It is very important to stay moving and active at your best here in the San Juans. With rivers to raft, peaks to climb, canyons to explore, runs to ski, and trails to ride, healthy muscles are essential to keeping you moving and enjoying the great outdoors! Technology has allowed us to improve our methods of measuring injury and function of muscles, tendons and joints therefore treatments have improved over time as scientists have learned more about how these systems work. Kinesiology is the science behind muscular and skeletal movement and today, innovative devices and techniques to help protect and treat your muscles, tendons and joints have come out of research in this science. One of these innovative techniques is kinesiology taping. You may have seen this colorful tape on the athletes at the Summer Olympics in 2008 or at a basketball game here at the Ridgway High School. The reason you are seeing this tape everywhere is because it makes sense. It applies support and protection for injury, maximizes function and improves circulation. These are all important elements to speedy healing.
Let’s start by looking at the basic function kinesiology tape. The adhesive on the tape is designed to open the muscle and allow for lymphatic drainage and improved circulation and as you move it mimics the elasticity of skin and moves with you. Improving circulation and lymphatic drainage helps to remove inflammation and excess chemical buildup in the tissue. It supports and improves the muscles ability to contract even when it is weakened, and protects the muscle from over-extension and over-contraction. Tightened muscles can create poor patterns in the body leading to joint restriction and inhibited biomechanics. When the tape is applied properly we can lengthen these muscles and help to “free-up” restricted joints.
Kinesiology tape can also be very effective in reducing pain. When tissue is injured and swollen it puts pressure on the pain receptors beneath the skin and is in turn translated by the brain as a “warning signal” that you experience as pain. The tape helps to remove this pressure and provides an analgesic or pain relieving effect.
Kinesiology tape has grown in popularity and is now widely used by chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists and athletic trainers to treat patient injury. There are a lot of different brands of kinesiology tape out there today. Kinesio Tape®, Spidertech Tape, KT Tape, RockTape and K-Active Tape just to name a few. They are all based on the same technology and essentially do the same thing. I have good experience with the Kinesio Tape® brand and they provide good education for professionals and athletic trainers on application and proper use of the tape. You can also check out short tutorials on line for proper taping of specific injuries so that you can tape yourself at home.
So if you are an athlete, work in a profession that requires physical labor, or an outdoor enthusiast striving to stay active, keeping your body free of tension and pain is essential for peak performance. Check out this cool tool to help you “keep moving”!