Kinesio Tape vs Rigid Tape. Which one is actually better and why?
Do you ever wonder how athletes manage to keep going at their full capacity despite their injuriest? Surprised at how they recover fast? One answer may lie in the type of tape they use. You might have noticed athletes wearing different types of tapes during sports events.
These tapes serve different purposes, and the two most popular ones are Kinesio Tape and Rigid Tape. While both aim to provide support and prevent injuries, they have significant differences that make them suitable for specific situations. Are you curious to know what sets these tapes apart from each other? Keep reading to find out! But, let’s first discuss why adhesive tapes are applied and also look into the history of kinesio tapes.
Why Starpping with Adhesive Tapes in the First Place?
Taping is essential for sports-related injury prevention and rehabilitation. While rigid tapes are still widely prevalent, kinesio tapes are rapidly gaining popularity among athletes and sportspersons, especially after the 2012 Olympics.
More conventional adhesive tapes – such as rigid tapes – are strapped to the body to minimise undesired movement and positions, thus treating the injured area. Such adhesive tapes are commonly applied for sprains, twists and turns, and hard tissue injuries.
But, with the advent of kinesiology tapes, also known as Kinesio Tape, K-T and KT, the focus shifted to dynamic support. The primary post-minor-injury and corrective functions of taping didn’t change much; however, preventing and treating physical injuries was now possible without fixing joints and hindering movement.
History of Kinesiology Tape
Rigid tapes have probably been around since the Stone Age – not looking this functional and minimal but existing in some crude form or type. But, kinesio tapes are a more recent invention dating back to just a few decades ago.
Kinesio tape was first developed in the 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist. Dr. Kase was searching for a way to support the body's natural healing process and enhance muscle and joint function without restricting movement. Traditional athletic, rigid tape was not flexible enough and often caused discomfort and restricted a wide range of motion. So, Dr. Kase developed a new type of tape that would allow for dynamic support of muscles and joints without hindering the body's natural movement patterns.
Dr. Kase spent several years researching and testing different types of tape and adhesive materials before settling on a thin, elastic cotton tape with an acrylic adhesive. This tape served to mimic the thickness and elasticity of human skin and muscle, allowing for natural movement and providing support to muscles and joints.
Dr. Kase named his new tape "Kinesio Tape," derived from the Greek word "kinesis," meaning movement. He began using kinesio tape on his patients and found that it helped reduce pain, improve blood circulation, and promote healing. He also found that kinesiology tape could improve muscle function and enhance athletic performance.
Over the years, kinesio tape has become increasingly popular among athletes, dancers, ordinary people. And more physical therapists and other healthcare professionals are turning to kinesio tapes to treat their patients.
Kinesio Tape vs Rigid Tape | Main Differences
While both rigid tapes and kinesio tapes function to serve more or less the same purpose(s), there are, however, a few significant differences between the two types of adhesive tapes that you should be aware of.
As the name suggests, rigid tape is rigid – non-elastic and lacking flexibility. Once applied, it does not expand or contract. And, it holds the affected area firm and locked in place. Kinesio tape, on the other hand, is highly elastic and stretchable. It is applied in a stretched condition and can expand or contract, depending on the movements of the body.
The primary function of rigid tape is to provide support and stability to the affected area after returning from a sports injury or any day-to-day injury such as joint and ankle sprains. It restricts movement and aims to immobilise the injured area. It is used primarily on joints such as ankles, knees, wrists, elbows and shoulders.
In contrast, kinesio tape aims to increase movements and muscle flexibility. It enhances joint proprioception and positional awareness feedback from the joint to the brain, leading to a quick and effective rehabilitation post an injury or correcting bad posture. This quality serves as a re-education trigger reminding the optimum behaviour in muscles and joints. Kinesio tape is mainly applied on muscles and joints and works both pre- and post-injury. It’s also the preferred taping solution for reducing swelling and bruising.
Kinesio tape can be worn for up to seven days and can handle anything from showering to rigorous training. However, it must be replaced at shorter intervals for higher efficacy and fewer implications on the skin. Rigid tape, on the other hand, is generally removed periodically as it causes discomfort to the wearers.
