If you ever watch sports, you will inevitably see athletes across disciplines using kinesiology tape. You may know exactly why they've wrapped it around their body. But if you are curious why these athletes are wearing strips of tape over various parts of their body, this post is for you. Is it simply a fashion statement, or does it actually serve a medicinal purpose?
A Brief History of Kinesiology Tape
This type of tape was developed in the 1970s in order to fill a void in treatment. Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese Chiropractor, was in the midst of treating patients he found to be healing. At the same time, he felt that they needed additional treatment to prolong the benefits of his treatment even after they left his clinic and were out of his immediate reach. As a result, he developed kinesiology tape to help to continue the body's natural healing process.
This flexible tape functions to give your joints or muscles stability and support, without inhibiting your range of motion or affecting your blood circulation. It provides instant and reliable stabilization of a given area of your body, which is why you see so many athletes with previous injuries taping that area long after it has healed. Once you have injured a joint or muscle, it will always be more sensitive to injury even after it has fully healed, and Dr. Kase found that kinesiology tape helped reduce those chances.
While Dr. Kase created a first version of the tape in the 1970s, he officially founded the Kinesio Taping Method in 1980. After a few years in which he was the only one to use it on his patients, wasn't until 1983 that the Kinesio Taping became publicly available. Slowly but surely, as patients and medical professionals discovered its benefits, the tape's popularity spread. In the two decades since, the treatment method has continued to grow around the world.
Today, Kinesiology tape and the taping method is commonly used on muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, help to relax tired muscles, and, perhaps most significantly, to support muscle movement. In other words, this treatment is no longer an immediate fix used only to promote the healing of injuries; instead, it also offers significant maintenance benefits.
The Benefits of Kinesiology Tape
Kinesiology tape can treat a variety of ailments on all different areas of the body, from your shoulders all the way down to your feet. You can treat plantar fasciitis on the bottom of your foot, along with injuries on your calf muscles, knees, lower back, shoulder, and even your neck.
As mentioned above, this treatment method is not only good for helping injured areas heal, but also beneficial in helping the body stay in proper alignment. As a result, as long as it's applied properly on the body, it offers enough flexibility to be used to treat and maintain all sorts of areas on the body.
That's why you'll see many athletes wearing Kinesiology tape on their arms, shoulders, legs, and even neck. Because the taping method does not inhibit movement or restrict their range of motion, these athletes can even wear the tape on any area underneath their uniforms.
Types of Tape
There are several different types of tape that you can choose from. Of course, you will be able to pick the type of color and pattern you want on the tape, which is perfect if you play sports. You'll be able to coordinate your tape with your uniform, preventing awkward situation in which an area of the body does not match your team's colors. Tape can also come in a roll, which means that with the correct pair of scissors, you'll be able to cut off pieces as you need them.
It is important to note that using kinesiology tape is only useful and beneficial for your body if it is applied properly. So whether you are trying to tape yourself or enlisting someone else's help to tape you, you should be sure have the proper training. Taping it incorrectly will greatly reduce and even eliminate its usefulness and benefits. If you are a sports trainer, you should seriously consider buying entire rolls of tape; that way, you'll be well prepared to treat the various injuries of any number of athletes.
If you aren't interested in entire rolls of Kinesiology tape, then you can always get tapes that are precut. These tapes are easy to use on the shoulders, arch of the foot, knee, calf and ankle, neck, waist and back. You can even get X or Y-shaped pre-cut tapes, which make it easier to take care of difficult-to-reach areas. These tapes make taping injuries a little easier, and are ideal for athletes and other individuals who are treating themsleves or aren't as skilled at applying tape.
Learning To Tape
Being able to use Kinesiology Tape is not as simple as applying any other type of tape to a particular surface. Instead, it requires training, understanding the science and medicine behind it, and plenty of practice. The tape needs to provide stability, support, and relief to the patient. If not applied properly, it could adversely affect the patient's range of motion, being more cumbersome than helpful while offering no significant healing benefits.
A great way to learn how to tape properly to get official training, which is commonly available through classes or seminars. These educational opportunities will teach you how to treat various injuries, and where to accurately place the tape in order to promote healing. But once you've learned the why, how, and where, practice becomes paramount. As with anything in medicine, it's important to take the time to practice your skills before your apply them on a patient or yourself in a real-life situation.
Depending on your current situation, particularly if you already work in sports medicine or athletic training, you may be able to learn on the job from a peer. But if you are completely new to the field and want to learn and understand what you need to do, then you should consider Kinesio University, perhaps the most comprehensive resource of Kinesiology tape applications.
Dr. Kase still has a lot of input into what is taught at Kinesio University, which ensures that you can learn the most advanced and up-to-date application techniques available. Instructors the mselves are constantly learning to improve and optimize their treatment methods, and will be happy to share that knowledge.
Attending a seminar is a great way to begin your learning process. Or, if you just need a refresher, you can also access and watch one of several online tutorials.
Kinesiology tape is a great addition to any trainer's bag, and beneficial to any person who is looking for successful ways to either help their injuries heal or to maintain a previously injured area's stability. Its simple addition to your body can make a big difference in both your healing process and maneuverability.
And when it's applied correctly, you will be able to take your game to the next level and feel stronger and better. For more than 40 years, this method and product has only improved as it has become more popular--and it will continue to do so in the future. To find the best Kinesiology tape for you, please contact us.