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What is Kinesiology Taping?

22 Dec 2017

You’ve probably seen that colorful tape on someone’s arm or leg at the gym or pool. Or maybe you’ve glimpsed it on an athlete while watching a competition on TV. Those colorful strips are indicative of a therapy that’s gaining interest – kinesiology taping.

In order to explain just what this is and what it does, let’s start with the first part: kinesiology.

What is it?  Kinesiology is a science that specializes in evaluating and testing bodily movement, usually human (although there are kinesiologists who work with animals, particularly race horses). A kinesiologist will test body movements, in particular muscular action, and look for imbalances or areas lacking in energy. The goal of a kinesiology practitioner is to ehance wellness, function, and healing.

So where does the tape come in? The practice originated in Japan in the 1980s and was first observed being used by their Olympic athletes. It has since expanded around the world, especially among athletes. But it also has some therapeutic use for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It can even be helpful in managing edema and musculoskeletal pain.

Kinesiology tape differs from earlier supportive or strapping tape used by athletes. Kinesiology tape is a very elastic backed by acrylic adhesive. Unlike strapping tape it is extremely stretchy and can be worn for several days. Since strapping tape is restrictive and nonelastic, it must be removed after a short time. And kinesiology tape is applied only to targeted areas rather than being wrapped. Because of this, it enhances rather than restricts movement. And it can be worn 24/7, even when bathing or swimming, which makes it an idea supportive aid.

The use of kinesiology tape is designed to support the body while it heals, providing stability as well as support in weak areas without restricting range of motion like a brace or wrap might. At times it may also be used to support a muscle group that may be stressed during a workout or competition in order to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Who uses kinesiology tape?

You’ll find it in a diverse range of situations, from physical therapists to chiropractors to athletic trainers to other medical professionals, including acupucturists. Some doctors are even instructing their patients in home use. But it’s most effective when applied by a trained professional. At our Minneapolis massage school we’re excited to offer a continuing education course to instruct bodywork therapists in kinesiology taping. We regularly present this course, and our next session is January 20, 2018. Current bodywork therapy students as well as graduates may enroll. Massage and shiatsu therapists may want to consider adding this technique to their skills, as it can be an excellent supportive therapy for clients recovering from injury or dealing with chronic pain or edema.  

For more information on our upcoming class, Kinesiology Taping for Bodyworkers, click here.   Register by January 10th to avoid a late fee.


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