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Archive for June, 2009

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Benefits of Kinesiology TapingWhile traditional athletic tape only provides support to an injured area, kinesiology tape does this and much more. It is the only tape that actually has therapeutic effects that include accelerating the healing process. This translates to a large list of benefits of kinesiology taping, that extend far beyond the athletic realm.

When kinesiology tape is applied to the body, the skin is lifted slightly, creating a space between the skin and the underlying muscle. This space allows for enhanced blood flow, enhanced lymphatic flow and relieves the pressure on local pain receptors. This concept will be explained in greater detail in a future posting, but for now, let’s examine the benefits associated with these effects.

1. Pain Relief – reduced pressure on pain receptors helps relieve both acute and chronic pain.

2. Reduced Swelling and Inflammation – reduced pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels, allows better removal of fluids and other materials that collect in an injured area. This applies, not only to sports injuries, but to other inflammatory conditions, including lymphodema (severe swelling of the extremities.)

3. Prevents and/or Relieves Spasms and Cramping – the same features that reduce inflammation can help prevent or relieve spasms and cramps in overused or injured muscles.

3. Speedier Recovery of Overused Muscles – the enhanced circulation helps remove metabolic byproducts of exercise (such as lactic acid), allowing a more rapid recovery.

4. Provides Support without Restricting Range of Motion –  kinesiology tape’s unique elastic properties allow it to provide support to an injured muscle or joint without restriction of range of  motion.

5. Allows Athletes to Remain Active while Injured – this is one of the most important benefits of kinesiology tape for competitive athletes. Applied properly, kinesiology tape can prevent either overstretching or over-contraction of injured muscles. Except in the case of severe injuries, this can allow athletes to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal.

6. Enhances Strength and Muscle Tone in Weak or Poorly Toned Muscles – certain neurological or muscular disorders can make muscles so weak that it is difficult to do the exercises that are critical to improve daily functioning. Kinesiology tape can improve the activation of these muscles, allowing therapeutic exercises to be carried out. One of the major uses in this category is with infants and young children with hypotonia, poor muscle tone that limits their ability to learn to sit up, crawl, etc.

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Kinesiology TapeDeveloped over 30 years ago in Japan, kinesiology tape flew under the radar of public awareness for many years, being used mainly in clinical settings. It wasn’t until the 2008 Beijing Olympics that it became an overnight sensation, when numerous athletes were spotted wearing colorful configurations of tape on various parts of their bodies.

Future blog posts will discuss the mechanisms behind this therapeutic phenomenon in more detail, but for now we’ll look at what makes kinesiology tape different from other forms of athletic tape.

Most types of athletic tape are non-elastic, and are wrapped tightly around an injured joint or muscle to provide support and restrict movement. It is used for short periods of time, after which it must be removed to restore movement and circulation.

Kinesiology tape, on the other hand, is very thin and very stretchy,  possessing virtually identical thickness and elasticity as human skin. This allows it to be manipulated in ways that no other therapeutic tape can, producing astounding benefits to the human body. Most applications can be worn for up to 5 days, allowing therapeutic benefits to accumulate 24/7. Wearers can sweat in it, swim in it, even bathe or shower in it … then simply pat it dry and go on with their activities! It’s flexibility allows maximum comfort, and the hypo-allergenic adhesive seldom causes skin irritation.

Watch for my next posting on the benefits of kinesiology tape … coming soon!

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