Kinesiology tape was first introduced in Japan in 1988 with their Olympic and professional athletes, before spreading across the world in the last decade. The beauty of Kinesiology tape is that it is a light-weight, adhesive tape which has the identical thickness and elasticity as our skin which allows it to mimic the functional movement of the skin and influence the tissues below. This quality also allows it to be worn without binding, constricting or restricting movement.
In contrast, rigid sports tape has been used for much longer by sports professionals and has no stretch. Therefore it is used to provide rigid support to the joints and ligaments, especially ideal for contact sports like rugby. It has very similar therapeutic effects as that of K-taping shown below, but is obviously applied for different requirements.
There are many therapeutic benefits of kinesiology tape, which can work for 24 hours a day while the tape is left on. It can be left on for up to 5 days or sometimes longer depending on its ability to adhere, significantly accelerating the healing process from traumatic injuries and inflammatory conditions.
1. Pain Relief
The lifting action of the tape relieves pressure on pain receptors directly under the skin, allowing for quick relief from acute injuries. Chronic pain is affected through sensory stimulation of other types of nerve fibres.
2. Reduced Swelling, Inflammation and Bruising
Reduced pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels enhances the removal of fluids and other materials that collect in an injured area i.e. lymphodema.
3. Prevention or Relief from Spasms and Fatigued Muscles
Enhanced circulation to working muscles helps deliver oxygen and nutrients as well as accelerate the removal of waste products. Both of these mechanisms can help prevent or relieve spasms and cramps in overused or injured muscles.
4. Structural Support
The unique elastic properties of kinesiology tape allow it to provide support to an injured muscle or joint, discouraging harmful movements while still allowing a safe, healthy range of motion.
5. Enhanced Strength and Muscle Tone in Weak or Injured Muscles
Loss of strength or muscle tone can result from pain, injury or a variety of neurological or muscular disorders. In these situations, the weakness can interfere with the ability to do the exercises that are critical to recovery or improving daily functioning. Kinesiology tape not only provides support to these areas, but it can also improve neurological muscle activation, allowing therapeutic exercises to be carried out more effectively.
6. Allows Athletes to Remain Active while Injured
This is one of the most important benefits of kinesiology tape for competitive athletes. Injuries can be taped to relieve pain, minimize inflammation and provide support for injured structures, without compromising a healthy range of motion. Except in the case of severe injuries, this can allow athletes to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal.
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