You might have noticed in recent years that many athletes are competing with brightly colored tape all over their bodies. It’s a health treatment known as kinesiology tape. Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor, invented Kinesiology tape in the 1970s. His goal was to create an athletic tape that still allowed movement. Athletes and healthcare professionals love this tool for its ability to mimic the skin’s elasticity. Unlike traditional first aid tapes, kinesiology tape is highly flexible to move with your skin.
How does kinesiology tape work?
So how does kinesiology tape mimic our skin? Here’s how it works, according to Dr. Megann Schooley, a board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist. “All of your tissues – skin, connective tissue, fascia, muscles – contain sensory receptors that feel pain, temperature, and touch. Those receptors all contribute to proprioception – your brain’s sense of where your body is and what’s it’s doing. Kinesiology taping creates a lift that unloads the underlying tissues. Decompressing those tissues can change the signals going to the brain. When the brain receives a different signal, it’s going to respond differently.” She’s saying that the way the tape mimics our skin changes our brain’s perception of the taped area. So, for example, if your leg muscle is sore and tight, taping it would increase flexibility and reduce your feeling of pain. In this way, taping may be helpful for some painful symptoms of vein health issues like leg pain, cramping or swelling.
How does kinesiology tape help with vein health issues?
Another benefit of kinesiology tape is that it may help to improve circulation. Some studies show that taping changes the pressure gradient underneath your skin, which helps to improve the flow of blood and other liquids, like lymphatic fluid. Lymphatic fluid helps to regulate swelling and build-up in your body, so the better it flows, the less swelling you will have! But has this effect been helpful for people with vein health issues? A 2014 study on the impact of using kinesiology tape to help relieve the side effects on post-menopausal women with mild to moderate venous insufficiency (Aguilar-Ferrandiz, et al. 2014) showed that after a month of taping, some women reported:
- Decreased feelings of heaviness in their legs
- Less swelling
- Fewer muscle cramps
- And increased physical function
You can use kinesiology tape to help support your health journey in many different ways. It’s excellent for helping support weak zones in the body, treating muscle injuries, or correcting muscle function too! It’s a versatile healthcare tool that has a wide range of abilities and uses.
Be careful using kinesiology tape if you have DVT
Always consult your vein treatment doctor if you intend to use kinesiology tape to help relieve the symptoms of your venous insufficiency or vein health issues. Patients with more advanced vein health issues like a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) clot may be at risk of dislodging or increasing blood flow near the clot, which could lead to a pulmonary embolism. A vein specialist like the doctors here at Precision Therapeutics is most qualified to assess your vein health needs and create an appropriate treatment plan to remove the problematic vein issues and relieve your symptoms.
Remember, like compression wear, kinesiology tape only treats the symptoms of venous insufficiency and vein health issues. It does not get rid of them. The only way to truly be free of the pain of living with venous insufficiency is to seek treatment from a vein clinic like Precision Vein Therapeutics!