Kinesio tape has become a discipline beyond the practice of athletic taping and utilises the recoil, and lifting effect of light adhesive sports tapes to facilitate a number of physiological outcomes, without compressing soft tissues and joints.
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What is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape is a thin cotton elasticated tape with an acrylic adhesive and backing paper.
The original Kinesio tape was manufactured in Japan by Nitto Denko using medical grade acrylic adhesive applied in a wave pattern with the option of waterproof or non-waterproof cotton cloth. The cloth was designed to be approximately the thickness of the skin and was breathable.
When Kinesio decided to move production to China in 2006, Nitto Denko continued to produce the original tape under the brand K-Active, now distributed from Germany by Siggi Breitenbach.
Over the intervening years popularity of Kinesiology Tape has soared, and it is now a mainstream physiotherapy technique, and can be seen to be used by top sportsmen including Davids Beckham, Gareth Bale, and Marco Balotelli.
How to choose between Kinesiology Tapes?
There is a huge range of Kinesiology Tape on the market today and these are now predominantly manufactured in Korea and China, including Kinesio Tape, K-Active Kinesiology Tape, Levotape, Mueller K Tape, and Rock Tape.
What is the difference between the different brands of Kinesiology Tape?
The cotton fabric – Good quality fabric will not fray too much
Waterproofing – Is the tape shower proof?
Elasticity – Tapes should have uniform stretch
Backing paper – Tape must be applied to backing paper with uniform stretch
Adhesiveness – Must be sticky without causing blistering
Expense – Is there justification for paying such high prices?
When designing the optimal qualities for Levotape, Vivomed researched all of these characteristics when creating the tape.
Having chosen good quality waterpoof cloth, researchers at Vivomed headquarters in the UK hypothesized that the skin recoil affect, which is fundamental to the Kinesio Taping Method, would be enhanced by creating a tape with greater elasticity than the original Kinesio Tape. This position has subsequently been vindicated by practitioners.
The next big issue was the adhesive. Having tested both Korean and Japanese acrylic adhesive, the superior adhesive qualities of Japanese medical grade acrylic glue were insisted upon in the development phase.
Although Kinesiology tape is used in all fields of physiotherapy, it is so popular in sport that in designing the perfect tape it is fundamental that it should stick well and stay in place during a football or rugby match and importantly in swimming.
The concentration of glue per cm2 is therefore critical. Make it too high and the tape will cause blistering. Too low and it won’t be sticky enough.
Vivomed spent over a year researching the adhesive characteristics of Levotape before bringing it to market.
We are now in a post Kinesio world, so why are Kinesiology tapes still so expensive?
When choosing a price point for Levotape, we recognised that while people will always have opinions about their favourite version of Kinesiology Tape, by and large they are all too expensive.
Levotape was therefore designed to have optimal characteristics at a reasonable price.
Since moving away from Nitto Denko, Kinesio, led by inventor Kenso Kase has created a variety of tapes to help maintain market share. From the original Kinesio Tex Tape To Kinesio Classic Tape to Kinesio gold, extra long clinic rolls, wide rolls, fan cut and special Kinesio scissors, and while K-Active has taken a large share of the European market, the full on marketing of Rock tape with the American style promotion has raised the profile of Kinesiology tape to something way beyond a physiotherapy treatment modality.
How to use Kinesio Tape?
Kinesiology taping courses have been augmented by YouTube videos, showing popular techniques in knee taping ankle tape, sports taping techniques generally and hamstring techniques, but Vivomed has recently opened their Clinical Kinesiology Taping Course to an online audience with their online Kinesiology taping course.