Athletes Wear That Crazy Tape For An Awesome Reason… This Is So Clever.
Just as they always do, the athletes of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 delivered jaw-dropping runs and performances, but they also left us with a few questions. The most common question is probably, 'How do they do that?!', but with more expletives. However, another thing viewers are curious about is that colorful tape seen on some of the athletes' bodies.
These strips are known as Kinesiology Tape, or more commonly Kinesio Tape. It was developed by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1970s but we only really started to see it in the mid-1990s, says The Wall Street Journal.
By looking at the Mueller brand, we learned that this rehabilitative adhesive is used to 'maintain flexibility, improve circulation, and relieve pain.'
Furthermore, it is 'designed to aid in the treatment of ligament injuries, muscle conditioning, fascia repositioning, and even carpal tunnel syndrome, it is applied to the skin in patterns to mimic your muscles.'
Want to learn more about how it works? Continue reading for photos and details.
A Brief History of the Kinesio Taping Method
It may seem like a new trend, but Dr. Kenzo Kase of Japan founded the Kinesio Taping Method in 1979 after years of testing, research, and trial. Chiropractors rely on natural ways to relieve pain, so he worked on engineering a tape to do so.
In an interview with The Guardian, he noted that our pain sensors are between the epidermis and the dermis, so when you apply the tape to the injured area, it lifts the epidermis slightly up and creates a space between the two layers. This helps blood flow to the problem area.
In the same interview, he mentioned that the tape can also be used on animals, anything from dogs to flamingos!
How does Kinesio Tape work?
We've seen Kinesio Tape on professional athletes and Olympians. They look like random shapes and patterns on the body, but according to physical therapist Graceann Forrester, the cotton, latex-free tape is pulled to varying degrees of tension depending on the problem and can be worn for two to five days.
The tape helps pull back and pull up in problem areas.
During this time, it can help pull back a hunching shoulder or reduce swelling in an area by pulling up the skin, which leads to low enough pressure for the fluid to move and drain.
It provides a sort of vacation for your tired muscles.
According to physical therapist Holly Moriarty, applying tape to a tired muscle can help it 'go on vacation for a day or two so they come back healed.'
Ryan Pierse / Getty
Here's a look at American volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings with her tape.
The Olympic Gold Medalist is a paid endorser for KT Tape and is often seen with the strips on her body.
Natacha Pisarenko / AP
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