How Does Kinesiology (Kinesio) Tape Work?

You may have been injured and you're looking for some kind of solution and you seen something like this. This black tape that I like to wear from time to time, can you see a tape? Can you see all the tape as it's known.
How Does Kinesiology (Kinesio) Tape Work?


You may have been injured and you're looking for some kind of solution and you seen something like this. This black tape that I like to wear from time to time, can you see a tape? Can you see all the tape as it's known. And you're wondering, does it work? How does it work? Well, that's what I'm going to share with you today.

Welcome to the show I call Runner's High, I'm Jesse Funk, and this is where we talk about everything running.

When we talk about everything running, what comes up eventually around some time or another is injuries and dealing with injuries in various ways. One of the ways to do that is to where kinesio tape, kinesiology tape.

This is from KT Tape, which is one of the most popular brands, but there are tons of different brands now, which is the most effective. I certainly can't say I haven't tested them. I don't know. This just happens to be what I use because I've used it for forever. It's not an express endorsement, it's just my personal use. Now we want to figure out how does it work? Why does it work? The really answer here is we're not really sure. There's a lot more research that needs to be done to figure out what exactly is kinesiology tape doing that is making things better or is it simply a placebo?

I'll say, if it's a placebo, that's perfectly fine with me, I actually don't care.

It doesn't bother me in the least if it's a placebo, because it seems to work for me.

And if that means that my brain is doing all of the hard lifting because I think I have this magical tape on me, so be it because it's actually effective for me. It is not effective for everybody, but because of its seeming efficacy for me, when I have little aches and pains, I'm going to keep using it. So even though I can say, we're not sure. Let me share with you a few things that we think might be going on in the reason that it helps.

First, you have to understand how it's applied if you've never used it before. Basically, you attach one end in a particular area, you stretch it a certain amount, depending on what you're taping. You apply that stretched section and then the end of it is applied without any stretch. So what is doing is kind of pulling at your skin, basically, or if you have hair, that'll do that too, especially when you're trying to take it off. But because of this, it is thought that it is lifting up your skin the subcutaneous layer so layers underneath the top layer of your skin away from your muscles and other layers of skin there, there's seven layers of skin.

So creating a small space basically where there wouldn't normally be to allow additional blood flow. And by allowing additional blood flow, then those muscles get extra nutrients, gets extra oxygenation, all the good things that come along with blood. And if you're injured, those are good things for your muscles. You need extra stuff to repair what's gone wrong.

It's a muscle tear, which we do when we work out. Normally we tear, we make micro tears and then we have different kinds of nutrients like amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, and we use those to repair our muscles and get stronger. But when you're injured, the tear is too large, but the same kind of thing needs to happen. Those building blocks need to come in, repairs need to happen.

So additional blood flow is thought to be what is going to be helpful here. But it's not the only thing that researchers think is going on when you apply kinesiology tape.

The other and more interesting, I think thing that researchers think is going on is a pain reduction through almost a kind of trigger point reflex where it's kind of tricking your brain into saying, no, there's not pain coming from here. Now, granted, this definitely sounds a lot more like woo woo magical tape is on your skin, but I can tell you from experience when applied properly for particular injuries, it's given near immediate relief to pain that I've been experiencing.

So that's where I say if it's woo woo magical and it doesn't actually do anything and it's all my brain, I'm absolutely OK with that because it hurts less.

Now there have been a number of studies done or a few. I shouldn't say a number, a few, a handful where they try to compare wearing tape and exercise or exercise alone or wearing tape alone versus long term outcomes of injuries. And what often ends up happening is that long term, those groups that exercise, whether you're wearing tape or not, have the best results. But in the short term, the pain recovery and the pain relief is the highest with the groups wearing tape. And if you have ever been through an injury, you know persistent pain is such a problem. So again, that's what we think is going on. What's actually happening? We're still working on it. I know it works for me, but I'd like to know, have you had any experience with it or are you getting ready to wear it?

Leave in the comments below, let me know what's happening with you, and I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.

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