Kinesio tape is designed to be applied to skin with varying amounts of stretch to biomechanically decompress the tissue directly under it. The decompression is believed to have three main effects:
1) promote a reduction in swelling and improve the flow of blood into the area, thus bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the site which are required for healing. A good way to see this mechanism in action is by looking at the effect kinesiotape has had on a large bruise (see picture), the lines through the bruise are from where the tape has now been removed!! (image courtesy of http://www.running-physio.com/kinesio2/)
2) reduce the mechanical compression of the muscles and connective tissue, allowing these structures to glide more easily and therefore improving the movement/ flexibility of that area
3) reduce pain by relieving pressure on the nerve endings in the area that are sending your body pain signals and also by stimulating nerves that sense movement (mechanoreceptors) - by stimulating these nerves we interrupt the pain signals that are being sent to the brain (this is the same mechanism as when we rub something better!)
So is kinesiotape just for athletes?
No, not at all - kinesiotape has many applications. It is indeed great for many sports injuries, but it is also very useful for things like shoulder/ neck pain, helping to encourage better posture, lower back pain, sprained ankles, tennis/ golfers elbow and even support during pregnancy!
Kinesiotaping at Balanced Osteopathy
At Balanced Osteopathy we use a brand of kinesiotape called Rocktape. If your therapist thinks you will benefit from some taping, the rocktape will be applied at the end of your appointment as part of either your osteopathy treatment or sports massage treatment. Having tape applied does not add to the cost of your appointment, it is included as part of your overall treatment! Happy days.
If you would like to read into some of the research being conducted into kinesiotaping, take a look at the collection of studies on the rocktape website here.
If you have any questions about kinesiotape, feel free to drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can ask about it at your next appointment! Thanks, Rebecca :)