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Kinesiology Tape vs. Athletic Tape - Which One is Right for Me?

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology Tape - The Basics

Kinesiology tape was developed in the 1970s by a Japanese chiropractor, Kenzo Kase, and is very popular in use today; you may have observed athletes wearing kinesiology tape at various events such as marathons, swim competitions, or gymnastics competitions. Stretchy, and often made of a blend of nylon and cotton, these colorful tape strips might be worn across the shoulders, knees, backs, and even abs, among other places on the arms and legs, depending on the areas of injury or in need of support. Kinesiology tape can provide support, lessen pain, reduce swelling, improve performance, increase the circulation of blood, and increase the circulation of lymphatic fluids.

What is Athletic Tape?

Sometimes kinesiology tape is confused with athletic tape (despite the athletic tape almost always coming only in a bland, white color) – but these two tools are actually quite opposite of each other. The athletic tape actually should only be used in cases where you want to restrict movement; it is thick, non-stretchy, and usually used to tightly wrap an area. While it also supports your joints, it should be used only short term. The type of compression this tape uses actually restricts the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids.

Usage of Kinesiology Tape vs. Athletic Tape

Kinesiology tape is water-resistant, so it can endure even showers and other moisture contacts. It is strong enough that you may be able to use the same tape application for three to five days without irritating the skin or underlying structures. Kinesiology tape allows you to have a normal range of motion while still providing support.

In contrast, the athletic tape should only be applied a short time before an activity, and removed immediately after the activity, to ensure no further damage is done to the area. It is not water-proof, and the retained moisture it can trap will irritate the skin if left too long. Just the adhesive itself can cause irritation – so, instead of being applied directly onto the skin, it is often advised to use a non-adhesive pre-wrap between the tape and the skin.

Kinesiology Tape

How Kinesiology Tape Works

Kinesiology tape works in a completely different way than an athletic tape’s immobilization. When a kinesiology tape is applied to an area, it lifts your skin slightly, creating a micro space in the joint or below the skin. It’s concluded that the tape changes the way your body processes information in your sensory nervous system about pain.

Some of the other benefits of kinesiology tape are that it can enhance movement and endurance, train weak muscles, or even retrain muscles that are in habits of bad posture or movement. For example, this tape has been used to help improve the posture in the head and neck areas for some people. A study in 2017 showed how this tape can help stroke patients improve the way they walk! Many athletes simply use kinesiology tape to protect against injury when they’re competing in special events.

Kinesiology tape is usually used in conjunction with other treatments, such as physical therapy, massage, etc. The tape can be applied in an X, Y, I, or fan pattern with different results for each. If you are unsure of what you need or how to apply properly, you can consult a physical therapist who would be an expert in such matters.

Physix Gear Sport is a world leader in providing the best kinesiology tape, offering a whole range of colors as well as an 82-page e-guide on the usage of kinesiology tape and proper taping methods. Click here to order your tape and e-guide today and you will find the support you need for running, swimming, working, or recovering your joints and muscles!  Physix Gear has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if for some reason the tape doesn’t meet your needs - just return it for a full refund and keep the e-guide as our treat.


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