Kenesiology and Kinesio Tape are Not Tattoos

When photos of Kerri Walsh appeared, it looked like she had a large tattoo, not particularly attractive and definitely very large, on one shoulder during the Olympic games. But now it seems that she has actually been wearing a special kinesthetic tape also known as Kinesio – instead of a permanent tattoo.

Photos of her with what appears to be kinesio tape can be seen at the Kinesiotaping website here kinesiotaping.com/olympic-watch.php, with information indicating that the mysterious black material is indeed tape and not a tattoo.
Kinesiology tape, Kinesio and the Olympic games

So what is the big deal about the kinesthetic tape?

Plenty of injured athletes tape the area around their sprained legs and muscles. I’d had to use tape myself since I’d recently undergone treatment for a stress fracture and one of my sons had also had to tape his leg after a soccer injury. The material we used, however, was nothing like what appeared on Kerri Walsh’s shoulder area.

Instead, it was flesh colored and didn’t help us get back to exercising right away. Our doctors instructed us to rest often, avoid exercise and give our muscles time to recover. My doctor even called to make sure I was staying off my foot as much as possible.

kinesthetic tape
kinesthetic tape

In contrast, Kerri Welsh was actually competing in the Olympic games! I not only wanted to know more but wondered why this special kinesiology tape wasn’t being used for athletes of all levels, perhaps helping them get back to playing sports sooner while still allowing their bodies to heal. If it worked for professional athletes, it seemed like it ought to work for anyone.

What makes kinesiology tapes different than traditional muscle wraps?

Having had personal experience with conventional methods for treating sprains and muscle injuries, I had been less than happy with the results. Not only did it take forever for my muscles to heal but I was forced to stay off my foot as much as possible. I was also given special heel lifts to take pressure off the damaged ankle and back of my foot. None of this did much good nor did it speed up the healing process.

Theoretically, Kinesio taping is supposed to help support muscles while also allowing them to be used, even at the Olympic games level. I find this absolutely amazing!

If taped properly and by using the Kinesio or approved kinesthetic methods, muscles should heal quickly and normally. In short, these methods are meant to help turn on the body’s own ability to recover from injury while also preventing further damage to weakened muscles. Is it any wonder that so many athletes have been seen wearing the often brightly colored material? It comes in many colors, not just black.

The taping method seems to make all the difference when it comes to kinesiology tape

If Kinesio tape is used, there are two ways to use it: stretched or unstretched. If there is damage to the muscles, the material is often used when spread. This is done to help correct the muscles and still allow full movement. According to the information found at the Kinesiotaping site, it is not considered to be the same as regular or conventional tapes. Perhaps this accounts for the difference in the results I got and those obtained by top athletes like Kerri Walsh and Norway’s Nila Hakedal (photos appeared which indicated she was also wearing a tape-like material).

kinesiology tapes
kinesiology tapes

Kinesiology tapes can be used with other types of sports medicine and therapies

Although the material is supposed to help circulation and promote healing, it doesn’t have to be used alone. Suggested therapies that can be used with it include cryotherapy, hydrotherapy (water-based treatment), massage and even electrical types of aid. While athletes might be tempted to purchase Kinesio or kinesthetic tapes and start using them merely, there is a particular Kinesio Taping Method which uses a patented tape and special techniques.

I’d be reluctant to try and use the tape without learning from someone experienced in using it, especially after having such disappointing results with other tapes. However, the Kinesio site does have information for those who wish to treat themselves without seeking outside assistance as well as step by step instructions about the techniques for stretching the skin before adding tape to the body. I’d prefer to do this with the assistance of a trained sports doctor or physical therapist.

 

What types of kinesiology tapes are available?

Although there are a number of products available, two of the most popular appear to be Platinum Tex Kinesio and Kinesio Tex gold. Platinum is suggested as best or the experienced athlete or taper and Gold is a standard type of material used for elastic taping methods. After reading about kinesthetic methods, I definitely intend to ask our sports doctor about the chances of this product – or similar ones – coming to our city and doctor’s office. It would be great to be able to stay active while having muscles heal at the same time.

Sources:

Personal experience
Olympic coverage on television and seeing Kerri Walsh in the Olympic footage
Kinesiotaping website and photos of Kerri Walsh at that site: kinesiotaping.com/olympic-watch.php