Why are Top Athletes Sporting Colored Tape?
Have you wondered at the blue tape on Mario Balotelli’s back, displayed along with his magnificent physique when he took his shirt off after scoring in the Euro 2012 championships?. Then along comes Wimbledon and we see that Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has had his elbow patched up with the same stuff. All can now be revealed - it is the latest sporting fad, although it has been around since the 1970’s it is only now coming to prominence.
The Japanese makers of Kinesio tape say it gives players an edge by mending injuries. The brainchild behind the tape, Dr Kenzo Kase, says he came up with the design because he found standard taping techniques, like conventional strapping, too restrictive for his patients. Although standard strapping provides muscle and joint support, it limits movement and, according to Dr Kase, gets in the way of the healing process by restricting the flow of inflammatory fluids below the skin. Kinesio tape is different, he says, because it lifts the skin to assist this lymphatic flow, which, in turn, reduces pain and swelling.
According to the Kinesio website the tape ‘is applied over muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused or tired muscles, and support muscles in movement on a 24-hour-a-day basis. The taping is non-restrictive and allows for full range of motion. In contrast, more traditional sports tape is wrapped around a joint strictly for stabilization and support during an athletic event. Kinesio® Tex Tape is used to treat anything from headaches to foot problems and everything in between. Just a few examples include rehabilitation from sports injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain/pain (subluxation, herniated disc), knee and shoulder conditions.’
Not to be confused with Kinesiology which is the scientific study of human movement, Kinesio taping is based on using a relatively new type of tape that is thin and light weight. The idea behind it is facial unloading - reducing pressure in the tissue below the skin. Dr Kase says people have been using his tape with success for more than 30 years. But he recognizes that only solid scientific evidence can silence critics and as yet there have been no conclusive scientific studies supporting his claims. Another element to consider is the power of persuasion or "placebo effect" - if you believe something will work then you will see results.Continued on the next page