These colored bands have become very famous, especially in the sports world, and are called K-tape, K-taping, Kinésio taping or Tape for the short version.
Here is the explanation of these bands, their forms, as well as their mode of operation.
Even though kinesiology tapes have been around for a long time, it is thanks to the media and especially television that these tapes have become visible to everyone.
Kinesiotaping was born in Japan in the 1970s, thanks to the research of a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase.
The technology of these bands is continuously evolving thanks to numerous clinical studies carried out by Kenzo Kase and his collaborators.
When I started training in K-taping, it was following the requests of some of the athletes I was following in order to be more efficient in the treatment of athletes. From the first minutes of training, I understood that K-taping was not only applicable to everyone but that it would be a very good complementary tool to osteopathy. Thanks to its 24-hour action for 5 days, these tapes allow a prolongation of treatments, especially osteopathic treatments but also physiotherapy.
Thus, the installation of these bands is possible for everyone: sportsmen, sedentary, pregnant women, babies, workers, etc. A type of bandage has even been developed for animals, particularly in the equestrian environment.
There is no magic or medicinal substance on the strip. It is just a strip of fabric (cotton or synthetic) with glue on it.
The positioning of the glue, on the other hand, is very carefully analyzed and precisely placed for maximum effect. We speak of "finger print" to describe the positioning of the glue because it is arranged with small waves and looks like a fingerprint. This shape can vary depending on the brand of k-tape, Kenso Kaze, the inventor, has already evolved the shape of this print since its creation to optimize the effectiveness.
The strip is glued to the skin with a certain amount of tension. The tension and the shape of the glue application will allow the skin to be lifted slightly and thus limit the compression of the subcutaneous structures. In certain positions, the tape will have convolutions, which are small waves that will allow the skin to be lifted. The k-tape allows 4 effects:
Under the skin, there are small neurological receptors called mechanoreceptors. These are the ones that inform the brain of a problem in the area when they are compressed. Thus, by lifting the skin, the k-tape allows these receptors to be decompressed, giving the patient a feeling of less pain.
The skin crushes the lymphatic channels like a foot pressing lightly on a garden hose. When the skin is lifted (or the foot in the hose situation), the hose in this case the "lymphatic channels" are less compressed and the lymphatic flow is improved, as is the blood circulation.
The tape allows to maintain a joint without totally immobilizing it. It is possible to adapt the placement of the tape according to the desired objective and the structure that you wish to support (ligaments, muscles, tendons, fasciae). This limits the stress on the joint and encourages it to work in a balanced way. In this way, kinesiotaping allows a return to homeostasis, i.e., it promotes the body's balance.
With its different cutting and laying techniques, the kinesio taping bands will adapt to each structure and treat them specifically. These bands act on ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints, fascias, skin, etc. but also on viscera. This part is much less known but brings relief to the patient.
Strapping is the white elastic bandage that we have all seen one day and whose purpose is to immobilize a joint or limit the movement of a muscle or ligament. The higher the tension exerted on the bandage, the greater the support. Strapping exerts pressure on the area of injury, which generates a decrease in subcutaneous circulation, unlike k-tape. The problem with strapping is that it is not waterproof and, more precisely, once wet, it loses its elasticity, which is not the case with kinesiotaping.
At the time of the creation of kinesiotaping, Kenzo Kaze, based on chromotherapy (color therapy), thought that there was a difference between colors. For example, in the case of inflammation, it was assumed that a blue band, i.e. a cold band, should be used to combat the heat of the inflammation. On the other hand, when there was a need for heat, such as to warm up a muscle, warmth was preferred and therefore pink bands.
The inventor's research showed that the color of the bands had no influence on the effectiveness of the band. The chapter on the influence of color was therefore removed from his book.
Nevertheless, the black color is better captured by the sun, so we will more easily put black k-tape on parts of the body of a patient that would be exposed to the sun such as a calf in an athlete. Thus, the glue will better fix the kinesiotape.
