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Kinesiology Tape: What It Is, How It Works and Why Use Is Growing

Kinesiology Tape: What It Is, How It Works and Why Use Is Growing


You may have noticed college and professional athletes wearing tape, often bright in color, on their arms, legs and other extremities. That’s no ordinary medical tape they’re wearing. It is kinesiology tape, also referred to as kinesio tape, and it’s a light, elastic tape used for pain relief and other health benefits proponents believe it to have.

To understand how kinesiology tape works, it’s important to have a basic grasp of what kinesiology is. In its simplest terms, kinesiology is the study of how our bodies move. Kinesiology is used to identify points of weakness within muscles brought on by a variety of factors. It also employs healing techniques that work in tandem with the body’s natural healing processes.

Kinesiology tape allows those who wear it to feel the muscle movements when they’re competing or training. Proprioception, as it is known, is the awareness of the position of one’s body, which is one of the benefits of wearing kinesiology tape.

Kinesiology tape was invented by Kenzo Kase in 1979, at which time Kase’s clients were primarily sumo wrestlers. Kase has compared kinesiology tape to acupuncture and herbal medicines that the Western world has been slow to adopt.

Why is it popular?

Kinesiology tape has continued to grow in popularity since it first graced the television screens of Americans during the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, when Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner, Misty May-Treanor, won the gold medal in women’s beach volleyball. Walsh Jennings was recovering from a torn rotator cuff during the games.

Since then the popularity of kinesiology tape has skyrocketed, being used by athletes all across American professional sports, most visibly in the National Basketball Association. Some NBA teams even employed professionals who are known as Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioners. The tape’s popularity is attributed, at least in part, to the fact that athletes are looking for perceived advantages over the competition.

What’s it made of, and how does it help?

Traditional athletic tape, which is made out of cotton, is designed to stabilize body parts. Kinesiology tape, on the other hand, is infused with elastic polymer strands that provide the wearer flexibility and range of motion in addition to support for the affected muscles.

Using the tape involves adhering it to two anchor points on your skin at either end of the affected area. There is a skill to applying the tape, and it is best to consult a trained physiotherapist on how to do so if possible. The tape should be allowed to dry for at least one hour prior to exposure to water or sweat.

The tape is believed to accelerate healing and blood flow by lifting the skin away from the affected areas. However, claims of physiological effectiveness or advantages relative to traditional athletic tape are largely unfounded on the basis of scientific evidence. It is certainly possible that any benefits brought about by wearing the tape are purely psychological, the result of a substantial placebo effect.

Those who try using the tape are essentially trying it in hopes that it will have a positive effect for them and their bodies, in lieu of any substantial evidence from scientific studies. With that being said, the benefits derived from using kinesiology tape can vary from person to person, and everyone has their own preferences as far as pain management goes.

Kinesiology tape is only part of the treatment.

While using kinesiology tape can be potentially effective in your healing process or help you perform better, it is only part of the treatment process. Other treatment techniques, such as physical therapy and clinical massage therapy, are crucial aspects of rehabilitation in athletes. Your muscles require adequate rest regardless of whether you’re dealing with a muscle ailment or not.

Clinical therapy massage employs natural methods to relieve pain and helps kick-start the regeneration process of muscles. Such massages are performed by certified professionals who have been thoroughly trained in the methods of clinical massage therapy.

Commence your clinical massage therapy career at Soma.

If you live in the Chicagoland area and are looking to start a career in clinical massage therapy, the Soma Institute might be the perfect fit for you.

At the Soma Institute, students learn clinical massage therapy from experienced faculty who are well versed in the practice. The Soma Institute is dedicated to providing its students with the personal attention they need to master the art of clinical massage therapy. Soma’s students receive interactive training to learn the finer points of clinical massage.

The Soma Institute offers its Clinical Massage Therapy Diploma Program in a couple of different scheduling options to best accommodate prospective students. By attending classes two days per week, students can complete the program in 11 months. The alternative is attending classes on one weeknight and Saturday each week, which takes 15 months to complete.

The Soma Institute is proud to offer unique internship options to its students. Students have the opportunity to intern at the school’s on-campus clinic, gaining meaningful experience under the watch of experienced supervisors. The other type of internship the Soma Institute offers allows students to perform sports massage on NCAA Division I athletes at Loyola University Chicago.

Financial aid is available for those who are eligible. The Soma Institute also offers free tutoring services to its students.

Learn more about the Soma Institute and its programs or schedule a campus tour by visiting today.