From ‘Kinesiology Taping for Horses.’

Photo courtesy of Trafalgar Square

Kinesiology taping on human athletes is widely used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and personal trainers; we see it on Olympians, runners, basketball players—on amateurs and professionals. As we learn in this excerpt from the book Kinesiology Taping for Horses by Katja Bredlau-Morich, our equine athletes can benefit hugely from taping techniques, too.

Kinesiology tape is applied to the skin with varying amounts of stretch, depending on the kind of application. Considering basic physical laws, everything that is stretched has a tendency to recoil. Thus when the stretched tape is applied, it recoils and thereby lifts the skin or—in case of a horse—the hair coat and the skin. And that is the basic effect of kinesiology tape: it lifts the outer layer of the skin, and with horses, the hair coat and the skin. Lifting the outer layer of the skin increases the space in the tissue underneath, allowing blood and lymphatic fluid to flow more easily. Waste products will be washed out and new blood with nutrients and oxygen can flow in, improving circulation. This “lifting” effect continues on to the next tissue layer underneath, then into the next, and the next…. This increase in space makes it possible to affect deeper tissue layers and provide pressure and pain relief. For example, arthritic side effects like pain and stiffness can be treated. The arthritis itself, of course, is an irreversible process that we can’t undo, but the kinesiology taping can help to make life a little more comfortable for the patient.

Here are a few of the problems where a little tape can help:

Pressure Relief
Inflammatory processes, swellings, and even sore and tight muscles will cause an increase in tissue volume, which then leads to more pressure in the affected area. As described before, kinesiology tape lifts the skin and creates space in the tissue. As a result, this increased space will take away the pressure from inflammation, blood vessels, and even from muscles.

Pain Relief
As just mentioned, a tight muscle has an increased tissue volume that causes swelling. The swelling puts pressure on pain receptors,…