You might be like me and have noticed all them Olympians wearing that crazy, colored tape. I thought it was a fashion trend that Ol’ Scratch hadn’t heard of yet. Turns out that it’s called Kinesio tape. Designed 30 years ago, the tape only started to gain popularity when volleyball champ Kerri Walsh was seen wearing it. Athletes swear by it, but does it work?
NPR reports, “The tape was designed by Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist, to support injured muscles, increase range of motion, and decrease muscle pain. The Kinesio website claims Kase was frustrated with the rigid athletic tapes on the market and felt his patients needed something with ‘a texture and elasticity very close to living human tissue.'” Kase believes that the source of many pains situated in the thin layer of skin between the epidermis and the dermis. Unlike usual treatment that compresses the area, Kase says the tape lifts the skin to encourage more flow of blood and lymphatic fluid.
Scientific testin’ has yet to determine if these claims are true though. A February 2012 review of previous Kinesio research found that “there was little quality evidence to support the use of [Kinesio tape] over other types of elastic taping in the management or prevention of sports injuries.” It found that Kinesio tape may have a small role in improvin’ strength and range of motion in injuries versus other tapes, but determined that further studies are need to confirm this.
Amy Powell, an associate professor of sports medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine and member of the board of directors for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, says, “[In the clinic] it seems to be that there is a set of people [with shoulder injuries] who respond well, but it could also be the idea that any kind of tape would offer them structural support in the shoulder.” She also says that it does help every injury such as Achilles tendon injuries. John Brewer, a professor of sport at the University of Bedfordshire, thinks the the benefit is psychological. He said, “If it makes athletes feel better supported, better prepared, that’s fine. It does no harm, unless you’re reasonably hirsute like I am – in which case, peeling it off might be quite painful.”
So what do you think Rockheads? Have you worn Kensio tape; would you? Tell me in the comments and enjoy this video from CBS’s This Morning.