What are neuromuscular bandages?

Kinesiology tapes were created in 1979 by the Japanese Dr. Kenzo Kase after 6 years of clinical development. The idea for the product came from his search for a treatment for his patients between consultations. Until then, traditional tapes had been used, but these limited movement and put pressure on the affected muscle area, obstructing its circulation.

During all this time the technique has been developed and has spread all over the world. It is not uncommon to find professional athletes wearing them during competitions and their use by non-athletes is becoming more and more common.

What is a kinesiology tape?

Neuromuscular bandages, kinesiotaping or kinesiology tapes as they are called, are made of a cotton fabric with nylon fibres to give it elasticity. This elasticity is not recommended to be more than 50% of its length at rest and only in the longitudinal direction, the technique has not been designed for a transverse elasticity. On the other hand, they have an acrylic adhesive that is activated by heat and is hypoallergenic; this allows the bandage to be effectively maintained for 3 to 5 days and from then on its effectiveness decreases progressively. Finally, the inner side of the bandage has ripples that mimic the skin on the inside of the hand.

The key idea of this bandage is the imitation of human skin, hence the elasticity cannot be higher than 50% and the bandage has a high elasticity.

How does the kinesiology tape work?

The general functioning of the kinesiology tape is based on applying the bandage on the skin, the benefits we get from it will depend on the placement and elasticity that we apply to it. Instead of putting pressure on the muscles of the affected area, as happens with tape, obstructing both blood and lymphatic circulation and putting pressure on the nociceptors. It helps to open up the distance between the skin and the muscle, allowing these liquids to circulate and freeing the receptors, thus reducing pain and improving function.

Simultaneously, the kinesiology tape allows the natural movement of the muscle but prevents it from overextending, preventing injuries due to excessive elongation. In addition, it also has the function of support to avoid part of the muscle fatigue, so it makes the musculature work less, which allows for a faster recovery.

Finally, from a study by Lyman KJ, in 2017. “Investigating the effectiveness of kinesio taping space correction method in healthy adults on patellofemoral joint and subcutaneous space.” It was shown that the shape of the kinesiology tape, in addition to mimicking the skin on the inner side of the hand, by decompressing the area of the neuroreceptors, these sent signals to the brain that allowed for reduced recovery time.

What are kinesiology tape used for?

The main use of kinesiology tape is the treatment of muscle injuries. Associations such as the American Physical Therapy Association state that kinesiology tape treatment together with manual therapy is the most effective way to treat muscle injuries. Another widespread use is to provide stability, both muscular and joint, by improving contraction and also circulation of the weak muscle, either due to injury or because it is underused.

Other alternative uses include re-educating the movement of some muscles that function incorrectly or have an incorrect posture (such as the shoulder, neck or head), the drainage effect by reducing inflammation and bruising, favouring the evolution of scars by increasing the local blood supply…

Finally, they are used by professional athletes at times of great effort and as prevention to avoid injuries or discomfort because they improve sporting performance, as they stimulate specific muscle groups and reduce fatigue.

Main advantages of kinesiology tape

Throughout this article we have been mentioning the many advantages of kinesiology tape. To summarise them, we would have to say:

  • The bandage lasts for 3 to 5 days with full effectiveness.
  • It is hypoallergenic and can get wet.
  • Reduces muscle fatigue
  • Prevents muscle overextension
  • Relieves muscle pain
  • Improves blood and lymphatic flow to the affected area and reduces swelling.
  • Adjusts muscle misalignment caused by muscle spasms and contractures.
  • Prevention of injuries during peaks of high physical activity.

In today’s blog we have been able to begin to explore this type of bandage called kinesiology tape, in future posts we will address both the different techniques of this tapes, as well as different specific applications of these bandages.

Produced by the Technical Department of Calvo Izquierdo S.L.

 

How to cite this blog:

  • Calvo Izquierdo. BLOG: What are kinesiology tape? [Internet]. Calvo Izquierdo SL. 2022. Available: www.calvoizquierdo.es/en/what-are-kinesiology-tape/

 

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