In case you were wondering why so many athletes these days seem to be nearly covered in brightly colored tape, here’s the answer. It’s called kinesio tape and it’s a type of elastic therapeutic tape used by sports trainers and team medical personnel around the world. It works by gently lifting your skin away from the muscles and joints just below the surface which allows for increased blood flow to an injury, less swelling, less pain, and improved performance. It works best when it’s applied correctly and if you’re curious, here are a few secrets to proper kinesio taping.
Patterns for kinesio taping
Kinesio taping is applied to the skin in a pattern. Typically it’s applied in an X, Y, or I. The Y shape is often used for a specific muscle or to control the positioning of the knee cap. The X shape is used when covering large parts of the body and when the goal is to impact multiple muscles. The I shape is used for specific injuries and to correct alignment. Sometimes the tape is applied in a donut shape when the goal is to protect muscles that have been overused, or in a fan shape for improving lymphatic drainage in a specific area.
Don’t forget to activate the tape
Once you apply the tape to the skin in the proper pattern, it’s important you don’t forget to activate it. The adhesive on the tape is heat activated so it’s wise to utilize the warmth of your hands starting in the center of the tape and working outwards. It’s smart to continue rubbing for upwards of 20 minutes to be sure the tape is activated and set. Well-applied tape can last 3-5 days and is even water resistant when applied properly.
Making kinesio taping affordable
There are 50 plus brands of kinesio tape on the market currently. They range in price from $20 to $50 a roll. The best way to control the cost of the tape if you use it often is to buy it in bulk. It’s important to use it only when you need it and to follow all directions for applications to be sure it sticks around for a while.
What if you applied it wrong?
People sometimes think that if you apply kinesio tape improperly, it can hurt you or cause more harm to an injured area. That’s simply not true. Instead, incorrectly applied tape just won’t deliver relief or the healing you were hoping for. It’s very important to use the property application technique or to visit a professional who knows exactly how to do it right.