Suddenly everyone from Novak Djokovic, Lance Armstrong, Serena Williams and Mario Balotelli to David Beckham are being taped up.
These elaborate weaves of coloured Kinesiotape a genuine leap forward in the treatment of sports injuries. Kinesio Tex tape, a strong elasticated tape, was developed more than 30 years ago by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr Kenzo Kase. He found that the application of the tape replicated some of the beneficial effects of manual therapy – such as massage – in reducing pain and soreness for injured patients.
First seen on Sumo wrestlers, the tape became popular when rolls were donated to 58 countries at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Taping as a method has been used to patch up injuries for years, but we find that Kinesiotape is better than old-fashioned zinc, which prevents all movement. A common problem for runners is a mistracking kneecap; Kinesiotape can stretch and contract, inhibiting damaging movements but allowing the right kind of movement so that runners can continue to train even when they have an injury.
Speaking from Japan, Kase has a more expansive view of his tape’s benefits. Space, flow and cooling are, he explains, his basic concepts. He believes the source of many joint and muscle pains lies in the thin layer of skin between the epidermis and the dermis. Conventional therapies compress these areas, he needed to create something to lift these layers.
The tape opens the space between the epidermis and dermis, enabling a better flow of blood and lymphatic fluids.
Through this flow, the body loses excessive heat that can damage it.