Kinesiotaping is the term used to refer to neuromuscular bandaging or the application of kinesiology tapes. It is a technique that has gained relevance in physiotherapy, since its correct use provides multiple benefits, especially among those who practice sports.
According to a publication in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, this method was developed in the 1970s by the Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenso Kase, who introduced them as a natural method to facilitate the body’s recovery.
Since then, they have been used as a supplement to soothe a wide variety of ailments and prevent injuries. Do you want to know more about its benefits? Here we tell you how it works, its main uses and some contraindications.
How does kinesiotaping work?
The kinesiotaping works by applying an elastic tape made with cotton and nylon. Its design mimics the elasticity and texture of human skin, being able to stretch up to 130 – 140% from its original size.
Due to this characteristic, it creates a pulling force on the skin or the muscle where it is applied. This allows a superior range of motion compared to traditional soft wraps.
Its effects depend, to a large extent, on its application throughout the body and also on the way it is placed. That is, they will vary depending on the direction of pull, shape, and location.
It should be noted that the band has a medical grade adhesive that is waterproof, with cotton fibers that facilitate quick drying. In addition, it is quite strong, as it lasts between 3 and 5 days, even after having contact with sweat or water.
Health Benefits of Kinesio Taping
Right now, kinesiotaping is used as an adjunct to relieve pain, reduce swelling and improve athletic performance. However, the evidence on its efficacy remains limited. Despite this, several studies show that, in many cases, they are beneficial.
1. Decreases joint irritation
An investigation published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy determined that the application of the kinesiology tape on the knee was useful to increase the space in the joint. This, although it occurs mildly, appears to decrease joint irritation.
Similar results were seen in a study shared in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that determined that the use of this bandage increased subacromial joint space.
2. Stimulates the circulation of blood and fluids
In case of injury, the kinesiotaping promotes circulation and helps reduce swelling of the affected areas. A study revealed by The Journal of Performance Health Research in 2017 showed that applying these bandages modestly improves blood flow to the skin.
Meanwhile, the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Medical Journal reported that therapy with these bandages was helpful in increasing blood circulation and lymphatic movement in patients who underwent total knee replacements. For now, more evidence is needed.
Either way, these effects could speed recovery from problems like bruising and swelling. Even so, it is strictly necessary that it be applied by the hand of professionals.
3. Promotes pain relief
Although the evidence is limited, one of the main benefits of kinesio taping has to do with pain relief. According to some physiotherapists, the application of this bandage allows modifying the signals in the pain impulse transmission pathways, which changes the response to stimuli.
Now, in this regard, a study published in Pain Research & Management concluded that the use of kinesiology tapes and the inactivation of trigger points produced an analgesic effect in painful forms of functional disorders of the chewing muscles.
4. It is an adjunct in the treatment of injuries
Due to its properties, the neuromuscular or kinesiotaping bandage is used as an ally when treating muscle injuries. According to information published in the American Physical Therapy Association, this intervention is most effective when used with other manual forms. In particular, it mitigates pain and inflammation.
5. Supports fatigued muscles
Kinesiology tape is often used to support weak muscles or joints. For example, it is often used as an adjunct to the treatment of Achilles tendonitis or patellofemoral stress syndrome. Its function is to improve both range of motion and physical endurance.
6. Promotes posture correction
The use of kinesiotaping is believed to help improve posture by “re-educating the muscles.” In other words, the use of this bandage corrects the function of the muscles that have become used to working in unhealthy ways.
A study published in The Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation determined that the application of this technique allows correcting the posture of the head and neck. This effect is believed to be achieved due to the feel of the tape on the skin, which increases posture awareness.
Contraindications of kinesiotaping
It is essential to bear in mind that kinesiotaping is not suitable for all audiences. In fact, it is best to consult a professional before proceeding to apply it.
The bands, in general, should be placed by the hand of experts to avoid inconveniences. Cases in which they should be avoided completely are as follows:
- Open wounds: its use implies a high risk of infection or damage to the dermal tissue.
- Sensitive skin: bandages of this type can cause tears.
- Allergies: Some people may experience dermatological reactions when wearing these tapes. If so, it is best to discontinue use.
- Deep vein thrombosis: since kinesiotaping increases blood and lymphatic flow, it can be dangerous in these cases.
- Chronic diseases: a bad application of the technique can carry risks in people with underlying chronic diseases, such as diabetes or cancer, for example. It is essential to consult a professional and comment on the existence of these pathologies.
What is there to remember about kinesiotaping?
Despite its widespread use in physiotherapy, there is a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of kinesiotaping. Anecdotal data suggests that it has positive effects in relieving pain, reducing swelling, and improving performance. However, these benefits are still the subject of research.
In any case, it is important to access this method from the hand of a trained professional, since its improper use can be counterproductive. A physiotherapist will be able to guide more precisely how to apply it, according to the need and the affected area. In addition, it will indicate how to remove it safely without damaging the skin.