Kinesio tape is made of a high elastic quality woven tape that allows it to stretch 30-40% from its resting length. It is designed to simulate the elastic properties of skin. The theory is that it lifts the skin away from the muscle fascia, facilitating blood flow and drainage of fluids by the lymph system. This effect is thought to promote healing and prevent injury to the muscle and joint. The advantage of the tape is that is can be worn for long periods of time, for days or even weeks.
I first started using Kinesio tape when it was recommended to me by Tri-Athlete Gill Fullen. Initially I saw the colours and style of taping and assumed it was just a gimmick. Since then I have been proven wrong! The number of patients that this tape has helped is never ending.
I use it for both chronic conditions such as long standing low back pain and also for more acute conditions such as ankle sprains and muscle tears. I find the tape not only promotes healing and reduces inflammation but also leaves the patient feeling more secure and supported in a non-restrictive way, unlike regular athletic taping.
Having said this, I still find a use for my regular althletic tape when necessary and Kinesio tape works alongside this too!
Currently, there is very little solid evidence for or against Kinesio Tape, yet a number of top athletes such as David Beckham, Kerry Walsh and Andy Murray have been seen using it.