For sport injuries, tendonitis, muscle and joint problems.
The first time I heard about Kinesio Taping was a few years ago in Germany. It was a seminar about alternative treatments for knee problems. I immediately became interested in learning more about it because the positive effects on joints and muscular structures seemed logical.
Since then it took me 3 years until I finally found a seminar where I could learn the technique of application. This was last summer in Salzburg, Austria. I was among Physiotherapists,- Chiropractors , and Massage Therapists but I was the only one with a background in Alternative Medicine and of course – from Mexico .
We learned how to use and apply these colorful tapes for all different kinds of physical problems, e.g. knee and shoulder conditions, lower back strain/pain, tennis elbow, ankle sprains, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff injuries etc.
What does Kinesio Taping Do?
Kinesio Taping is a holistic, drug free, therapeutic method and is based on the body’s own natural healing processes. It works through activation of circulatory, lymphatic, neural, muscular, and fascia systems, as well as the joints. It changes muscle tone, moves lymphatic fluids and corrects movement patterns.
The method basically stems from Kinesiology. Kinesio Tapes were created and developed in Japan by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1973. For many years, orthopedists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other medical practitioners were the main users of Kinesio Taping. Then, during the Olympic Games last year, volleyball players and other athletes were seen by people all over the world with remarkable red, blue and black stripes on the body. Kinesio Taping became more and more known in many countries.
The main use of Kinesio Tapes is for muscles, because muscles are not only responsible for the movements of the body but they also control the circulation of the venous and lymph flows, body temperature etc. Improper muscle functioning can induce other health problems.
The Tapes are applied over muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, to relax overused tired muscles, and to support muscles in their movements on a 24 hr/day basis. It is important to know, that it is not a restrictive type of taping and allows full range of motion. The persons own movements activate the function of the Tapes, which means if a person would be paralyzed or bedridden the tapes would not be very effective.
In contrast, Sports’ taping (strapping) is used to limit ranges of motion and to constrict muscle movement. This stabilizes and creates a bridge over the areas that are injured so that athletes can perform sport movements. Sports’ tapes are typically removed after the end of a sport performance.
The Kinesio Taping Method requires a tape that is patient and skin-friendly, possesses optimum elastic qualities, is a similar thickness to the skin and is durable enough to stay on for a number of days (3-7 days), even through sweating, showers and swimming.
As I mentioned before, you can see tapes in different colors, but there is no physical or chemical difference between the colors. Color choice is a matter of individual preference.
Different Effects On Different Tissues
Skin: The tape causes a massage-like skin movement that directs lymph away from an affected area. When placed over areas of fibrosis, the lifting action and increased movement of skin also assists in softening the tissues.
Muscles: The motion of the tape and its action on sensory receptors in the skin, can improve muscle contraction and reduces pain. Deeper lymphatic vessel function is enhanced by the nearby pumping action of muscle contraction and relaxation.
Joints: The tape can be placed along joints that have been affected by lymphedema.
Circulation: The tape improves the ability of blood to flow in and out of the treated area, which helps healing.
Neurological: Swelling places pressure on sensory receptors in the skin, which leads to pain, numbness or reduced sensitivity. When excess fluid is removed the pressure is reduced and the ability of these receptors to communicate with the brain is improved.
Application of the Tapes
4 basic techniques are used for different conditions: The muscle, the ligament, the correction and the lymph application. All are supportive to the body’s own healing capacity. Especially interesting is the lymph application. The tape lifts up the skin and therefore widens the space underneath. The effect is like a lymphatic drainage. This is particularly useful in all kinds of injuries or after surgeries when it comes to a swelling around the affected area.
Kinesio Taping can be considered as a therapy alone or in combination with other therapeutic methods. I especially like it, because there is something continuously “working on the body” along and in between sessions with a professional therapist.