Origins of Kinesiology taping:

Kinesiology tape was originally invented by a Japanese Chiropractor by the name of Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970's in an effort to find a method to enhance soft tissue injury healing. A good write-up on it may be found here.

The word "Kinesio" comes from the Greek word Kinesis which means movement. Kinesio or Kinesiology taping means therapeutic treatment using elastic bandaging that supports while still allowing full free range of motion (ROM). The special wave pattern adhesive allows more air movement to the skin and helps wick away any sweat. The pattern itself also lifts up on the skin itself to allow and enhance greater blood and lymph flow, as well as reduce pressure on nerves/pain receptors to aid in pain relief.
The action of the tape is designed to help reduce pain and swelling and speed healing of the area and is reputed to encourage the target muscle to move better.

(I have personally had it considerably speed up healing of bruises so I know that the reputed action of the tape really works, at least for me, and it's also reduced joint swelling and pain in my shoulders).

It is applied with the muscles in a stretched position and both end of the tape are laid down with no stretch, as that reduces the tendency of the anchoring ends to curl up, prolonging the time each taping will last. There are many good demonstrations on YouTube.com of various taping methods and it's a good idea to watch some of them to get an idea of how to apply the tape properly (unless, of course, you have had an appropriate taping training seminar) .

The tape is made from 100% cotton fabric and the adhesive is hypoallergenic, using an Acrylic based glue. It can still cause some sensitivity in those who already have problems with bandage adhesive but seems to be tolerated better than most. If it causes too much irritation and itching, it should be removed.

NOTES ON SELF-TREATMENT:  Self-diagnosis and treatment is not generally a wise idea and is not recommended. It is best to go to a health care practitioner for assessment and diagnosis, then go from there. K-tape is most commonly used by Physical therapists, Orthopedic practitioners, Chiropractors and sports coaches.
K-taping is also being used with greater frequency now to enhance athletic performance and reduce chances of injury during active sporting events.

FAQ's:

Whv use Kinesiology Tape?
- lt stabilizes joints and supports the muscles and joints to decrease pain while
increasing the body’s ability to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- It is not a restrictive taping and allows and sometimes enhances full range of motion.

How does Kinesiology Tape work?
- Decreases pressure around pain receptors in the skin.
- Lifts the skin to allow increased lymphatic absorption of excess fluid while reducing bruising.
- Supports muscles through its elastic quality and helps the muscle contract back to its normal resting position.
- Stabilizes joints while still allowing range of motion.

How long do I wear the tape?
- The tape will stay on for an average of 3-4 days.
- The tape itself, being cotton, will get wet but patting it dry with a towel speeds up drying by evaporation.
- The adhesive itself is waterproof so water won't make it fall off. You may bathe and swim with the tape in place without problems.
- If the ends begin to curl a bit, just carefully trim those edges to extend wear time.

Can I work out with the tape on?
- Absolutely. Just wait l-2 hours after it is applied so the heat sensitive adhesive can achieve maximum bonding.
- Rubbing the tape after application helps to activate the adhesive. Body heat and friction make it stick better and faster.

Can I shower with the tape on?
- Definitely. The tape is cotton and the adhesive is waterproof, so it can be patted dry without difficulty.

I have sensitive skin. Will the tape cause a reaction?
- Skin reactions to the tape including, but not limited to itching, allergic reactions, hyperpigmentation (discoloration), and blistering are rare but do sometimes occur.
- If you experience any of these symptoms underneath or near the tape, you should remove the tape immediately and inform the therapist you are working with.

This stuff is strong, how do I get it off?
- If the tape sticks so well that it has become like a second skin, then pour/rub some baby oil directly on the tape and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes; then remove it in a shower or bath.
- Remove in the direction of the hair, not against it.

The ends keep rolling up., what do I do?
- If the ends of the tape roll up just cut that part of the tape off without pulling any more up.