Blog written by Meriel Davis, chiropractor working in our Brighton and Hove chiropractic clinic. Mel works regularly on sports people and athletes, as well as the general population. She occasionally uses kinesio taping on her clients and people are often asking us what it is, especially after seeing it on top sports stars in the London Olympics.

Kinesio tape, which also has plenty of other brand names is very ‘in vogue’ at the moment and you probably noticed its widespread use throughout the Olympics. I certainly used it a lot whilst I was in Germany at the European Masters Athletics championships. You can get them in all different colours including tiger print or union jack coloured!! But…

What is this tape and how does it work?

Kinesio tape, a strong elasticated tape, was developed more than 30 years ago by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr Kenzo Kase. He found that the application of the tape replicated some of the beneficial effects of manual therapy – such as massage – in reducing pain and soreness for injured patients.

First seen on Sumo wrestlers, the tape took off when rolls were donated to 58 countries at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Sportsmen and women from Lance Armstrong to Serena Williams have sported various types of elastic therapeutic tape, and a confusing array of brands have proliferated.

Now for the science bit..

When applied to the skin, the kinesiotape pulls the upper layers of the skin therefore creating more space between the dermis (the layer of skin) and the muscle. The space created relieves pressure on the lymph channels between the muscle and dermis, therefore creating better drainage through the affected area.

This space also houses various nerve receptors that send specific information to the brain. When the space between the dermis 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 information causes the brain to send out certain signals to the body on how to react to particular stimuli. Kinesiotape 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.

Kinesiotape is also said to affect deeper tissues in the body. Increased space created by the lifting effect of the tape 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 range of motion and better quality of muscle contraction.

So there you have it, now you know the theory behind the colourful tape which is all in fashion. Kinesio taping by chiropractors is definitely used, it’s not just used by physiotherapists, as is the general consensus! For a lot of people it can really be a useful adjunct to chiropractic care.

We use it at Back 2 Balance too and even have the Union Jack design in stock 🙂

So, have you lot found it beneficial to improve your sports performance or heal quicker from injury? Or do you think it’s all a load of rubbish? We would love to know your thoughts…..