Fascial taping is becoming huge in elite sport. If you ever watch the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or a Rugby match you are sure to notice to brightly colour tape some of the athletes have on their legs or arms, and possibly their neck and back too!
However, fascial taping isn’t just for the elite, the benefits for you are just as important. That’s why Rachael and I were keen to get on a course to learn all about it. After a lot of clashing dates we finally attended the RockTape Fascial Taping weekend course and want to share it’s benefits with you here.
What is Fascial Taping?
Fascial taping, also know as Kinesiology taping is a relatively new method of providing support to the structures of the body. The stretchy tape is laid on the skin using specific tension and positions to provide the required effect.
- Pain Relief by taking the strain off damaged muscles and tendons
- Reduce Swelling to help injury recovery
- Control posture to improve alignment of the body
- Correct muscle activation patterns to improve movement
How does Fascial Taping Work?
To understand this you need to know what fascia is.
We often think of the body in terms of all it’s different parts, the skin, the muscles, our organs and the skeleton. However in reality all areas and parts of your body are connected by a continuous sheet of tissue called Fascia. This connective tissue acts like a spiders web, surrounding all the structures in the body and connecting everything together. The most superficial attachment of the fascia is to our skin.
Because of the elastic nature of the tape, when it is put on the skin it is put on to varying degrees of stretch. This means once it’s on it contracts and you can see the wrinkles in you skin as it is lifting up the outmost layer. When fascia tape is applied to the skin it can influence the structures underneath in various ways:
Through your nervous system – The skin is full of nerve endings which get stimulated by the tape. This means the body is more aware of the area covered by the tape. It become more aware of the movement there and also the stimulation helps to overcome the pain pathways from an injury. Studies have shown the tape, through the sensation of it on the skin, to enhance conscious awareness of that area, for example helping correct posture or movement patterns.
Additionally, if you have seen this tape on athletes, they often use a bright colour. I don’t know about you but if I had a bright pink strip of tape on my leg, or maybe some cow print, it would certainly be a good reminder for me to watch how I use that area.
Through the stretch applied – By lifting the top layer of skin, the layers underneath are also separated slightly allowing them to slide against each other more easily. This can help improve movement and reduce pain from adhesions and restrictions.
When it is applied the therapist can adjust the amount of tension used. It is this tension that can ‘offload’ a muscle of tendon. In the same way as a support band for tennis elbow changes how the forces go through the inflammed attachment, fascial tape can alter the forces and load on an area giving it chance to repair.
Through fluid mechanics – The tape lifts the skin and so changes the pressure inside. This alone help improve fluid flow of both your blood supply bring nutrition into the area for repair and lymphatic flow to take damaged cells and debris away. This effect helps to reduce swelling from an injury.
How can Fascial Taping help me?
Reduce injury symptoms and oedema –
As previously mentioned taping can help to reduce the inflammation and pain felt after in injury. Whether you sustained a sprain or have more of an overuse injury this form of taping can help.
If you are already seeking treatment for an injury and that includes back pain, the taping can act as a continuation of the treatment helping continue the good work of the therapist for up to 5 days between treatments.
Whilst top level athletes use the tape, it doesn’t need to be a sports or exercise injury for fascial taping to help.
When learning to use your body differently fascial taping can be a great aid to helping you make that change.
The tape can be applied to help encourage the correct alignment of your body, reduce the strain on overworked muscles, acts as a reminder when your posture slips.
By using the tape you can support weak under used muscles as they strengthen through your change in sitting and standing position.
Movement pattern improvement –
This one is for the sports and exercise enthusiasts out there. Power Taping is unique to RockTape training courses, fascial taping can be used along entire fascial line from head to toe. By taping either all or part of a chain of muscles and attachments this for of taping has been shown to improve flexibility, reduce muscles imbalances and delay muscle fatigue.
As we use Rocktape in our clinics now and confident about how effective it is as a product.
*This article contains affiliate links to Amazon we only provide these because we are confident in the efficacy of Rocktape although we may earn a small percentage if you purchase directly from the links provided*