How Does Acti-Tape Work?

The taping workshop is in full swing.

The taping workshop is in full swing.

Elastic therapeutic tapes are fast becoming the latest fad amongst both professional and recreational athletes. These are brightly coloured strips of tape, usually arranged in pretty patterns around the body. They are supposed to not only help relieve pain and injured muscles, but also act as a form of protection and prevention against injury.

A representative from Acti-Tape recently gave a talk and demonstrated how these are used.

How do these tapes work?

The Acti-Tapes are made of thin porous cotton fabric and have an adhesive wave-like pattern on the inner side that sticks to the body.

When applied to the affected parts, the tape is supposed to lift up the skin directly underneath. This provides a reprieve against the pain felt, because it increases the space between the skin and muscles to allow the body fluid to flow through the particular area more easily. This decreases the amount of pressure applied to the body’s sensory receptors. As a result, this helps to relief pain and enables the body to heal injuries at a faster rate.

A sample of green coloured Acti-Tape.

A sample of green coloured Acti-Tape.

The tape can be left on the affected part for a few days – and it will not come off when showering or washing.

Generally users should feel an improvement within 24 hours.

For outdoor sports under the sun, use the black and red colours as these absorb sunlight more – giving a heat therapy effect.

For any injuries that you are worried about, always consult your doctor first though – before applying the tape.

General Techniques on Applying The Tapes

Generally, it is recommended that you clean and dry skin before applying the tape. If you are applying it before doing water-based activities, try and get the affected area taped up about 60 minutes before the activity. For non-water based exercises, do it about 10 minutes before.

Remember not to stretch the ends of the tape. Just stretch the centre portions – otherwise you would be increasing the chances of the tape coming off, prematurely.

A taping demonstration on a girl's knee.

A taping demonstration on a girl’s knee.

Putting The Tape On

A large portion of the talk also involved doing demonstrations on the taping.

Some of the more common applications include taping for ankle sprains, tennis elbow, backaches and knee pains. The way that the tape is cut, varies for each body part. For example, if you have just sprained your ankle, you would need to cut a piece of tape into an “octopus” shape (like a round head with tentacles) and stick this onto the injured ankle, with the octopus head pasted on the heels – and the tentacles spreading out on the sole of the foot.

The tape generally acts as an added layer of support for your muscles. But the taping must be done properly – otherwise it will have no effect at all.

To find out how to apply the tape to specific body parts, see more here:

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