What is Spider Tape?

June 3rd, 2010

I have had several inquiries from various people asking me about that so called “spider tape.” “What is that stuff? Does it work? How does it work?” These are some of the questions that I have been asked. So, I will try to answer these questions and hopefully shed some light on these peculiar looking strands of tape! Elastic therapeutic taping or kinesio taping made its first prominent appearance on the world stage at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. A good number of athletes were shown wearing the tape and it obviously caught the attention of the public. Kinesio taping has actually been around for quite some time and it has been slow to “catch on” due to the wide variety of opinions out in the healthcare realm. Some people have used it for years and have had great results, and some have not had good results at all. It depends on the technique, reasons for use, etc. The tape itself is manufactured by several different companies and comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. The shape and size of the tape used coincides with what it is being used for. Uses include muscular, mechanical, muscle fascial, ligament and tendon correcting, functional, and lymphatic.

Kinesio taping is supposed to be based on a very simple principle. It acts to enhance or aide in the body’s natural healing mechanisms. More specifically, it targets the body’s natural receptors and maintains effects on these receptors following treatments in the clinic or athletic training room. The possible effects on the body include increased blood flow to an injured region, increased nutrient absorption, decreased swelling, better control over muscle contractions, decreased pain, and hopefully faster healing.

With help from a heat activated acrylic adhesive, it can be applied to the skin to create a mechanical lifting effect. Because the tape is elastic, it can stretch lengthwise 40-60% passed its resting length, which aides in the lifting effect. This tends to open the narrow space between the skin and muscle tissue, thus allowing for the healing effects as listed above.

For the most part, kinesio taping can be very beneficial. However, just like anything else, there are some conditions where this taping method may not be beneficial. These include, but are not limited to, active cellulites, skin infections, open wounds, diabetes, kidney disease, coronary artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, and congestive heart failure. So, is kinesio taping for you? It may be. As these methods continue to grow in popularity, and as further research is performed, it quite possibly could be seen in many different settings and for many uses. Only time will tell…….

I hope that this answered some of those questions that you may have had. If you have any more, please feel free to email/call us or just stop by the clinic!

Reference: Training and Conditioning, October 2009, Vol. XIX No. 7, Page 27

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