What is Kinesiology Tape, and How Can It Help Gamers?
BY ALICE MARION (ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOV 20, 2020)
SpiderTech Kinesiology tape may provide a benefit for competitive gamers by increasing circulation in the hands and supporting joint movement.
Most people are familiar with athletic tape, which competitors use to bind certain areas of the body in order to reduce pain, but kinesiology tape is about as common, often showing up as colorful strips running lengthwise on arms and legs. The makers of SpiderTech Kinesiology Tape claim that their pre-cut small kinesiology tape fans can improve function in competitive gamers' hands. The claim seems outrageous, but there is science to back it up.
Kinesiology tape, also known as elastic therapeutic tape or "KT," was originally developed by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1970's for his patients with arthritis and other joint pain, who found a benefit from pieces of tape holding their hands in a less painful position. It has since become popular with physical therapists and trainers who believe the practice of taping encourages blood flow and good posture. Esports players may find a benefit in applying kinesiology tape to their hands for just that reason.
According to Healthline, the main function of kinesiology tape is not to bind an area, but to encourage mindful movement by giving the wearer tactile feedback when they start to bend too far and relieve pressure in the area by pulling up on the skin. Because of this slight lift, kinesiology tape may allow blood and lymphatic fluid to move more freely, which can provide a small recovery benefit.
Competitive players training for Call of Duty League, for example, may find a benefit in applying kinesiology tape fans to the backs of their hands, especially if they spend long periods of time with those hands on the controls. It may also provide short term relief for less competitive players who experience joint pain in their hands, since the added sensation of tape on skin ends up competing with the signals sent by pain receptors, thus reducing the perception of pain by masking it.
It is likely that most of the benefit of taping is due to the placebo effect, but when it comes to competitive sports and esports, athletes seek every little advantage they can get. Whether it's a strip of tape or a biometric smart watch, many competitors will swear by that one thing they wear or do every time they practice or compete. The simple act of putting on kinesiology tape may put an athlete into "the zone," priming them for the competition ahead.
Kinesiology tape can be worn comfortably for up to a week. The tape made by SpiderTech is latex-free and hypoallergenic, is designed to mimic the elasticity of human skin, and is water-resistant. It will be up to esports players like Moth of the Los Angeles Gladiators to decide whether the performance boost is real.