If you’ve been watching the London Olympics, you’ve doubtless seen countless athletes wearing different color strips of tape on various parts of their body. What they’re wearing is called Kinesio Tape and it’s supposed to help heal injuries.
But besides looking kind of cool, does Kinesio tape actually do anything?
Let’s start at the beginning. Believe it or not this tape has been around since 1979, when Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist Kenzo Kase developed it. Apparently he believed standard athletic taping methods were too restrictive and could cause injuries because they inhibited the flow of inflammatory fluids beneath the skin. His rationale was that a flexible tape applied to the skin covering injured muscles would stimulate circulation through its tug on the skin and start clearing out the damage. Hmmm…I’m not so sure I’m a believer.
This is an area I have personal experience in actually. About 2 years ago a strained my calf muscle and a chiropractor that I knew suggested I give the pretty blue tape a try. Well fifty bucks later I had some funky tape on the back of my calf down to my ankle and I must say it looked pretty cool and was a catalyst for conversation. But other than that I felt nothing… nada. With the exception of a slight pull on my skin I didn’t notice any support or speed of healing. I had strained the same calf prior so I’m aware of how long it takes to heal. So in my typical Angry way I just chalked it up as another fitness gimmick.
And it turns out I’m not alone with how I feel about the wonder tape. A quick Google search shows that there really is no conclusive proof, scientific evidence or long term studies done to support the claims of what basically amounts to putting sticky cloth on your body. Sure there are placebo effects and wearing the tape may be a reminder to not overstretch or reach, but I’m not a believer that it helps with actual healing – I just can’t see how it could. I know the inventor claims it stimulates healing and “clears damage” (whatever that means?) but I think that’s a huge stretch (pun intended). And like neoprene knee and shoulder braces, I don’t think it can give much in the way of support for joints either. The human body is far too strong to have a big band aid support it. That’s just my way of thinking.
Still some athletes swear by it and many athletic insiders admit that there’s a bit of peer pressure to wear the tape. The fact is that wearing the tape can’t hurt, so I guess if there’s even a remote chance that it may help even a little bit, then why not? It comes in neon pink, blue, yellow, black and all sorts of colors so at least you can be fashionable!
Okay that’s my take – but what do you think? Have you tried Kinesio tape? Did it work for you? Share away…
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