Bloomington Wellness Center | Bloomington & Shakopee, MN

The Kinesio Taping is a therapeutic taping technique that alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. This lifting effect forms convolutions in the skin increasing interstitial space and allowing for decreased inflammation in affected areas. Based upon research and years of clinical use, The Kinesio Taping Method specifically applies Kinesio tape based on evaluation and assessment to dictate a specific application. Kinesio Tape applications can be applied in hundreds of ways and have the ability to reduce pain and inflammation, promote post-surgical healing, optimize performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation and can assist the body’s natural healing process.

How does kinesiology tape work?

Kinesiology tape is really stretchy.

Kase created Kinesio tape with a proprietary blend of cotton and nylon. It’s designed to mimic the skin’s elasticity so you can use your full range of motion. The tape’s medical-grade adhesive is also water-resistant and strong enough to stay on for three to five days, even while you work out or take showers.

When the tape is applied to your body, it recoils slightly, gently lifting your skin. It is believed that this helps to create a microscopic space between your skin and the tissues underneath it.

Creates space in joints

One small study with 32 participants showed that when kinesiology tape was applied over the knee, it increased the space in the knee joint.  A similar study showed kinesiology tape also increased the space in the shoulder joint. Even though the increase in space is slight, it helps reduce the chance of joint irritation.

May change signals on pain pathways

Some physical therapists think the tape changes the information your sensory nervous system is sending about pain and compression in your body.

“All of your tissues — skin, connective tissue, fascia, muscles — contain sensory receptors that feel pain, temperature, and touch. Those receptors all contribute to proprioception—your brain’s sense of where your body is and what it’s doing. Kinesiology taping creates a lift that unloads the underlying tissues. Decompressing those tissues can change the signals going to the brain. When the brain receives a different signal, it’s going to respond differently”

Trigger points are a good example. Physical therapists have used kinesiology tape to lift the skin over these tense, knotted muscles. When the area is decompressed, pain receptors send a new signal to the brain, and tension in the trigger point decreases.

A 2015 study showed that trigger point pain was reduced and flexibility increased for people when kinesiology tape and manual pressure were used together.

May improve circulation of blood and fluids

If you’ve been injured, kinesiology tape might help improve circulation and reduce swelling in the area where you’re hurt.

A 2017 study showed that kinesiology taping can improve blood flow in the skin.  It may also improve the circulation of lymphatic fluids. Lymphatic fluid is mostly water, but it also contains proteins, bacteria, and other chemicals. The lymphatic system is the way your body regulates swelling and fluid buildup.

The theory is that when kinesiology tape is applied, it creates extra subcutaneous space, which changes the pressure gradient in the area underneath your skin. That change in pressure enhances the flow of lymphatic fluid.

Studies have had mixed results. In two recent studies, kinesiology tape reduced fluid buildup in women who underwent breast cancer treatment and people who had total knee replacements.

Changing the flow of lymphatic fluid could help bruises heal faster. Although there are few studies to confirm this effect, anecdotally some people report that when they’ve removed the tape from bruised body parts, the areas under the tape were a different color than the un-taped areas.

 

What is kinesiology tape used for?

Treating injuries

Physical therapists sometimes use kinesiology taping as one part of an overall treatment plan for people who’ve been injured. The American Physical Therapy Association reports that kinesiology taping is most effective when it’s used in conjunction with other treatments like manual therapy.

Supporting weak zones

Kinesiology tape is also used to add extra support to muscles or joints that need it. If you have patellofemoral stress syndrome, IT band friction syndrome, or Achilles tendonitis, kinesiology taping might help you.

Unlike white medical or athletic tape, kinesiology tape lets you move normally. In fact, some studies show that it can enhance movement and endurance. Studies on athletes have shown that when kinesiology tape is used on fatigued muscles, performance improves.

Re-educating muscles

Kinesiology tape can help retrain muscles that have lost function or that have gotten used to an unhealthy way of working.

For example, kinesiology taping can be used to correct posture in your head and neck.  A 2017 study supports using it to help stroke patients improve the way they walk.

Physical therapists think this may be because having the strange sensation of tape on your skin can make you more aware of how you’re standing or moving.

Enhancing performance

Some athletes use kinesiology taping to help them achieve peak performance and protect against injury when they’re competing in special events.

Managing scars

Although you should never use kinesiology tape on an open wound, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that kinesiology tape can improve the long-term appearance of scars after surgery or injury.

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