Friday, August 10, 2012

Olympic Style II: Funky Neon Tape

Neon is making a comeback in the 2012 London Olympics. All neon yellow shoes aside, Olympic athletes are also adorning their bodies with brightly colored tape. At first I thought it was purely for some sort of bizarre decoration. Then I noticed the tape on athletes in the pools, on the tennis and volleyball courts, and even on the balance beam. Why is everyone wearing tape on all different parts of their bodies?



Turns out that the tape is called kinesio tape and was designed by a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist Kenzo Kase. The kinesio tape is made of soft and flexible cotton that supports injured muscles and helps athletes movement while decreasing muscle pain. And it also comes in black and nude, not just neon.

Kinesio tape basically lifts the skin and separates it from other tissue layers. This allows for increased blood flow to the taped area of the body.  Many athletes swear by it as the colorful tape allows an injured athlete to get back into their game more quickly. However, the scientific reviews on the benefits of using kinesio tape are mixed. The tape does aid in rehabilitation but is not a "cure".

Regardless of how an athlete decides to use the bright tape, it's become a vivid staple of these Olympic games and a functional fashion statement. The strategically placed kinesio tape may be the most visible (and colorful) pain med placebo at the London Olympics. Seems to have worked for Kerri Walsh Jennings!

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