K tape is short for Kinesio tape (after it’s inventor), there are many brands such as Rock Tape or the excellent Toro Pro tape but basically it’s a strong, elastic, athletic tape.
K-tape has many functions, I often use it for proprioception (spatial sense of body awareness) for people with postural issues especially those with head forward position, rounded shoulders and symptoms of head/neck/jaw pain. I tape them in a way so that if they do slouch it reminds them not to do it and this then makes the massage treatment longer lasting by allowing the tight muscles to stay in a more relaxed position. Tape also lifts the skin slighty allowing greater blood flow to the taped area and when applied correctly is great to reduce swelling and bruising.
Working in Europes biggest yoga centre for the last ten years I’ve seen many people with hamstring tears or tendonitis that never seem to heal. For these clients I will tape along the length of the hamstring so that if they overstretch the tape will resist and remind them not to go further.
Tape is very useful to help to create stability, improve function and reduce pain as this recent study has shown.
Fifteeen people with unilateral knee pain (patellafomoral syndrome) were examined and compared under taped and untaped conditions. Maximal eccentric and concentric peak torques of quadriceps were measured. Functional performance and pain were evaluated by functional tests and visual analog scale. There were statistically significant increases in peak torque and pain also decreased significantly following application of the tape.
So in the short term at least tape works and this is why you see so many elite athletes using it. If you have poor posture, an injury with needs extra support to help with pain reduction and to help increase performance come and experience it for yourself with one of my myofascial & sports massage treatments at triyoga or Grace Belgravia.