As was previously mentioned lymphatic fluid flow becomes obstructed in areas of damaged tissues. This obstructs the natural healing process thereby impeding your recovery. In order to allow for proper lymphatic drainage away from the area of damaged tissue, the tape is typically applied UNSTRETCHED. In this situation, the skin of the affected area is stretched before the application of the kinesio tape. This is done by elongating the muscles and joints in the affected area and then applying the tape. As the muscles and joints return to their normal positions, the taped skin will begin to form convolutions (a ripple effect).
Kinesio Taping helps to alleviate pain, increase blood flow and facilitates in the channeling of lymphatic fluids away from the injured area by microscopically lifting the skin. The convolutions that it creates in the skin helps increase interstitial space (space between the skin and muscles), allowing for better drainage of the swelling which results in pressure and irritation being removed from neural sensory receptors and ultimately relieving pain.
If on the other hand, joints or ligaments are injured, we want to provide more of a supporting network. In this situation the tape should be STRETCHED before applying it to the skin. Ligaments and joints that have become damaged typically lose their ability to stabilize and to provide proper functional control to a segment, thereby relying on stretched tape for this correction. Kinesio Taping is based on a different philosophy that aims to give free range of motion in order to allow the body’s muscular system to heal itself bio-mechanically through continued use.
The Main Functions of Kinesio Taping
- Muscle and joint re-education (through increased proprioceptive input)
- Decreases pain
- Limits over-extension and over-contraction of muscle tissue
- Decreases muscle cramping
- Assists in reducing edema and inflammation
- Improves range of motion
- Helps decrease muscular fatigue
- Stabilizes joints after Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy