If you’ve ever come across someone wearing a flashy colored tape whilst in the gym or perhaps in any video, that tape is not there just for the sake of it, it has a purpose. It’s known as Kinesiology Tape and it has gradually risen in popularity over the years among physiotherapists and professionals. Just what is it? Is it any good? Let’s find out.

What is Kinesiology Tape?

The use of kinesiology tape has grown significantly over the years. That’s because people are becoming more and more aware of its benefits. The main purpose of the tape is to relieve pain in an affected muscle group.

Image: Men's Health

Image: Men’s Health

How is this done? The injured or the muscle in pain is covered with the tape. This provides a lifting effect on the skin which decompresses the affected area. As a result, blood flow to the muscle is increased which helps in removing the wastes and byproducts that arise due to inflammation and thus, the healing process is sped up. The tape also interferes with the pain receptors in the skin, which disrupts the pain signals sent to the brain. In short: you feel less pain when the tape is applied.

Does the tape really work?

There are a lot of people who’re skeptical of the colored tape. However, it really is useful for many reasons. The tape’s being increasingly used by many athletes for a reason. You’ll see the tape pop up wherever there’s a lot of physical activity involved, for example, the WWE.

This is because the tape is best used in treating musculoskeletal injuries, most of which occur due to overuse. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see many athletes use the tape as they might be suffering from an injury, or they may be trying to perform their activity pain-free.

Image: Linfordchiropratic

Image: Linfordchiropratic

Kinesiology tape is able to help with many muscular injury cases such as shoulder impingement, low back pain etc. Shoulder impingement and lower back pain are the two most common forms of muscular pain people suffer from. Kinesiology tape can help such people relieve the pain and heal a lot. Moreover, if such a person is having trouble working out due to these pains, they can apply the tape and enjoy a pain-free workout.

To answer the question: the tape does work, it’s highly useful in treating injuries and reducing the pain around the affected region. However, there are a few things one should know about the tape as it’s not a piece of magic, it does have its limitations.

The Limitations

The work kinesiology tape does to reduce pain and promote healing is not miracle work. It’s only limited to musculoskeletal injuries and you won’t heal just by applying the tape alone. It’ll help with healing, but the main purpose of the tape is to take advantage of its pain reducing capabilities. Once the tape is applied, you can work with your physiotherapist to perform some therapy drills which will result in true healing.

As mentioned earlier, the tape only deals with muscular injuries. If you’re dealing with something more severe such as an ACL or rotator cuff tear, then don’t expect much. The maximum the tape will do is help reduce a bit of the pain and clear the waste in areas where inflammation has occurred. The tape helps in healing, it doesn’t heal by itself. It helps you in performing rehab exercises that result in true healing.

How to use Kinesiology Tape?

The best part of kinesiology tape is that anyone can apply it, you don’t need the supervision of any specialist. Applying the tape is as easy as covering the affected muscle with the tape and then rubbing down on it to ensure it’s applied firmly.

Image: Theratape

Image: Theratape

In order to make sure that the tape is able to grab the skin properly, stretch it a little before applying. You also need to be careful not to use too much. All you need to tape is the muscle itself, so quantity wise you just need enough tape to cover the entire length of the muscle.

For example, you want to cover your bicep with the tape. In this case, you don’t need to cover the entire arm. Just stretch the tape to cover the bicep all the way down to the elbow and that should be fine. Leave the tape on for a few days, four to five works fine. Remove it earlier if it irritates your skin.

Remember, the tape is only there to help with the healing process. True healing comes with rehab and physiotherapy. Kinesiology tape is only there to help reduce the pain so you can perform some rehab exercises. The tape definitely works, give it a try before your next workout if you feel pain in some areas.


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