The exact mechanisms of how Kinesiology Tape works remain largely theoretical, however one theory is that traction on the skin or hair stimulates the nervous system via skin mechanoreceptors and nociceptors which in turn creates the physiological changes we see. Despite this uncertainty of exact mechanism, significant evidence exists showing the beneficial effects on blood and lymph circulation, pain levels, joint function and muscular tone – both stimulating and relaxing muscles. This range of effects makes Kinesiology taping a really adaptable and beneficial addition to Osteopathic treatment, assisting the body to continue healing and changing after a treatment. It is often questioned how taping can possibly be effective in animals with decent amounts of hair coat. The answer lies in how incredibly sensitive hair is as a structure. Tickle the very ends of your dog’s hair while he’s not looking and you’ll see he knows full well you have touched him. Horses will react to the tiniest of flies landing on them almost anywhere on their body. This sensitivity is what allows tape to change the input into the nervous system and to trigger a change in the physiology of the tissues underneath.
Some of the applications for tape include:
- Helping clear inflammation around a fresh injury.
- Helping lymphatic and venous flow from lower limbs.
- Soft Tissue Pain:
- Saddle soreness
- Muscular strains
- Ligament and tendon injuries
- Joint degeneration
- Improving Joint Function:
- Helping balance and decompress degenerative joints both directly and through influencing the soft tissues around them
- Muscular Tone:
- Stimulating tone in underactive or neurologically compromised muscles eg disuse after a local or neurological injury.
- Releasing tension in hypertonic muscles eg where the body has been compensating and overusing a muscle group or there is localised muscle spasm.
Getting the tape to stick can be an issue with hairy critters, and in some cases it’s just nearly impossible to achieve, however even 24 hours is usually enough to stimulate a significant change in the system and boost the effects of Osteopathic treatment. I have chosen to use Vetkin Tape, which has been specifically developed to be more adhesive to hair coats, and as a result can often last a good few days up to a week. The key to remember is that we are largely looking at influencing way the tissues are behaving via the skin receptors, so the tape doesn’t need to be strongly supportive in in place for as long as traditional taping does.
Updated 24th January, 2019