This is a fairly widely known method in sports circles. All its effectiveness will depend on the goal set and the correct application of the application. Like any other method, kinesiological taping has indications and contraindications, points of application, mechanisms of action, etc. Just sticking the tape and waiting for the result is completely pointless.
In choreographic practice, kinesiological taping can be used to achieve several goals. This is, first of all, reducing pain in order to continue performing; this is an explanation to the child of how to correctly perform certain movements (foot placement, eversion positions); this is the consolidation of newly received information and movements; and, of course, the fight against local swelling, including after injuries.
What is kinesiology tape? This is an elastic cotton tape with a special type of weaving that allows the tape to increase its length without changing its original width. The elasticity of the tape depends on the manufacturer and is approximately 140-180%, which is similar to the elasticity of the skin. An adhesive (glue), often thermoactive, is applied to the inside of the tape, which will increase its properties upon contact with a warm surface, for example, skin. And the inside of the tape is protected with a paper base so that this glue does not damage. When the tape is on the paper base, it already has 10% tension.
Those who have encountered tapes before have probably noticed that they come in different colors. The color of the tape has only a psychological meaning, that is, the tape itself, the glue and everything else remains unchanged, but only the layer of paint on top of the tape changes. Hence the conclusion: the degree of resistance of the tape does not depend on the color!
Now there are kinesiology tape manufacturers who make a certain type of glue that performs its function better in conditions of high humidity. For example, when we need to tap the foot. We know that the foot sweats profusely, this imposes certain requirements on the choice of kinesiology tape so that it does not fall off 5 minutes after the start of use. Therefore, in this case it is better to use a special moisture-resistant tape. Or when we plan to use tape on a child on the back of the lower leg, where the skin is quite delicate. In this case, it is better to choose a tape with a weaker adhesive so as not to damage the child’s skin when removing the application.
Like color, glue, there are also different widths of tapes. The standard width of the tape is 5 centimeters, but they range from 2.5 to 10 cm. The choice of width will depend on the area of the taped area. The larger the area, the wider the tape you can use.
How does tape work? It's just an elastic band, but there are so many positive effects. The entire effect of the tape lies in its tight fit to the skin and the degree of skin displacement. All positive effects can be described from neurology and physics.
Our skin developed from the same germ layer as the brain. Therefore, the connection between the skin and the brain is the most direct. As described earlier, there are many receptors in the skin. Different. Information from the receptor is transmitted along the nerves to the brain, where decisions are made about what to do and what not to do. By applying tape to the skin, irritating the receptors, we provide a powerful flow of information to the brain from the taped area of the body 24/7.
In this way we improve the body map. The more information the brain receives, the better it performs its function. The effectiveness of training will increase only because the involvement of the central nervous structures that control movement is greater than usual. Therefore, it is very productive to use tape at the learning stage, when concentration of attention is needed, which tape can improve. The tape will be an addition to your regular training regimen. In the same way, additional chemical stimuli can be used, for example, warming/cooling ointments.
When the skin is displaced relative to the subcutaneous structures and the skin is fixed in a displaced position, we also send a signal to the brain. And the brain itself will figure out how to adjust the structure (skeleton) to this displaced position of the skin. This is a kind of trick, but if we need some movement to be performed or not performed, then we can shift the skin in the direction of the desired movement, and the brain will help us. Or, on the contrary, make it clear that displacement of the skin will cause some discomfort, perceived as an incorrect movement. This way you can change the body map, imposing on the brain those movements that are characteristic of the specific choreography. This will minimize pedagogical errors in modern conditions, when early specialization is encouraged, and the child does not yet understand what they want from him.
Another very interesting point is how tape can affect the perception of pain. As I already mentioned, we have different receptors. There are receptors that detect temperature stimuli, there are tactile (touch) receptors, there are pressure and vibration receptors - there are quite a lot of varieties. So the speed of information transfer from the receptor to the brain is different. Of course, it is not very different, but quite significant. Remember how, out of habit, you take a mug of tea, lift it, and only after a short time you realize that it is hot. Tactile information is transmitted along nerve pathways a little more quickly than temperature information, so at first you don’t feel the temperature of the mug. And this is where kinesiology tape can help us.
All nerve pathways from the receptor in the periphery to the brain consist of three neurons. The place where one neuron connects to another neuron is called a synapse. A synapse consists of an axon, the extension of a neuron that transmits a nerve impulse, and a dendrite, an extension of a neuron that receives a nerve impulse. Between the axon and the dendrite there is a space called the synaptic cleft. A nerve impulse from one neuron (axon) to another neuron (dendrite) is transmitted due to the ejection of a special (chemical) substance into the synaptic cleft by the axon and the capture of this substance by another neuron (dendrite). And then the nerve impulse already runs along another neuron to the brain. But since the speed of movement of a nerve impulse along a neuron is different, tactile stimuli resort to the synaptic cleft first and take away most of the chemical substance that transmits the impulse. When the tape is applied to the skin, it turns out that mainly tactile stimuli will reach the brain and less - those that cause pain. Thus, the pain effect when applying the tape is sharply reduced. And this is pure neuroscience.
The next positive effect of kinesiology taping is based on the difference in partial pressure. We can use this in the fight against local swelling due to injuries, or after a hard rehearsal day when there was intense muscle work. Edema itself forms a persistent positive pressure under the skin, which can compress nerve endings or capillaries, or cause lymph stasis. Which, naturally, disrupts the sliding of all layers located under the skin. And this is a factor predisposing to injury. If you apply pre-cut tape to stretched skin over local swelling, maintaining the distance between the strips of tape and then bringing the skin to its original position, the tape will slightly lift the skin due to its elastic properties. This creates negative pressure under the tape, while positive pressure remains in the adjacent area. Physics. Due to the difference in partial pressure, fluid flow is ensured. That is, local edema will not form where there is a different partial pressure of neighboring areas.
If the method is used correctly, you can achieve significant results in the fight against local swelling, in improving control of a particular area, in learning new movements, and in working with pain. But, as I wrote earlier, the method must be used correctly.
Anyone can use kinesiology taping in their practice, even a child. But for this you need to know the indications and contraindications.
What can't you do? This, of course, is to apply the application to an open wound or damaged area of skin. In this case, the tape may be a source of infection. Therefore, it is first necessary to cure the skin damage, and then use the method. Quite rare, but a severe allergic reaction to the tape can occur. Most likely, not even with tape, but with glue. An allergic reaction begins within an hour after application. It usually manifests itself in the form of redness of the skin under and around the tape, burning or severe itching (itching). And if a severe allergy was previously identified, then it is better not to use the method, or change the manufacturer of the tape, or the color of the tape, since an allergy may be to a paint component. Also, the tape cannot be used if there are heart and kidney diseases in the stage of decompensation with severe general edema. And, of course, if there is a suspicion of malignant neoplasms (cancer). The remaining contraindications are relative; you can find out about them from the tape manufacturer.
In order to use the method effectively, we must prepare the skin. Firstly, there should be no hair on the skin. If they are available, then you can use a trimmer. We have already said earlier how important the direct impact of the tape is on the skin, not on the hair. Secondly, the skin should be clean, treated with a light soap solution, and wiped dry. This will ensure a longer lifespan for the application.
The principles of applying tape will vary depending on the purpose. Try to catch this difference, since visually everything looks the same. To obtain more detailed information about using the method, I recommend learning the kinesiological taping technique.