What is a kinesiology tape? It sounds really fancy, does it not? Have you ever been to a volleyball game, or maybe a gym? Have you ever seen runners doing their thing with strips of black tape splayed elaborately on their shoulders and wondered why? You may have also even had the question “what?” That, my friend, is kinesiology tape, also called Kinesio tape or k-tape.
You might have guessed that tape is not exactly on top of the list of fashion trends. It may sound and look fancy, like something just there for its beauty, but it actually performs lots of functions. So, why do people keep using it? And while the scenarios mentioned above are both athletic scenes, kinesiology tape is not restricted to the use of athletes alone.
So, in the next few lines, you will find answers to the following questions. What exactly does Kinesio tape do? Who can use kinesiology tape? Should you even be using kinesiology tape? Is it worth it? What are the features of k-tape? Take a moment to thank the heavens because you are about to have all the answers.
What Exactly Does Kinesiology Tape Do?
Kinesiology tape was first developed in 1979 by a certain Dr. Kenzo Kase, who is obligatory to mention in any discussion about k-tape. He made the product and named it all those years ago but the question remains why? Because he needed something to hold his patients together outside the office. By “hold together,” we are talking about holding their bones, supporting their joints, and relieving their pain. You would think people who went through constant physical agony would know not to engage in habits that can bring back the pains, but it is never that easy. Some habits have become inherently part of us; they are almost impossible to stop. And so, we need something to remind us and help us constantly. This is exactly what Dr. Kase hoped to create and that was exactly what he did.
He created a tape that could reduce musculoskeletal pain simply by applying it. Today, several brands have modified and upgraded the tape, but the basic mechanism remains the same. The tape was designed to feel like the epidermis of the skin, its outer surface. Once you apply the tape, it causes decompression by creating a small distance between your skin and the underlying tissues. The underlying tissues include many things like muscles, fascia, and organs. The more the space, the lower the pressure; low pressure is exactly what we want the tape to cause.
This also creates distance between the receptors on the skin and underlying tissues. This way, the pain signals that are supposed to be sent to the brain change entirely. This space also reduces the irritation that may occur from skin rubbing against bone and other things beneath it. This is how kinesiology tape reduces musculoskeletal pain. Brands like ours, Hampton Adams, have taken things up a notch by making sure that while the tape performs all its functions, it feels as comfortable as possible. We have achieved this by using 100% cotton substrate to produce our products. We also use a special formula to create our adhesives, and this ensures that it stays on.
The mechanism of the space that k-tape creates is the same process by which kinesiology tape helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. When a part of your body is swollen, it is the result of a build-up of fluids beneath the skin, and, of course, this is unwanted. The space created beneath the skin will create a safe and proper passage for the fluid, be it blood or lymph. This is how k-tape reduces swelling. Funny how such a small space can achieve so much. For this reason, Kinesio tape is used along with other forms of therapy to treat injuries.
Taping a part of your body can serve as a protective covering when you are performing a challenging activity. It is also used to prevent injuries. This is more common among athletes. It provides stability and support to their bones and joints. It has also been said to boost their endurance. Climbers and volleyballers can use it to protect their knuckles and fingertips while they are performing their respective activities. During these sports and other physical undertakings, chances are you will sweat a lot, and this is why Hampton Adams Waterproof Kinesio Tape will serve you better.
Kinesiology tape can also help you improve your posture by making you more aware of how you carry yourself.
Who is the Kinesiology Tape for?
It may seem that the kinesiology tape was only developed to serve athletes, but it wasn’t. It can be used by anyone who needs the kind of help that kinesiology tape offers.
- Even after all the clarification, starting this list without mentioning athletes would still be somewhat wrong. Probably more than any other group of people, they will benefit from all the functions of kinesiology tape. They will gain a lot from the tape’s supporting and stabilizing functions. Its ability to help injuries heal faster and improve endurance will serve them well. Swimmers will particularly benefit from the Hampton Adams 16ft kinesiology tape because of its water-resistant ability.
- For people who come back home every day with shoulder pains and swollen feet because of their stressful workplaces, Kinesiology Tape for Shoulder Pain may just prove to be the solution. It can help to relieve their musculoskeletal pain.
- People with conditions, jobs, or lifestyles that, for some reason, restrict their movement will have some use for k-tape. Less movement will result in muscles that don’t function well because what you do not use weakens. Kinesiology tape can help those muscles become stronger and reduce the pain from being in one position for too long. It will, in addition, help them in improving their postures.
When Not to Use Kinesiology Tape
Having a variety of functions does not mean that there are no conditions in which kinesiology tape should not be applied. Here are some of those conditions:
- Never apply Kinesio tape to an open wound. It is unsafe, unhygienic, and gross. The result of taping an open wound is bloodied tape and a potentially infected wound. It is entirely possible that the tape will not even stick to begin with, and even if it can, it is best not to try it.
- If you are allergic to latex or rubber, keep an eye out for Kinesio tapes that specifically state that they don’t contain the substance. If you also have delicate skin, look for tapes that promise gentleness and comfortability. Hampton Adams is one of the brands that produce latex-free and highly comfortable k-tape.
- Do not apply kinesiology tape if you have conditions like cancer or deep vein thrombosis. If you have any other unmentioned condition that you think may be affected by applying Kinesio tape, then consult a professional for confirmation.
How to Apply and Remove Kinesiology Tape
- Before you apply Kinesio tape, it is best to consult a professional. This is a way to know if you really need Kinesio tape, why you need it, and how long you will have to keep it on. In addition, you will get to know which shape and size are appropriate for you. Lastly, for each aspect of the body, there are different techniques for applying k-tape that are best suited for various conditions.
- Once you have made sure that what you need is Kinesio tape and know how to apply it, you should apply a test strip. This should only be done on a small part of your body; it will help you find out how you will react to tape. This step is optional.
- This step is the real deal; it explains what you must do before applying the strip. Remove any excess hair on that part of your body. This will make removing the tape less painful and the application more effective; after doing this, clean that spot by washing and drying with a clean cloth. You can also use antiseptic wipes. Ensure the spot is cleaned properly because moisture may affect the adhesion.
- Tear the size of tape you require; you can use your hand for this if it is Hampton Adams tape; if not, get a tape cutter. Apply the tape gently and bend it before applying if it is on a joint.
- Smooth the tape over the skin to ensure that it sticks.
- When you want to remove the tape, you may apply moisture by way of oil or some form of lotion; this simplifies the process. Leave the oil on for several minutes. It reduces the adhesion.
- When it seems like the adhesion has significantly reduced, peel off the tape gently. Do it downwards if it is on a limb and towards the middle of your body if it is on your trunk. You can hold down your skin as you peel to make things less painful.
You can direct any other questions regarding kinesiology tape to our customer service at Hampton Adams. You can also purchase your taping products on the same page.