Kinesiotaping: how does it work and what are its benefits?

Kinesiotaping is the term used to refer to the neuromuscular bandage or the application of kinesiology tapes. It is a technique that has gained relevance in physiotherapy, since its correct use provides multiple benefits, especially among those who practice sports.

According to a post on National Center for Biotechnology Information, this method was developed in the 1970s by the Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenso Kase, who presented them as a natural method to facilitate the recovery of the body.

Since then, are used as a supplement to soothe a wide variety of ailments and prevent injuries. Do you want to know more about its benefits? Here we tell you how it works, its main uses and some contraindications.

How does kinesiotaping work?

The kinesiotaping It works by applying an elastic band made of cotton and nylon. Its design mimics the elasticity and texture of human skin, being able to stretch up to 130 – 140% from its original size.

Due to this characteristic, creates a pulling force on the skin or muscle where it is applied. This allows a superior range of motion compared to traditional soft wraps.

Its effects depend, to a large extent, on its application throughout the body and also on the way it is placed. That is, they will vary depending on the direction of pull, shape, and location.

It should be noted that the band has a medical grade adhesive that is waterproof, with cotton fibers that facilitate quick drying. In addition, it is quite strong, because lasts between 3 and 5 days, even after contact with sweat or water.

Read also: Types of bandages in first aid

Benefits of kinesiotaping

Right now, the kinesiotaping It is used as an adjuvant to relieve pain, reduce swelling and improve sports performance. Nevertheless, evidence on its efficacy remains limited. Despite this, several investigations show that, in many cases, they are beneficial.

Do not confuse the kinesiotaping with the slim taping, focused on the treatment of cellulite and not on the neuromuscular approach.

Decreases joint irritation

An investigation disclosed in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy determined that lThe application of the kinesiology tape on the knee was useful to increase the space in the joint. This, although it occurs mildly, appears to decrease joint irritation.

Similar results were observed in a study shared in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics which determined that the use of this bandage increased the subacromial joint space.

Stimulates the circulation of blood and fluids

In case of injury, the kinesiotaping promotes circulation and helps reduce swelling in affected areas. A study revealed by The Journal of Performance Health Research in 2017 showed that the application of these bandages modestly improves the blood flow of the skin.

Meanwhile, through the medical journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Therapy with these bandages was reported to be helpful in increasing blood circulation and lymphatic movement in patients undergoing total knee replacements. For now, more evidence is needed.

Either way, these effects could speed up recovery from problems like bruising and swelling. Even so, it is strictly necessary that it be applied by the hand of professionals.

Supports pain relief

Although the evidence is limited, one of the main benefits of kinesiotaping it has to do with pain relief. According to some physiotherapists, the application of this bandage allows modifying the signals in the transmission pathways of the pain impulse, which changes the response to stimuli.

Now, in this regard, a study published in Pain Research & Management concluded that the use of kinesiology tapes and the inactivation of trigger points produced an analgesic effect in the painful forms of functional disorders of the chewing muscles.

It is an adjunct in the treatment of injuries

Due to its properties, the neuromuscular bandage or kinesiotaping It is used as an ally when treating muscle injuries. According to information published in American Physical Therapy Association, this intervention is most effective when used with other manual forms. In particular, it mitigates pain and inflammation.

Supports fatigued muscles

Kinesiology tape is often used to support weak muscles or joints. For example, it is often used as an adjunct to the treatment of Achilles tendonitis or patellofemoral stress syndrome. Its function is to improve both range of motion and physical endurance.

Promotes posture correction

It is believed that the use of kinesiotaping it can help improve posture by "re-educating the muscles." In other words, the use of this bandage corrects the function of the muscles that have become used to working in unhealthy ways.

A study published in The Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation determined that the application of this technique allows correcting the posture of the head and neck. This effect is believed to be achieved due to the feel of the tape on the skin, which increases posture awareness.

There would also be a correcting effect on the posture of the method, which would come from the sensation generated by the bands.

Contraindications of kinesiotaping

It is essential to bear in mind that the kinesiotaping it is not suitable for all audiences. In fact, it is best to consult a professional before proceeding to apply it.

The bands, in general, should be placed by the hand of experts to avoid inconveniences. Cases in which they should be avoided completely are as follows:

  • Open wounds: its use implies a high risk of infection or damage to dermal tissue.
  • Sensitive skin: bandages of this type can cause tears.
  • Allergies: some people may experience skin reactions when wearing these tapes. If so, it is best to discontinue use.
  • Deep venous thrombosis: Since the kinesiotaping increases blood and lymphatic flow, it can be dangerous in these cases.
  • Chronic diseases: a bad application of the technique can carry risks in people with underlying chronic diseases, such as diabetes or cancer, for example. It is essential to consult a professional and comment on the existence of these pathologies.

Discover: Knee sprain: causes, symptoms and recommendations

What is there to remember about kinesiotaping?

Despite its widespread use in physiotherapy, evidence is lacking on the effectiveness of kinesiotaping. Anecdotal data suggests that it has positive effects in relieving pain, reducing swelling, and improving performance. However, these benefits are still the subject of research.

In any case, It is important to access this method from the hand of a trained professional, since its misuse can be counterproductive. A physiotherapist will be able to guide more precisely how to apply it, according to the need and the affected area. In addition, it will indicate how to remove it safely without damaging the skin.