Kinesiology Taping


Kinesiology Tape Background

It has become increasingly common to see human athletes wearing kinesiology tape. You may have noticed it on an athlete during a competition or training event. This tape, which ranges in colors and patterns from tan to bright pink, is more than a fashion statement, it actually has a therapeutic purpose in that it decreases pain, increases muscle strength, improves blood and lymph circulation and adds stability to joints. Today this tape is also commonly used in clinical settings to help patients with everything from back pain to plantar fasciitis. Of course it was only a matter of time before this “magical” tape made it’s way in to the equestrian community.....and not just for riders, but their horses as well!
The original kinesiology tape was developed for human athletes in the 1970’s by a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase. The tape Dr. Kase developed has unique elastic abilities. Conventional athletic tape applies pressure and acts like a brace. Kinesiology tape differs from conventional tape in that it stretches along the longitudinal axis, which allows it to provide support during exercise without restricting motion. This tape contains no medications and its effectiveness is dependent upon the application. When applied correctly, it decompresses the skin and interacts with the neurosensory receptors, which results in decreased pain, increased blood and lymph flow and dynamic support of the muscles and joints. Today there are numerous brands of kinesiology tape on the market with many different colors and patterns available.

How Kinesiology Tape Works

Kinesiology tape is different than other athletic tapes on the market in that it stretches along it’s longitudinal axis, but not across it’s width which allows it to move with the body. This is the only athletic tape that does not restrict range of motion in any way when it is applied.

When kinesiology tape is applied to the skin (or in the case of animals to the hair), it mechanically decompresses the skin and the underlying tissues. When tape is applied to an animal, the tape lifts the hair, which in turn lifts the skin and accomplishes the same decompression seen in people. The decompression action promotes increased blood and lymph flow, which decreases inflammation and relieves pressure from free nerve endings. As the person or animal moves with the tape on, the tape stimulates nerves called mechanoreceptors with every movement. The tape acts as a natural pain reliever because stimulation of mechanoreceptors inhibits nociceptors (the pain generators). The more mechanoreceptors that are stimulated, the less pain will be perceived. Movement with the tape on also stimulates nerves called prorioceptors, which contribute to the brain’s sense of where the body’s parts are in space and throughout movement. Often times, proprioceptive input is altered in people and animals due to past injuries and misalignments. The tape can help stimulate proper proprioception and in turn promote proper movement. Kinesiology tape to is used to decrease pain, decrease inflammation, support joints and soft tissue, increase proprioception and increase energy flow through meridians.