrease the adhesive to properly grip on the skin.
- When the tape is properly applied at the necessary area, you need to activate the heat sensitive glue by rubbing the tape up and down on the surface.
- Do not try to get the tape wet, at least one hour after application.
- To dry the tape after an exercise, swimming, shower etc. just gently tap on the tape with a towel.
How to properly remove Kinesio Tape
- Apply oil or lotion on the top of the strip tape to help loosen the tape.
- Don’t just rip off the tape, remove it slowly and do not pull up.
- When lifting one end of the strip, press down on your skin to help separate your skin from the tape.
- Pull the tape the same direction you applied it instead of pulling it up towards yourself.
- If your skin is irritated or damaged underneath the tape when removing, do not reapply tape on the same area. Rather consult your physiotherapist or doctor.
Different type of shapes to cut the KT
The tape can be cut in various shapes. The shapes used the most are the ‘V’, ‘Y’, ‘I’, ‘XO’, ‘H’- shapes and the strips in ‘I’ and ‘V’- shape. Take a look at the examples of the shapes.
The best part of Kinesiology Tape is, it is safe to use when you are pregnant, on an infant and even on your animals. Kinesio Tape is very popular amongst the recovery of muscles in horses.
Kinesiology Tape is easy to apply but it is best to consult first with your Physiotherapist or Doctor to know if KT is needed and how to apply it properly.
Source: Physiopedia- Kinesio Taping