We get asked this question regularly, often accompanied by a look of astonishment by someone who has just re-tested a movement following the application of RockTape! No, it’s not “magic tape” as some people would have you believe. It can certainly help to reduce pain, improve recovery and can help people to move better. The way that it works is really quite simple.
RockTape is a kinesiology tape, sometimes referred to as an elastic therapeutic tape. It is very stretchy and as such is designed to move with the person, not restrict movement like traditional rigid tape does. Being very stretchy, RockTape recoils along its length and in doing so, creates a lifting effect on the skin. This lifting effect provides a novel sensory input to the brain and as a result can dramatically change the information coming from a body part to the brain, and then subsequently, change the information being sent from the brain. This can be helpful for both pain and body awareness. The lifting effect is also thought to promote better recovery, with potential for improved superficial fluid movement – opening up the vessels close to the skin surface to allow better flow.
In today’s blog, we are going to focus on reducing pain. Having RockTape applied to the skin changes the nerve information to and from the brain and this can be very powerful. Think about when you knock your elbow on a door jam, or stub your toe on the coffee table. Your first reaction (apart from swearing ?) is often to rub the “injured” part. This instinctive reaction provides your brain with soothing touch, and this offsets the amount of “injury” signals being sent to the brain, so it makes you perceive less pain. Rubbing the part doesn’t “fix” the problem, but it provides a welcome distraction. RockTape can do a similar thing. RockTape by itself to reduce someone’s pain is rarely going to be the complete answer. It should be used as part of an overall management plan that often begins with education about why the problem occurred and what the rehab plan will likely be, have a mix of various “interventions” that could include massage, manual therapy, RockTaping etc, and finish with exercises to remedy why the problem occurred in the first place. Obviously there will be variations to this theme, but the key point is that for pain-related problems, RockTape is most often used as an adjunct to treatment, to complement other therapy.
RockTape is often thought of as a sports tape. But for the majority of the population, sport is a hobby or pastime, and the real stresses and strains on the body can come from everyday activities and in particular occupational loads. Most of us have a job that is repetitive in some way, and we generally lack variety in our day to day or week to week tasks. This means that overuse injuries and niggles are a part of everyday life for many people. RockTape helps thousands of people every day to manage the pain associated with their normal daily activities. This could range from people doing physical work such as tradies, to sedentary occupations, to active kids with overuse issues such as Osgood-Schlatters or Sever’s, to those with osteoarthritis. Many people with chronic and long-term disabilities use RockTape to help them manage their symptoms.
RockTape is hypoallergenic, containing no latex or zinc oxide which are the two main substances that irritate people using some wound dressings or rigid tape. This makes it suitable for most skin types and people of all ages. It can also be worn for 3-5 days as the lightweight fabric can “breathe” and therefore moisture is not trapped under the tape.
We hope that RockTape can work for you in reducing some niggly pain, whether that be related to sport or everyday life! Stay tuned for the next instalments of “How does it work” for more info on using tape for recovery/swelling management, as well as for posture/improving technique.