Kinesio Tape: What is it and How Does it Work?

Kensio Tape: The History

Kinesiology Tape was developed by a chap called Dr. Kenso Kase, a Japanese Chiropractor, believe it or not, over 35 years ago.  Although kinesio tape is a fairly new addition to the sports medical world, its effectiveness has been documented and proven time and time again since it was first introduced to the world.

Dr. Kase found that traditional tape and taping methods did not facilitate the healing of damaged tissues. Furthermore, they restricted movement, slowing tissue healing even more.

Kinesio Tape: Who is it suitable for?

Well, everyone! That’s the short answer. Anyone who has had a soft tissue injury, provided they are at the right stage of the healing process, will benefit from Kinesio Tape. I see a decent mixture of people in St. Albans and Moorgate: people who lead more sedentary lives, and people who are extremely active, like sportspeople, and thus far, not one of them has not benefitted from having this tape incorporated into their treatment and overall management.

One place you will see this tape is at the Olympics, but, it also seems Tottenham Hotspur are holding their dearly beloved Gareth Bale together with this stuff … I wonder what happens when he takes it off!

Kinesio Tape: So, what does it do? How does it work?

The concept behind Kinesio Tape is actually fairly straightforward. I’m sure developing it took years of perfecting and researching. But it’s like all those everyday objects we take for granted. Some of them seem so simple, yet when you look deeper into all the things they allow us to do, they seem so much more complex.

The secret is in the tape’s adhesive. It is patterned in such a way that, once in place, it gently lifts the epidermis (the top layers of skin), under which all the capillaries carrying nutrient-supplying blood and oxygen to the tissue are situated. By opening up these tiny blood vessels, the tape enhances the flow of fresh blood and therefore the drainage of ‘old’ blood, which carries away substances that promote pain-causing inflammation.

Kinesio Tape: Seems too simple and easy to be true, right?

Well, really it is true. This tape helps all varieties of physical therapists to enhance the effects of their treatment. But, if the tape is put in position incorrectly, it may have no effect at all and has the potential to complicate the injury. Obviously, where the tape is placed is crucial. If the target tissues are missed completely, it’s a little pointless. But the tension placed on the tape, by the practitioner, also plays a role in its effectiveness. This tension will vary on the area being taped, the stage the injury is at and any activities the patient is planning to partake in with the tape in place.

Kinesio Tape: But I have seen different types. Are they different?

No. Not really. Some producers manufacture the tape with a ready-cut strip, allowing the practitioner to quickly apply two strips over an area from one ‘anchor’. Some of you, especially those of you in the Moorgate clinic (lots of shoulder injuries there), will have seen me cutting a strip down a certain part of the tape. All I’m doing is allowing two separate strips to wrap around the area from one attachment (anchor) point.

I hope that this has helped to explain how, why and when your practitioner will use this tape. Please, if you do have any further question, don’t hesitate to ask us!

Author: Diego Bresciani
Profession: Osteopath at Perfect Balance Clinic


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