Like the good equestrian you are your horse has experienced the wonders of kinesiology taping but you haven’t tried it for yourself yet! And, truthfully, your horse isn’t giving you the low down on exactly HOW they feel with it on! Yes, you notice improved performance and faster healing time of injuries but is it really due to the tape?
You are probably asking yourself if you should be trying it for your aches, pains and injuries!
The short answer is YES!
I will also provide you with a proper long answer!
How do the brightly coloured racing stripes actually work?
Kinesiology tape was first developed in the 1970s by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase. Dr Kase 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.
In 2003 the team started “experimenting” on equine athletes and, as we all know, the rest is history as it is a common therapeutic practice in horses as well now!!
Kinesiology tape is very popular among top athletes, and for good reason! IT WORKS!
As a side note: I personally ONLY recommend the brand Theraband Xact Stretch. It easily lasts 3x longer and is more effective than other brands.
Kinesiology tape offers structural and/ or muscle support; it can correct postural problems and increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
When the tape is applied correctly ( I REPEAT…. WHEN APPLIED CORRECTLY!!!) the tape lifts the skin to create a small space between the muscle and dermis layers. That space takes the pressure off swollen or injured muscles, allows smooth muscle movement and makes space for drainage and blood flow.
I also find if you tend to have fascia that gets easily tacked down in a specific area the kinesiology tape goes a long way in helping to relieve this so you can correct the root problem.
If you ever wonder if this tape actually works try ripping the tape off before it is ready…. It leaves a nasty burn but you will also see how the tape actually LIFTED the skin between the woven fibers. Now, this was not a challenge. Please do not actually rip it off. Allow it to fall off naturally. It will actually leave a nasty burn if you pull it. I did it by accident when I first started using it!
What does research say?
Research is mostly inconclusive on the tape. There is some research that supports it’s effectiveness in helping with short term pain. Other research claims there is no long term benefit.
I find the claims of no long term benefit misleading.
I have, first hand, witnessed and experienced, the immediate benefits this tape has provided. I have also experienced the significantly decreased healing time. I have used it for my chronic back problems from an old injury, as well as shin splints and a herniated disk. It has also been in frequent rotation for an old tear in my shoulder which has turned into arthritis (Yes, I can predict the weather with my shoulder!).
There are immediate benefits when applied correctly. Literally IMMEDIATE relief and benefits.
Here is where the problem lies: Nothing has long term benefits if you don’t fix the root cause. If you are getting shin splints, there is a reason. Use the tape to assist you in your recovery BUT fix the root cause of why you got shin splints in the first place! This is why I think the research is flawed. The tape DOES have immediate benefits, which will turn into long term benefits if the user actually does the necessary rehab and prehab.
It is not a band aid.
My main concern is using it as a band aid and not fixing the root cause of issues, as addressed above. However, I do have another concern.
Kinesiology tape is not for fancy racing stripes. Yes, there are videos online about how to tape BUT if you literally have no idea about the musculoskeletal system and proper taping PLEASE, for the love of all things sacred, go to a Physio to learn how to tape your issues properly. Even with my knowledge of the body, rehab and prehab I went to a Physio, with my hubby, so we could both learn how to tape.
You are correct, you won’t HURT yourself taping improperly but you certainly won’t help anything either. I am sure there are other things you could do with $25 than draw patterns on your body for no other reason than to have stripes. Pretty sure the dollar store has some fancy temporary tattoos for $1 if you want that!
I highly highly recommend using it. Recently I tore a muscle in my back and it has literally been a life saver. It has provided immediate relief and is allowing me to effectively complete my rehab and also continue my running. If you have some aches or pains definitely go out and buy THERABAND tape and learn how to apply it properly!
Also, if you are a rider AND runner you can use it for shin splints if you are just starting to run again. As I follow a PROPER running program I find taping from the get go helps with easing back into running.
The best parts about this? It is drug free, has no ill effects AND you can match your horse with the same colours or match the tape to your eventing colours! Win. Win. Win.
Now, go out and ride peeps!