Self-cultivation for massage therapists makes up an essential part of our daily routines. When it comes to injuries -- which as we all know can happen despite our best efforts to avoid them -- kinesiology therapeutic tape provides a significant benefit for a faster, more stable recovery. This tape has specific qualities which sets it apart from other athletic tape, wraps, or braces. Not only can we use this tape to benefit ourselves as therapists, but combining the support and remarkable effect of the tape with bodywork presents an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of our treatments. To truly appreciate the power of kinesiology therapeutic tape, keep reading below to get an idea of what this tape does, use the provided links to do your own research and try it out to see the incredible results for yourself.
How does kinesiology tape work and what qualities set it apart from other tape?
Basically, kinesiology tape stretches only one direction due to its unique framework and mimics the elasticity of the skin. The specific stretch of the tape for each application gives the underlying muscles structure while increasing fluid circulation for that area. While straightforward athletic tape to a certain extent shuts down the circulation in order to support the injury, kinesiology tape slightly lifts the skin with structure as well as flexibility. For a more complete yet concise explanation (including a video), see "What is KT Tape" on kttape.com.
Note: KT Tape is a brand name – other brands include Kinesio Tape and RockTape among others.
How can massage therapists add kinesiology tape to their treatments?
Kinesiology tape may supplement bodywork in order to continue the effects of increased circulation begun with massage. Also, when applied after a massage, it may provide structure yet flexibility for unstable joints surrounded by muscles that formerly kept the joint secure which have now been released. Because most massage is contraindicated locally for inflamed injuries, kinesiology tape can be used days prior to bodywork in order to reduce inflammation. The tape can be beneficial for certain pathologies, for example lymphedema and ITB Syndrome. And of course, therapists can use the tape for their own injuries. Many taping protocols and applications can be found on the various websites previous mentioned with the brand names. For example, at KT Tape’s website, not only do they have general taping applications, but also a blog and an “ask the expert” section. Other tape, such as RockTape, offers a special certification course to become a practitioner.
What cautions or modifications should be considered when using kinesiology tape?
Kinesiology tape should not be used on those undergoing cancer treatments. Abdominal applications should not be used for women who are pregnant. Most brands of tape last for up to seven days, but a day or two of rest should be scheduled in between applications.
Image: application for wrist pain with multiple uses
Now you have all the resources that you need to try kinesiology tape for yourself or your clients. Locally in Anchorage, you can find KT Tape at Sports Authority or Play It Again Sports. Feel free to leave comments about your experience!