We’ve seen a fair amount of fitness trends hit the internet promising better recovery for athletes- some more founded in truth than others. From ice bath recovery to massage guns, we’re not short on options.
Sport-specific training is rigorous; it requires endurance, intensity, and repetition, and demands a lot from our musculoskeletal system. Recovery, therefore, is paramount for maintaining an effective training regime and sports performance.
Traditionally, recovery has involved rest, diet, supplements, medication, and physical garments such as braces and supports.
But could kinesiology tape be the answer we’re all looking for?
WHAT IS KINESIOLOGY TAPE?
Kinesiology, as defined by the Kinesiology Association, is an anatomical science focusing on treatment of connective tissue, joints, muscles, and tendons- our musculoskeletal system.
Categorized as a form of holistic therapy, kinesiology uses muscle testing and response to measure movement quality and physiological function. By identifying imbalances within muscles and tissues, we can rebalance the system and improve overall health and wellbeing.
The tape itself is formed from an extremely stretchable cotton material that mimics the skin’s elasticity, providing support for up to 5 days and without over-restricting the area.
WHERE DID KINESIOLOGY TAPE COME FROM?
In 1970s Japan, Dr. Kenzo Kase (a Japanese chiropractor) developed a Kinesio Taping® technique that led to the development of his Kinesio Tex tape.
He aimed to find a sports taping method which could provide muscle and joint support while assisting in the healing of traumatized tissue and muscles- all without inhibiting range of motion.
Kinesiology tape introduced a therapeutic approach to athletic taping by combining the benefits of regular taping with those of traditional kinesiology, also assisting the lymphatic system and bringing holistic healing practices to the forefront of sport.
THE BENEFITS OF KINESIOLOGY TAPE
Kinesiology tape aims to aid soft-tissue injury and manage the pain (mostly) caused by overuse and strain; this makes it accessible for most people.
So, what are some of the benefits?
- IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW AND ROM
This taping method maintains support to the joints and muscles while allowing blood and lymphatic fluid to continue moving freely through, and around, the muscles. It can help to improve circulation while allowing injuries to heal and the body to cleanse.
Research suggests that applying the tape can create subcutaneous space, changing the pressure in that particular area of skin; this change of pressure can enhance flow.
- REDUCED PAIN
Gentle pressure and increased circulation can reduce inflammation and chemical build-up, helping to limit pain.
- PROVIDES STABILITY
Corrective taping enables weaker muscles to move more efficiently, which can help prevent over-extension and over-contraction.
The idea is that we can improve sports performance by ‘waking up’ sleeping muscles and retraining how the body moves.
- PROMOTES SELF-HEALING
Kinesiology taping uses our body’s own healing systems to promote recovery. By allowing the body to gently flush and cleanse waste from the body while helping muscles to work more effectively.
DOES KINESIOLOGY TAPE WORK?
Unfortunately, the research is limited and the jury is still out for this method of taping. However, while some suggest the evidence is lacking, others suggest that this method (alongside regular treatment) can still be beneficial for anyone looking to enhance recovery.
The content of this article does not constitute medical advice by a registered healthcare professional. You can find the best physiotherapists and sports therapists near you, qualified in kinesiology taping, in our sports performance directory.
 Cited 30.12.21, Orthopaedic Associates,
 Cited 01.01.2022, Performance Health Research performancehealthresearch.com/article/1801