Rest assured, if your therapist has a choice, you will be allowed to choose the color(s) you prefer according to your taste.
I'm sure that in kindergarten you were very good at cutting and that you can find some brands of kinesio-taping at decathlon or at Lidl with an explanatory booklet, but in reality the application of kinesio-taping is not so easy!
To apply k-tape, it is essential to have a perfect knowledge of the anatomy of the human body in order to apply the tapes on the right structure. It would be a shame, even deleterious, to "hit" the wrong muscle or to be half on a ligament and half on a tendon...
It is also necessary to perfectly control the tension that is exerted on the band (there are 3 different places of tension for the simplest bands and it can go up to much more on the same band).
Do not hesitate to consult an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a chiropractor or even a podiatrist who are specialized in the application of these bands. Beware, few practitioners are really trained in kinesiotaping, many have followed a vague initiation but few master this technique.
Many cutting techniques exist and vary according to the desired effect of the band (drainage, muscle replacement, etc.) but also according to the structure to be treated. Your osteopath or physiotherapist is not an artist, in any case this is not my case, he will always favour the most effective cut to relieve you.
So there are "X", "I", "Y", web, fan cut, ram's head, donut hole, jelly fish, basket weave, etc.
The applications of the tape are numerous, these bands can act on a muscle, a tendon, a ligament, a joint, etc., but there are also different techniques of application for different effects. Here are the main ones:
Kinesiotaping will allow to supplement a muscle, to stimulate it or to put it at rest. Typically, after an osteopathy session, some muscles remain contracted, it is necessary to let the body react and relax these muscles, but in some cases the muscular contraction is so important that it reblocks the joints worked by your osteopath. Also, the period of waiting for muscle relaxation can be painful, supplementing the muscles will relieve your pain.
By positioning the band on the joint, kinesiotaping will be able to stabilize the joint and/or improve joint range of motion. For example, in the case of a shoulder that is positioned too far forward, we can place a band so that it holds the shoulder back without preventing the shoulder's mobility. This will inform the body for 5 days and prevent it from repositioning itself directly after a session. Thus, it optimizes the work of the osteopath or the physiotherapist.
Thanks to proprioceptive work by stimulating the Golgi receptors, K-taping will have an effect on the tendon (tendon fragility, tendinopathy, etc.).
Thus, Achilles tendinopathy, tennis elbow, golf elbow, shoulder tendinitis, etc. can be relieved.
The purpose of the K-tape in functional is to help the movement, so we will use it as a rubber band and help the desired movement through the recall of the band. This technique is very effective for people who have lost mobility in a joint such as a loss of flexion in the arm or knee...
A fascia is a connective tissue that wraps different structures in the body like celophane paper around a muscle, an organ, etc. All these fasciae are connected to each other.
So, if something drags in one place, it will be reflected elsewhere. It's a bit like crumpling up a sheet of celophane paper. The goal of this Kinesio Taping pose is to unfold this sheet.
"Space" means "space" in English, so as its name indicates, the aim of this k-tape application is to create space, to optimize the lifting of the skin to limit the stimuli on the mechanoreceptors. This will therefore have an analgesic effect, i.e. pain relief.
This is the most impressive application technique because we can visually see the difference between the before, the application and the after. In this case, the purpose of the tape is to drain an edema or a hematoma. This technique is more and more used in the hospital in post surgery to drain the edema and the hematoma and thus accelerate the recovery time of the patient.
Anyone who has been trained in kinesio taping can put it on you, that is:
Beware that many trainings are very simplistic, some of these therapists will tell you that they are trained when they have just had an introduction. Kenzo Kaze, inventor of the k-tape, only recognizes the kinesio taping France training in our country. This is the training that your osteopath at Versailles Chantiers, Marie Messager, has followed. There are different levels from KT1 to KT3. Your osteopath has a KT3 diploma, the highest level of certification in kinesio taping.