Kinesio-tape has taken the rehabilitation and sports medicine world by storm! this amazing elastic therapeutic tape was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase over 35 years ago in japan. since then, Kinesio-tape has become the standard for therapeutic and rehabilitative taping.
Kinesio-Tape (As Seen in the Olympics)
You may have seen Olympic athletes in the recent years wearing what looks like some weird tribal tattoo, but it’s actually an elastic tape that aids in the reduction of a soft tissue injury. All of the wonderful benefits of kinesiology taping are related to three things:
1. How the tape interacts with the skin and the underlying fascia
2. How the tape interacts with the nerves under the skin
3. How the tape interacts with the circulatory system under the skin
-Injured Area WITHOUT Kinesiology Tape
Trauma to a muscle or joint causes blood and other fluids to collect in the area, resulting in bruising and swelling. As these fluids build up, they exert pressure on pain receptors (sensory nerves) under the skin, causing pain. This combination of pain and inflammation is beneficial immediately after an injury, when rest and immobilization are necessary. Following this acute phase, the fluid should begin to drain away through the lymphatic drainage vessels in the area, allowing the swelling to recede. Sometimes, however, the inflammation can compress these drainage vessels to the point that they can’t do their job and swelling persists. The blood vessels in the area are also compressed, which reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients for healing. The longer the cycle of pain and inflammation continues, the more delayed the healing response will be.
-Injured Area WITH Kinesiology Tape
When kinesiology tape is applied correctly to the skin over an injured area, the elasticity in the tape gently lifts the skin, creating small convolutions or wrinkles on its surface, which can sometimes be seen in the tape as well (see image at top of page.) These convolutions create a microscopic space between the skin and the tissues below, with alternating areas of negative and positive pressure. In the negative pressure areas, the lymphatic vessels can dilate (open), allowing drainage of excess fluid away from the area, further reducing the pressure on the blood vessels and pain receptors. As blood flow improves, the enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the injured tissues accelerates the healing process.
-How Kinesiology Tape Helps Bruises Heal Faster
One of the most dramatic examples of this phenomenon occurs when fan or edema strips are applied over large contusions, as shown below. The drainage of blood and fluid under the strips creates the distinctive fan pattern shown on the surface of these bruises.