What Is Elastic Therapeutic Tape
If you’ve ever watched a competitive bicycle race, basketball, or volleyball game, you’ve probably spotted it; a colorful strip of tape stretched across the knees, shoulders, back, or abs of an athlete. This is elastic therapeutic tape, also known as kinesiology tape.
When applied strategically to the body, it provides support, reduces edema, enhances performance, and lessens pain.
Enthusiasts swear by its beneficial properties; skeptical people claim it’s nothing more than a Placebo effect. But hey; in the end, does it really matter if the tape truly works or if it’s Placebo if it helps you achieve your aims?
If you want to give it a try, here’s everything you need to know about the elastic therapeutic tape.
What Is Elastic Therapeutic Tape?
Elastic therapeutic tape goes by many names. Some call it kinesiology tape. Others athletic tape. No matter how you call it, this tape is meant to be applied to different parts of your body to help you relieve sports-related stress and pain.
According to researchers, this tape facilitates fluid drainage, boosts blood flows, and helps decrease inflammation.
Easy to apply directly to the skin, it resists sweat and will last for a long time.
While there are many brands, who produce elastic tape currently, this product has been invented by Dr. KenzoKase, a Japanese chiropractor whose intention was that of developing a product able to provide support without limiting the movement in the way traditional athletic tapes do.
How Does It Work?
The elastic therapeutic tape was developed to aid with sports-related injuries and is particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of shin splints, sprains, strains, muscle cramps, Achilles tendonitis, as well as sports-caused edema.
The tape works by lifting up your skin, an action that increases blood flow while reducing pain and swelling. Thanks to this action, it accelerates muscle and joint recovery rates.
What To Use Elastic Therapeutic Tape For?
Obviously, the primary purpose of the elastic therapeutic tape is that of treating injuries and speeding up the recovery process. Besides that, it can also serve an array of secondary purposes. Here are the main uses of therapeutic tape.
Treating injuries – Often recommended by physical therapists, the elastic therapeutic tape is the go-to treatment for most sports-related injuries. However, the American Physical Therapy Association states that the tape is more efficient when associated with other treatments, including massages or drug therapy.
Supporting weak zones – If you have weak joints or muscles, kinesiology tape can add the necessary extra support while you’re performing athletic activities. Indeed, the tape is a very useful aid for athletes suffering from femoral stress syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, or band friction syndrome. Because this kind of tape doesn’t hinder movement, it can also help boost performance and reduce muscle fatigue.
Re-educating muscles–If you’ve suffered a severe injury that caused a loss of muscle function, the elastic tape can help you regain strength and re-educate your muscle. According to recent studies, the tape might even be effective in helping patients that have suffered strokes or other debilitating accidents.
Enhancing performance – You don’t have to wait for an injury to occur to use elastic therapeutic tape. In fact, specialists recommend to use it as protection against injury. By reducing pain, kinesiology tape can help you achieve peak performance.
Managing scars – Elastic tape should never be used on an open wound, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use it on scars. According to research, it might help improve the appearance of a scar either after an injury or after surgery. Keep in mind though that you should talk to your doctor before using it on any scars and especially after a surgery.
How To Apply Elastic Therapeutic Tape?
While there isn’t a specific pattern, all therapists advise to apply it in an I, Y, or X pattern, depending on your goals. If you need to alternate between stabilization and decompression strips, apply the tape in a fan pattern, following the steps below:
- Clean the area with lukewarm water and dry it before applying. Make sure the skin is clean of any lotions or oils.
- Trim off any excess hair if present in the area where you want to apply the tape.
- If the strip doesn’t have rounded corners, use scissors to cut them round, then tear the backing paper at the center of the tape.
- Apply the first tab to anchor the strip, then slightly recoil the backing paper. Make sure to not stretch the tape in the last two inches of either end, or it might not hold as expected or it might pull your skin.
- Stretch the tape gently and wrap it around the painful spot or raise the skin under it if you’re applying the tape in an I pattern. At the same time, use the whole length of your thumb to stick it to your skin.
- After applying, rub vigorously for a few seconds to activate the glue. Keep in mind that it may take up to 20 minutes for full adhesion.
How To Remove It?
If the tape hasn’t loosened on its own while wearing it, apply a few drops of body oil to one end and start pulling it gently to avoid damaging your skin. Continue until you removed the whole tape, then moisturize your skin with body oil.
With this in mind, you should now be able to use elastic therapeutic tape like a pro. No doubt, this product can help you overcome your limitation, enhance athletic performance, and deal with injuries in the best possible way.