To keep your body moving properly and efficiently, your skeletal muscles need to be healthy. If you experience a strained or pulled muscle during your sport, that area of your body will become weak or not as useful as it once was. There is a lot that goes into being an athlete, and one of the main focuses should be on keeping your body in optimal shape and free of tension. Having any sort of pain or tension in your body may affect your performance and have a higher risk of sustaining a worse injury.
To get a competitive edge, many athletes will turn to various methods to limit their pain from sore muscles, including pain pills, topical creams and massage therapy. Although these methods can be effective in reducing pain, they can restrict the movement of the injured muscle while it’s being repaired. In today’s sports world, athletes need a way to repair and rebuild their muscles while they are being used. That’s where kinesiology tape comes into the game!
The first prototype of kinesiology tape was introduced in the early 1980s and was used to aid other therapies by chiropractors, acupuncturists and orthopedists. The tape we know and use today didn’t become popular until the 2008 Olympics when Kerri Walsh, a US Olympic gold medalist, donned black kinesiology tape on her shoulder. However, before that instance, Japanese Olympic volleyball players and Lance Armstrong used kinesiology tape during their respective sports.
As you continue to read this article, you will learn more about the technology behind kinesiology tape, how to apply it to certain areas of your body and the benefits you may receive when you use it properly.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?
There is a common misconception that kinesiology tape and athletic tape are the same thing; they actually serve completely different functions. Athletic tape is traditionally used to restrict the motion of a muscle or joint to prevent further injury. Athletic tape does do a great job of immobilizing an injured muscle, but it slows down circulation in that area and negatively affects your body’s way of healing itself.
Kinesiology tape, on the other hand, is used to “open” the muscle to allow a full range of motion in the injured area. For the most effective results, the tape will have to be applied on top of the injured area to help stabilize it, but be careful to apply the tape in the proper pattern (we will go through this later in the article, but it is always best to go to your doctor or physiotherapists to learn about each pattern when you are using kinesiology tape for the first time).
When you move the area that is taped, the skin and fascia (connective tissue) over the injured tendon or muscles will move as well. This allows the skin and fascia to pull away from the muscle a little bit, which creates enough room for lymphatic fluid to circulate around the inflamed tissue and clean it up.
Here are the most important functions of kinesiology tape:
- Support Muscles: When you use proper kinesiology taping techniques, it will help the muscle contract, even if it is weak or injured. This helps reduce pain and protects the muscle from becoming cramped or over-extended.
- Promotes Natural Healing: Your body has an “endogenous analgesic system” that allows itself to naturally heal. When kinesiology tape is applied, it allows your body to heal itself quicker and more efficiently.
- Allows The Fluids In Your Body To Flow: When you have inflammation or chemical build-up in an injured muscle, your blood and lymphatic circulation is poor. Kinesiology tape allows these fluids to flow freely throughout the inflamed area of your body.
- Fixing Problems In Your Joints: When you wear kinesiology tape on your tightened muscle, you will help regain your full range of motion back in your joints.
Kinesiology tape is made from porous and breathable cotton, and is very thin, which is comfortable for the wearer but is still effective in providing a full range of motion to your injured area. The elasticity of high-quality kinesiology tape is similar to the elasticity of the skin. When the tape is applied to the body, it is resistant to water and sweat, making it great to use during sports or even in the shower.
How To Apply Kinesiology Tape
Before we get into the application process of kinesiology tape, we must remind you that you should seek professional assistance to ensure that you are using the tape properly to get the best results.
Before you place kinesiology tape on your body, you will need to cut it into the proper shape and length. The most common shapes are “I,” “Y,” “X,” and “fan.” Each muscle will require one or a combination of a few shapes and length, which is why it’s important to know exactly how to apply the tape to your body.
When you have each piece of tape cut to the proper shape and length, you must prepare your skin for the application. This includes cleaning any dirt, oil or lotion of the skin to ensure the adhesion is high-quality.
There are two ways of applying tape on your body; with no tension or a little bit of tension. You should use no tension on muscles that have been overused or injured to help with pain relief and aid in the healing process. If you have weakened or chronically injured muscles, applying the tape with a little bit of tension will help support the muscle and regain its full range of motion.
After you have placed the tape on your skin in the proper positions, you will need to rub it for a couple of seconds to activate the adhesive. Let it set for about an hour to ensure that it sticks for up to five days through daily use and showering.
Now that you know a little more about kinesiology tape, the next step is to use a high-quality product to ensure you get the best results. SpiderTech offers a wide range of pre-cut rolls of kinesiology tape that are effective and easy to apply. Their kinesiology tape will help support your muscles before, during and after your sport or activity and will stay in place for up to five days!
Colin Hegarty is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he’s not working, you can find him playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.