In recent years, kinesio tape is increasingly used. At university, the uses and functions of this patch are studied, and every day you see people with colored ribbons on their bodies at every major sporting event. But what is it for?
Below, we will let you discover in detail what the function of this elastic patch is. What is it used for? Have we gotten to a point where too much is used?
Basic concepts of kinesio tape
The Kinesio tape is a banding method based on ‘ application of elastic bands on the muscles or on the painful parts. These are patches that extend to over 100% of their length.
In addition, they come with an adhesive to apply them to the skin easily. Just pull the patches and then shape them on the desired part. In this way, they exert a constant tension on the patient’s skin tissue, which can be modulated according to how much the kinesio tape is pulled before applying it.
Main uses of kinesio tape
Although in some cases the effectiveness of kinesio tape is not proven, there are several situations in which it is. For example, it has been shown to improve range of motion in people with shoulder conditions.
There are also cases in which the kinesio tape improves the position of the humerus relative to the scapula in patients with pathologies in this area. This is confirmed by a case study published in the International Journal of Physical Therapy .
The Kinesio tape is also used as a sensory reminder. It means that if the patient has a problem with his leg, he will feel the presence of the kinesio tape when he moves it. This stimulus will remind the patient to pay attention to that part of the body and not to overload it.
However, several studies have shown that this method is not effective when it is necessary to improve certain aspects in healthy patients. A study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy states that it does not help speed up muscle contraction when a sudden stimulus occurs.
In fact, the first study cited argues that it doesn’t even help relieve pain, beyond the mobility benefits. In this field, therefore, it is not very effective.
It is not a miracle therapy
Based on the above, it is clear that kinesio tape should not be used without adequate justification. This neuromuscular taping is often applied to relieve any type of muscle pain. As we have seen, however, it is more suitable for some applications than for others.
The effectiveness of the kinesio tape depends on why the physiotherapist applies it. It must also be remembered that it is difficult to carry out studies on all possible cases. It may be that, although there is no scientific proof, a method gives positive results. However, there are often scientifically proven methods that can be used as safer alternatives.
Different areas of application
As an example of how difficult it would be to obtain scientific studies on this method, we have the ways in which it is applied. Among the various alternatives, there is the I, X, Y, star, twisted, etc. application method.
All of these methods refer to the shape drawn by the bandage on the patient’s skin, and each has different effects. There are also patches of different colors, depending on the degree of elasticity, which can be used for each of these methods.
With all these methods of application, kinesio tape affects circulation and fascia, and heals bruises. However, there are no studies that support or disprove these uses.
Kinesio tape: one more tool
Based on what we have seen, kinesio tape can be an effective tool. Nowadays, it is difficult to turn to a physiotherapist who does not have this material. Its positive effects on range of motion or proprioception are significant, as well as being a constant reminder to the patient.
It must be remembered, however, as in so many other cases, that the most effective way to apply this method is within a broader treatment. Namely, a method that complements other techniques that help the patient in the two or three days after application.
With the information we have available, this is what we know about using kinesio tape . Future studies will tell us how far the effects of this patch go.