If you’re suffering from a painful muscle or joint injury or condition, Kinesio tape could be the solution. This is a very unique type of athletic tape that isn’t just used to prevent injuries, but has therapeutic and rehabilitative applications, as well.
This adhesive tape varies from any other type of elastic tape you’ve encountered. It is totally latex free and made from comfortable, breathable cotton. Not only is it highly elastic, it has a texture that closely resembles that of human skin. A medical grade acrylic adhesive keeps the tape in place and it is water resistant.
This tape is different from typical athletic tape in terms of how it is used as well as how it is applied. It is not designed to wrap up a joint or muscle to prevent injury. In fact, it doesn’t limit your range of motion at all. It is worn for 3 to 5 days, not just during exercise or for a few hours. The tape has a lifting effect that not only improves circulation, but relieves pain, as well.
Kinesio tape can achieve one of two goals: muscle relaxation or muscle facilitation. This means it either relaxes or stimulates muscles, depending on how it is applied. In either situation, it’s the tension on the tape that achieves the desired effect.
To relax muscles, tape is applied starting at the end of the muscle, then moving towards the beginning. This is the “insertion to origin” therapeutic taping method that will relax overused or tired muscles.
You can apply tape in reverse for rehabilitation of weak or underused muscles. In this case, you start applying the tape from the beginning of the muscle, then move towards its end.
You don’t have to be an expert in Kinesio taping methods to achieve good results, although you may require assistance from another person. If a physical therapist, sports medicine expert or other professional can show you how to use the tape initially, you may achieve very good results on your own.
Another option is to obtain a book or video for instruction on specific taping methods to achieve the best possible results. Many medical supplies retailers that sell the tape also sell books on taping, or you may be able to obtain one from your local library.
Once you’re used to using Kinesio tape at home and you understand how to apply it, you’ll be amazed at how helpful it is for everything from sprains and strains, to joint and back pain and even headaches.