Kinesiology taping uses therapeutic tape, which is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is used for treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders.
The product is a type of thin, elastic cotton tape that is claimed to be able to stretch up to 140% of its original length. As a result, if the tape is applied to a patient on a stretch greater than its normal length, it will “recoil” after being applied and therefore create a pulling force on the skin or muscle that it is being applied to. This elastic property allows much greater range of motion compared to traditional white athletic tape and can also be left on for long periods of time before reapplication.
Designed to mimic human skin, with roughly the same thickness and imitates epidermis’ inherent elastic properties; the tape can be stretched 30-40% of its resting longitudinal length. It is a latex free material with acrylic adhesive, which is heat activated. The cotton fibers allow for evaporation and quicker drying leading to longer wear time, up to 4 days. How the tape affects the body is dependent on its usage throughout the body and how it is applied: the direction of pull, the shape, and the location, all play a role in its in its clinical function. One of the several benefits of using kinesio tape is correcting the alignment of weak muscles as well as facilitating joint motion as a result of the tape’s recoiling qualities.
Additionally, the tape is claimed to lift the skin, increasing the space below it, and increasing blood flow and circulation of lymphatic fluids (swelling). This increase in the interstitial space leads to less pressure on the body’s nociceptors (which detect pain), stimulates mechanoreceptors, and improves overall joint function through increased proprioception.