Colour Theory and Sports Tape

It’s been a while since I wrote about colour theory, mainly because there is enough ‘out there’ on this topic already but I couldn’t resist a quick post after a visit to a physiotherapist last week. K tapeSo I turned up with Planter Fasciitis and a squeaky achilles, which I wanted fixed before a big walk I’m planning next weekend and the physio pulls out some K Tape and starts strapping up my foot.

“Dash”, she says “I’ve run out of blue”.

So, I enquired, did the black stretchy tape she was busy using on my foot come in different widths or stretchiness which are differentiated by colour?

“No, the tapes are all exactly the same but the colour is important” she says.

Yes! Music to my colour theory ears.

You will have noticed sports men and women in virtually every sport across the world strapped up in this magical tape which is amazing considering the jury is out on what exactly it actually does. The tape was developed over 30 years ago by a Japanese Chiropractor Dr.Kenso Kase and the idea is that as the tape is highly elastic you stretch it over an area of your body which is injured, stick it down, and then allow it to ‘recoil’, exerting a pulling force on your skin which can help mechanical and inflammatory injuries. It works partly on a subconscious level as it cues a motor response through somatosensory (information received in the skin and deep tissues) and feeds back to the brain.

As we all know, colours have proven physiological effects on our psyche so it makes sense for this somatosensory tape to be available in a range of colours. My physio was keen to use blue because my injury was slightly inflamed so the cooling blue would be the obvious one to use. The bright red tape, ‘rage red’, is often used when the athlete feels their injury is of particular significance and they need recognition of this. It is also used when an injury would benefit from warmth, the kind of injury people would spray deep heat on. You may have noticed David Beckham is partial to the pink tape, one he maybe feels reflects his interest in fashion, who knows.

So, my physio told me it’s really important to ask the patient which colour they would like, it’s all part of the way it works. Proof yet again of the significance of colours in our human mind. All I can say is that the black tape worked well for me –  and it matched my Pilates gear perfectly 😉 and I’m now on course to post some nice photos from my walk next weekend.

Have you used K tape before, did it work and which colour did you use?