You may have seen these brightly coloured tapes branded across athlete’s bodies – Kinesiology tape is a breakthrough technique for sports injuries and rehabilitation which helps to reduce recovery times and improve fitness levels.
Kinesiology tape is widely used type of strapping used to take pressure off injured and overused muscles. The difference with Kinesiology tape is that, unlike the traditional taping techniques which involve wrapping the tape around the joint, Kinesiology tape is placed the body in different patterns allowing it to pull different degrees of tension in the desired area, mimicking the body’s muscles. The adhesive is patterned in such a way that it physically lifts the skin away from the tissues underneath therefore taking pressure of an injured area and allowing fluid to move and drain. This reduces swelling and inflammation, and affects the neurological transmissions around the area therefore reducing pain. By placing the tape in the direction of the muscles, it aims to facilitate the body’s natural healing process and increasing the body’s natural blood flow without restricting the body’s range of movement.
Kinesiology taping was a created in the 70s by Japanese therapist Dr. Kenzo Kase. He developed the technique after trying to find a taping method which assists in the healing of traumatised tissue without reducing the range of motion and aid the muscle systems and joint support. Due to the elasticity and flexible nature of the tape along with the adhesive, the tape aims to heal and relieve pressure whilst allowing the muscle to maintain flexibility which can aid the healing process as opposed to keeping the joint immobilised.
This latex-free tape can also be worn for up to 7 days at a time. This sustained treatment benefits a number of orthopaedic, neuromuscular and neurological conditions associated with an injury.
There is a myth that the different colours of tape are specifically designed for different treatments. Therapists may use the different colours to identify the areas that they are treating, but there are other theories behind the colours.
One such theory relates to Colour therapy. Colour therapy is a complimentary therapy dating back to ancient cultures of Egypt, India and China and is based on the idea that each colour has it’s own wavelength and energy which effects the balance of our “Chakras”. Colour therapy is said to help to re-balance and/or stimulate these energies by applying the appropriate colour to the body and therefore re-balance our chakras.
Another, simpler theory is that the colours and shapes gives mental focus to the area being treated which helps the neurological therapy aspects of the tape and reduce pain.
Remember – you shouldn’t try to apply kinesiology tape yourself without any training. Most physiotherapists will know how to apply the tape effectively in order to imitate the pattern of your muscles so that the tape will work with your muscles to offer the most effective pressure and facilitating the healing process.