k-tape, kinesio tape osteopathIf like me you sat on your sofa last Sunday morning and watched all those brave souls tackling the London Marathon you may have wondered why some of them were sporting coloured stripes mostly on their legs?! The answer is it is a type of tape commonly called K-tape – the picture at the side is of a patient who ran the London Marathon, all taped up and ready to run!

K-tape is nothing new it has been around since the 1970’s and was developed by a Dr Kenzo Kase in Japan. He was searching for a way to facilitate the body’s natural healing process and prolong the benefits of his treatment after his patients left his clinic as a result Kinesio or K-tape was born.

What is it and how does it work?
K-tape is a stretchy adhesive cotton tape, it comes in a multitude of colours however the colours have no influence on its affect, they are purely to allow people to pick a favourite colour!
On application the tape is stretched first before placing it on the skin, as it recoils once stuck to the skin it lifts the structures beneath which it is believed helps to alleviates discomfort and facilitates lymphatic drainage. This lifting affect creates space in the structures beneath the skin thus allowing for a decrease in inflammation, reducing pressure while enabling a more effective flow of lymphatic fluid in and out of the target area.

Unfortunately for Dr Kase he was able to protect his product name but not his product so there are now a wide range of companies selling K-tape, from Boots own brand through to more specialist companies here in the UK such as Rocktape or Sporttape. Sporttape is the brand you will see me using in the clinic, they are a small Welsh company that I think, personally, produce the best quality and also best sticking tape of the ones I have tried!

So what applications do I use it for as an Osteopath?

All sorts of things!  K-tape is useful from helping to support recovery of an injury such as a pulled muscle. It can also be used to help prevent the pulled muscle in the first place – hence its prevalence on runners in the London Marathon!

I also find it very useful in helping to support acute lower back pain, it provides support and comfort without the restriction of a tradition back support.  I have also used it to help women during pregnancy suffering with pelvic pain, or other similar related problems particularly during the third trimester. It can also help with posture correction in more long term chronic conditions such as tight neck and shoulders from long term computer use.

If you are interested in using K-tape then do get in touch – the key to getting the greatest benefit from it is having it correctly applied.  However it is easily something you can learn to apply yourself once I have shown you how!