Principles, general notions

Principles. General notions

Based on the fact muscle stimulation occurs through the upper cutaneous layer (K. Hagbart, 1952), kinesio tapes were designed to generate effects by stimulating the neurologic, muscular and circulatory systems of the patient. The draining function is conceived as a direct action, whereas in the case of the other functional effects (on muscular, articular and analgesic levels), the kinesio tapes act indirectly, stimulating the cortical and subcortical areas of the central nervous system.

The main coordinates of the working mechanism of kinesio tapes can be concisely featured as follows:
a) Sensitive function
- The Gate Control effect: it activates the spinal inhibitive system by stimulating the mechanic receptors
- Stimulation of mechanoreceptors: constant repeated but never identical cutaneous information generates a series of impulses which reach the marrow, truncus encephali, and subcortical and cortical regions. The information produces, on the level of the central nervous system, new stimuli which alter the muscle dynamic stabilizers, resulting in muscular activity.
- The analgesic and anti-inflammatory action is generated due to reduction in the pressure put by the inflammatory state on receptors sensitive to painful stimuli.
b) Muscular function
It results in sundry effects, generated as a result of the distinct manners of applying the kinesio tapes (enabling – origin/insertion, inhibitive – insertion/origin) or of the degree of tension implemented in the tape. The following effects can be cited: muscle support; enhancement of muscular contraction in weakened muscles; decrease in muscle fatigue; decrease in excessive muscle extensions or contractions; elimination of cramps and possible muscle lesions.
c) Draining function:
- Increase in lymph and blood circulation
- Reduction  of heat excess in tissues
- Opening subcutaneous lymphatic drainage (helps at eliminating edemas) and/or lymphatic drainage between skin and muscles
- Reduction of inflammation
d) Articular function:
- Corrects the lack of articular alignment caused by abnormal muscular spasms or by muscular retractions
- Ability to normalize fascia tensions
- Increases articular mobility
- Increases range of movement

Another innovative, yet generally neglected element, at least by physiotherapists who use kinesio tapes, refers to the integration of chromotherapeutic effects offered by the specific colors as follows:
- Blue: anti-inflammatory, sedative, relaxing, cooling action
- Red Fuchsia: energetic, stimulant
- Nude (skin color): neutral action
- Black: intensifies the effect of other colors; to be avoided in case of depression
- Yellow: invigorated the lymphatic and the gastric systems

According to tension and type of application the following manners can be pointed out:
• Traumatized musculature        - 0 tension
• Analgesic effect                        - 0 tension
• Drainage                                   - 0 - 25% tension   
• Articular area                            - 50 – 70% tension
• Scar                                              - 0 tension
• Overstressed musculature     - insertion - origin
• Hypotonic musculature        - origin – insertion (both cases with 20 – 30% tension)

The efficiency of kinesio tapes is owed to a set of elements which act in synergy. These elements concern both the structure of the material the tapes are made of and the manners of application:
- Analgesic effect following the stimulation of the Gate Control mechanism
- Drainage resulted from the negative wrinkle pressure
- Alleviating the state of joints due to tension and elastic rebound
- Beneficial effect on scars due to wrinkle traction
- Enhancement of overstressed musculature generated by the proximity of muscular heads
- Stimulation of hypotonic muscles due to the elastic rebound effect