Kinesio Tape and the Natural Healing Process
by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute
Tips for Using Kinesio Tape.
- Most athletic tape is used to limit mobility and add stability. Kinesio tape can aid in motion or limit it.
- Kinesio tape can be worn for 5-6 days even through sweating and showers.
- To help a fatigued muscle, put the tape on with no tension and start at the insertion and move towards origin.
- To stimulate movement or help with an injured muscle put the tape on with slight tension and begin at the origin and end at the insertion.
- Seek help with taping technique from a person who knows the proper way to use the tape. Incorrect technique and application can cause an injury.
Attend a sporting event, and you’ll probably see colorful tape wrapping, covering, striping various body parts of the athletes. What is it? Kinesio tape. This is not typical athletic tape, this tape is believed to help the natural healing process of the body and uses several body systems to accomplish this. Over the past ten years, physical therapists, athletic trainers, physicians and others have begun using Kinesio tape as part of an overall regimen.
Healthcare providers have been using tape in athletic competitions for years. “Athletic tape” decreases mobility and supplies an external stabilizing force to a particular body part. McConnell taping has been used to help control a body motion for the past 25 years, but this tape is bulky and very non-elastic. From the moment it is applied, this tape is uncomfortable, so it is usually only applied for short periods.
Kinesio tape, on the other hand, is extremely comfortable to wear and can be worn for 3-5 days. Designed with a heat-activated glue, it resembles natural skin in weight and thickness. This latex-free hypoallergenic cotton fiber tape is capable of stretching 40-60% of its natural length along its longitudinal access.
Healthcare professionals use Kinesio tape to affect the circulatory/lymphatic, neural, muscular and fascial systems of the body. The tape provides support for a wide range of applications such as aiding in the reduction of pain and swelling as well as enhance muscle tone and movement. Many healthcare professionals use the tape to increase lymphatic drainage and to promote correct posture and movement patterns.
The use of Kinesio tape centers around six basic theoretical concepts:
The circulatory/lymphatic concept focuses on the tape’s ability to increase the size of the space between the dermis and muscle and fascia. The lymphatic system is housed in this space and when there is an injury with inflammation the space is occluded. The lymphatic system cannot move an adequate amount of fluid and waste product out of the occluded area. The use of the tape to “open” the space and make larger is thought to enable more fluid movement through the injury site. The other benefit from the larger space is to enable the muscle to contract more forcefully and “pump” more fluid through the system.
The functional concept revolves around a sensory stimulus that enhances or limits movement of a body part. Placing the tape on the muscle in a particular way can either aid in enhanced movement or act as an inhibitory stimulus and reduce motion.
The mechanical concept improve stability and biomechanics by stimulating the muscle and fascia
The fascial concept helps to align and move the fascia in a particular direction.
The space concept increases the size of an area that is involved. The increased space helps to reduce the pressure in an area which in turn can reduce the stimulus of the pain receptors in the injured body part.
The ligament/tendon concept helps to reduce stress and strain on a particular ligament or tendon. This helps to reduce pain and enhances the action of that structure.
It is clear that many of these concepts overlap and have an effect on one another. The proper placement of the tape is critical to get the desired results. You should seek out an experienced healthcare professional and they can assist you in the proper placement and taping technique that can help you heal the injured body part.
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