Kinesiology tape is an elastic therapeutic tape that assists in the mechanics of body movement. In simple terms, muscles pull on bones to move joints through their motion. You know the song “the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone”. Joints and the tissue related to the bones and joint are in constant communication. Every muscle has a job to do. Think about a group of people all speaking at the same time; no one is listening or paying attention to each other. You must get their attention to get everyone to work together. In the same manner, kinesiology tape gets the attention of muscles, joints, and tendons.
With regards to movement, the brain and nervous system are in control. They will only fire a muscle around a joint that is trusted. If you have you ever tried to raise your arm and you feel a pain or a tug then you have experienced this reaction. Chances are one muscle may be pulling too much while another is not pulling at all. This dysfunction affects movement. You may have even put your hand on the “owie” spot and it was easier to raise your arm. You created a kinesthetic awareness. You basically reminded the muscle “Hey! You have a job to do!” You got its attention. Once the muscle was activated the movement was easier.
Kinesiology tape is applied to facilitate a muscle or movement pattern, inhibit a muscle or movement pattern or to provide additional support to a muscle or joint. Kinesiology tape allows for movement, while traditional “athletic tape” is rigid and does not allow for movement. That is another topic and equally requires knowledge of when and how to apply the athletic tape. Simply taping yourself with athletic or elastic tape without understanding the basic may deliver poor results.
There are various ways to apply kinesiology tape to affect movement physiology. The elastic tape is simply a tool. The application is a therapeutic modality to decrease dysfunction, pain, swelling, and/or improve performance. Knowing how, why, and when to tape various body parts to affect one of these outcomes is crucial and requires a competent evaluation. It is advised to seek the guidance of a health practitioner that understands muscular movement patterns.