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Kinesio Tape: How It Works And How You Can Benefit From It

By Expert Author: Dr. Richard Sayegh

Kinesio Taping is a technique we use that exhibits its efficacy through the activation of neurological and circulatory systems. This method basically stems from the science of Kinesiology, hence the name “Kinesio”. Muscles are not only attributed to the movements of the body, but also control the circulation of venous and lymph flows, body temperature, etc. Therefore, the failure of the muscles to function properly induces various kinds of symptoms. Kinesio Taping gives support and stability to your joints and muscles without affecting circulation and range of motion. It is also used for preventive maintenance, edema and to treat pain.

Kinesio Tape is used for anything from headaches to foot problems and everything in between. Examples include: muscular facilitation or inhibition in paediatric patients, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain/pain (subluxations, herniated disc), knee conditions, shoulder conditions, hamstring, groin injury, rotator cuff injury, whiplash, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, patella tracking, pre and post surgical edema, ankle sprains, athletic preventative injury method and as a support method.

The Kinesio Taping Method differs from athletic strapping tape. Athletic strapping tape is used mostly to limit ranges of motion and to constrict muscle movement. The effect of this method is to create a bridge over the areas that are injured so that athletes can perform sport movements and have either prophylactic support or support to an injured part of the body. Athletic tape is typically removed after the end of an athletic event.

The working model gives rise to the basic theoretical concepts of the Kinesio Taping Method. There are six basic concepts of the Kinesio Taping technique called corrections. They are: mechanical, fascia (fascial), space, ligament/tendon, functional, and circulatory/ lymphatic. Mechanical corrections are used for improved stability and biomechanics. Fascia or fascial corrections create or direct movement of fascia. Space corrections are used for decreasing pressure over a target tissue. Tendon/ligament corrections decrease stress on a ligament or tendon. Functional corrections provides sensory stimulation to either assist or limit a motion. Circulatory/lymphatic corrections help move lymphatic fluid from more congested to less congested areas.

The Kinesio Tape pulls the upper layers of skin, creating more space between the dermis and the muscle. The space created is believed to relieve pressure on the lymph channels in the area between the muscle and the dermis, creating more space for lymph flow and thus better lymph drainage through an affected area. This space also houses various nerve receptors that send specific information to the brain. When the space between the epidermis and the muscle is compressed, such as during an injury, these nerve receptors are compressed and send information to the brain regarding continuous touch, light touch, cold, pain, pressure, and heat. This inflammation causes the brain to send out certain signals to the body on how to react to particular stimuli. Kinesio Tape alters the information that these receptors send to the brain and causes a less reactive response in the body, allowing the body to work in a more normal manner and removing some of the roadblocks that normally slow down the healing process. Kinesio Tape also is felt to affect deeper tissues in the body. Increased space theoretically allows muscles, greater contractility, which in turn pushes more fluid through the muscle, resulting in better muscle performance. The end results are believed to be reduced muscle fatigue, increase in range of motion, and better quality of the muscle contraction. It is also used to improve joint alignment by affecting the muscles and fascia and can reduce poor function of a joint by influencing opposing muscle groups and joint mobility.

Fascia and lymph have an intimate relationship with each other. Fascia is a material that divides and separates the muscles and internal organs and helps to provide support against gravity in some parts of the body. Lymph removes fluids and chemical substances in the muscles. Lymph channels pass though fascia between the bone and the muscle and superficially between the skin and the muscle. Lymph ducts range in size from smaller than a hair to 2 cm lymph nodes. Major lymph channels can be found in the groin, neck, and armpits. When the flow of lymph is restricted or increased, an accumulation of fluid occurs behind the congested area, resulting in swelling that decreases space between the muscle and skin, causing the body to react to a painful stimulus.

At S.M.A.R.T Spine Institute we utilize multiple modalities to activate and/or initiate the body’s natural healing process from sports injuries, overuse injuries, trauma and biomechanical dysfunctions.

Dr. Laura Ho is a Chiropractor and Pain Management Specialist with an emphasis in sports medicine. She received her Doctorate of Chiropractics degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. Specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic sports injuries, Kinesio Taping Los Angeles, athletic taping, Active Release Techniques, myofascial release, physio-therapy, active rehabilitation and more.

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