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It’s hard to miss the bright stripes of skin-like tape that decorate athletes these days. Kinesio tape acts and reacts like a second layer of skin, supporting and stabilizing muscles and joints from outside, like a colorful, stretchy exoskeleton. It’s also purported to ease soreness and facilitate recovery by lifting the skin away from affected areas, allowing for better circulation, removal of waste products and lymphatic drainage. Here’s a quick how-to on applying this super-useful tool with Dr. Dino Del Mastro, NASM, DC, and director of sports medicine at Go Tape.
1. Clean your skin with light soap and water, and dry thoroughly.
2. Measure the tape along the application area, and cut the edges in a rounded fashion so the tape doesn’t get caught on clothing and peel off.
3. Now get your muscle into a comfortable, lightly stretched position.
4. If you’re taping for support and performance, place the first end of the tape (the anchor) at the muscle origin and lay the tape toward the insertion. For instance, the hamstrings originate in your pelvic area and insert in your knee joint. If you’re taping for rehab, place the anchor at the muscle insertion, then lay it toward the origin.
5. The tape has a strong elastic rebound effect, so apply with a very light stretch for support and healing purposes. For injured joints, such as an ankle sprain or shoulder dislocation, the tape can be pulled tighter.
6. Leave the tape on for two to three days. To remove, massage the tape and surrounding area with baby oil, then use gentle soap and water and peel the skin away from the tape.
7. To learn how to perform the 20 most common tape jobs, go to youtube.com/c/gotapeus.