Rigid tape is usually wrapped around the affected area to provide support and stability. Unlike rigid tape, kinesio tape is applied in a specific pattern, depending on the injury or the corrective behaviour in mind, to enhance joint and muscle proprioception, increase movements, and boost performance.
Breathability & Hypoallergenicity
Rigid tapes are typically made of materials such as cotton, zinc oxide, or synthetic fibres, and whether or not they are hypoallergenic may depend on the individual's sensitivity to these materials. Some people may experience allergic reactions to the adhesives or other components of the tape, while others may not.
As opposed to rigid tapes, many of the kinesio tapes in the market are both breathable and hypoallergenic. SKINES Body Tape, for example, is made of the highest quality elastic therapeutic cotton (97%) with a hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive layer.
Plus, SKINES kinesio tape is breathable, latex free and zinc oxide free, assuring zero to very negligible skin burns or irritation if correctly applied. However, we always recommend testing before application as some people may have allergies or higher sensitivity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kinesio Tape vs Rigid Tape
1. Is there a difference between tapes which come in different colours?
Not really. The different colours are mainly for commercial purposes and offered to suit the patients’ or athletes’ preferences.
2. Should I use rigid tape or kinesio tape?
That entirely depends on the purpose you have in mind. We recommend consulting with your healthcare professional before going with either of these tapes.
3. What is kinesio tape and what is it used for?
Kinesio tape is a type of elastic therapeutic tape that is used to support muscles and joints, improve blood circulation, reduce pain and inflammation, and enhance performance. It is made of cotton or synthetic material with adhesive backing that allows it to stick to the skin and is designed to mimic the natural properties of human skin.
4. How does kinesio tape work?
Kinesio tape works by lifting the skin and fascia to create space and promote blood and lymphatic flow, which can reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. It can also support muscles and joints, improve proprioception (the body's awareness of its position and movement), and provide feedback to the nervous system to enhance motor control and performance.
5. Who can benefit from kinesio tape?
Kinesio tape can benefit people of all ages and activity levels who are looking to improve their physical performance, recover from minor injuries, manage chronic pain or inflammation, or prevent further injury.
It is commonly used by athletes, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals. And recently, as a breast tape for those seeking to go braless and safely lift and support their boobs and create their desired cleavage.
6. Are there any risks or side effects associated with using kinesio tape?
Kinesio tape is generally considered safe and has few side effects. However, some people may experience skin irritation, itching, or allergic reactions to the adhesive. It is also important to use proper application techniques and avoid applying the tape too tightly or leaving it on for too long, as this can cause circulation problems or skin damage.
7. How long can kinesio tape be worn and how often should it be applied?
Kinesio tape can be worn for several days at a time, depending on the individual and the condition being treated. But, it is very important to replace the tape at short intervals (every 12 hours, for example).
It is generally recommended to remove the tape after 3-5 days to allow the skin to breathe and avoid irritation. The frequency of application depends on the specific goals of treatment and may vary from daily to weekly or as needed. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate use and application of kinesio tape.
Kinesio Tapes Used For Shaping and Lifting Breasts and Creating Cleavage
Thanks to their medical-grade properties, few side effects, and elastic qualities, kinesio tapes are also popularly used for breast taping. Kinesio breast tapes have become a popular accessory for women who want to enhance their bust and hide their nipples without wearing a traditional bra.
One of the most significant benefits of breast tapes is their contouring feature, which creates a natural-looking shape that complements the curves of a woman's body. Kinesio boob tapes lift and support different cup sizes and shapes and help achieve a perfect cleavage with the least – sometimes zero – unpleasant implications to the skin.
Additionally, they are designed to be worn with different types of dresses, including those with low-cut necklines, off-the-shoulder designs, and backless dresses. Their versatility allows women to wear their favourite dresses without worrying about visible bra straps or awkward undergarment lines. Overall, kinesio breast tapes are a comfortable, discreet, and practical solution for women who want to enhance their appearance and boost their confidence.