Kinesio Taping and its Usefulness

In Japan, Kinesio Taping has been very well-received. Although it still hasn't been scientifically proven, there are many benefits that are in the process of discovery.
Kinesio Taping and its Usefulness

Last update: 20 March, 2019

You probably have never heard the term Kinesio Taping before. However, you may have occasionally seen someone on the street with some colored strips in one or more areas of their body.

What are these strips? What are they used for? How do they work? Can anyone use them?

These adhesive and hypoallergenic cotton strips are used to treat injuries and other physical disorders. They make up what’s known as the Kinesio Taping technique, which was invented in 1970 and has been very well-received in countries such as Japan.

Let’s look at why this technique has proven to be useful in various treatments and not just for professional athletes.

What is Kinesio Taping?

Kinesio Taping is a technique that involves placing cotton, hypoallergenic, water-resistant elastic strips in certain injured areas of the body. To facilitate movement, the strips are made of a type of fiber that can stretch up to 140% of their original length.

Once an expert places them, they can stay on the skin for several days. However, they need to be replaced after some time (usually after 3-4 days, depending on the case).

Obviously, the strips don’t affect flexibility or hinder movement. On the contrary, they favor the acceleration of the healing process. Therefore, they’re a good complement to various types of therapies (such as massage).

The Color of the Tape

A physiotherapist applying Kinesio Taping.

Kinesio Taping is used to treat muscular stress.

The color of the tape will vary depending on the placement site, traction type, injury, and other factors. For example, they use blue and black strips to relax the muscle (and also have an analgesic effect), while pink and yellow strips are stimulants.

How do they work?

Once they place the tape, the heat generated by the movement activates (so to speak) a sort of massage that eliminates discomfort.

Benefits of the Tape

Although clinical trials haven’t demonstrated its effectiveness yet, some professionals state that it’s a technique that offers the following benefits. It:

  • Facilitates lymphatic drainage.
  • Activates circulation.
  • Helps improve posture (corrects the alignment of weak muscles).
  • Provides joints and muscles an extra support.
  • Reduces muscle fatigue.
  • Reduces inflammation and relieves pain.
  • Is useful in reducing the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which has side effects.

What is Kinesio Taping Good For?

They use this type of treatment for the following conditions:

  • Contractures
  • Back pain
  • Localized pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Muscular overcharge
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle cramps
  • Circulation and drainage problems (cellulite, flaccidity, edemas, etc.).

How Does it Work?

A man with Kinesio tape.

A physiotherapist should apply Kinesio Taping in the proper place for each case.

A specialist applies the tape to the area with more or less flexibility (depending on the case). They stretch it out out so that it has an “accordion” effect. Kinesio Taping promotes a slight microscopic elevation of the skin due to the flexibility and wave form of the tape fibers. Thus, it reduces pressure on the injury and prevents stimuli that may be painful.

This may interest you: What is Muscle Hypertrophy?

Application Requirements

  • The skin should be clean, dry, hairless, and without any cream or oil (as these may not allow the tape to adhere properly).
  • In addition, the tips of the tape must always be rounded for a better grip.
  • Also, once they place the tape, they must gently rub it so it adheres.
  • You can shower with it. However, try to avoid touching or washing the taped areas.
  • In case of irritation, you should go to a professional to get the tape removed immediately. However, keep in mind that sometimes it’s normal to experience some tingling or itching. This is due to increased circulation.

Things to Bear in Mind

It’s best if a physiotherapist applies the tape after a physical evaluation. It may seem like Kinesio Taping is easy to apply. However, you should avoid applying it at home because it could be counterproductive.

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  • Espejo L, Apolo MD. Revisión bibliográfica de la efectividad del kinesiotaping. Rehabilitación. 2011; 45 (2): 148-158. doi:10.1016/j.rh.2011.02.002