By Lori Okami
Perhaps you’ve been a bit curious seeing people walk around with colorful tape seemingly haphazardly applied to various parts of their anatomy. It sure doesn’t look like the standard type of injury wrapping that we’ve seen athletes with in the ‘old days.’ Well, times and technology have changed but the need for health aids hasn’t.
Injuries occur more frequently than you realize, when trying to get in shape or further your fitness goals. And they happen in a variety of areas as well: muscle strains and sprains, damage to connective tissues, pain in joints, or even overuse of muscles which can lead to tears in the fibers themselves. With such a wide variety of ways to cause bodily damage to ourselves, it’s great that we have massage and physical therapists, chiropractors, and orthopedists to help. Many will use various aids to help prevent and recover from an injury. The one I’ll be discussing today is athletic tape, specifically Kinesio Tex Tape.
Athletic tape has a variety of uses, from preventing blisters and rashes, to compressing joints to give support and prevent strains. You will see athletes wearing it all the time. However, reports have shown that typical athletic tape begins to lose its structural support after about 20 minutes of exercise. So what is the best way to support weak areas and prevent injury while maintaining an active lifestyle? My physical therapist answered this question by introducing me to the Kinesio Taping Method.
This therapeutic athletic tape offers the same kind of support and stability to muscles and joints as normal athletic tape does, but without the rigidity, which allows for full range motion. The tape can be worn for days and helps to alleviate pain while facilitating lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. By increasing the volume within the area, inflammation decreases. It can be applied to any area on the body and does not come off when sweating or showering (though having a minimal amount of hair in the area does help to prolong its staying power).
The only downside is that because this tape can manipulate and reposition skin and joints, without knowing the Kinesio Taping Method, you may cause more harm than good. That’s why it is critical that you have it applied by a person certified in this taping method. Many health practitioners now are picking up on this therapeutic technique. If you ever find yourself in pain due to a typical athletic injury, I would suggest seeking out a health professional that is certified in the Kinesio Taping Method. It could be the aid you need.
From personal experience, with physical therapy, the Kinesio tape has greatly helped with relieving pain in muscles and joints, allowing support for those areas affected, and helping to reposition joints to prevent further injury. I would definitely recommend giving it a try and seeing how it can positively affect your athletic performance and rehabilitation.
By Casey Okami-Watanabe
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