You may have noticed it on the bodies of some Olympic athletes or even on soccer superstar David Beckham.
Volleyball player Kerri Walsh sported it at the Olympics.
In his new book, champion cyclist Lance Armstrong swears by it.
Kinesio tape isn't just for professional athletes.
The elastic woven material is also helping patients in physical therapy recover from injuries.
For 22-year-old Carlos Villamizar, working out at the gym isn't a chore. It's a passion.
"It is an important part of my life," Villamizar said.
But last year, lifting weights became nearly impossible.
"I felt like someone had stabbed me in the back with a knife," Villamizar said.
A pinched nerve caused the muscles in his upper back to weaken. Carlos was told surgery wasn't an option, and it would take two years to heal.
"Two years was not acceptable in my standards," Villamizar said.
Instead of waiting, he turned to physical therapy and this special tape.
Kinesio tape is stretched and placed on the skin over injured muscles and joints.
"You can apply this tape in such a manner that it will help to aid the contraction of that muscle group," Physical Therapist Christopher Stavres said.
The tape improves circulation and helps remove painful fluid buildup.
"As the Kinesio tape recoils, what it does is that it then creates these convolutions along the skin, which relieve that pressure," Stavres said.
Physical therapist Trent Nessler agrees that Kinesio tape can have an impact when combined with other therapies.
"It's another great tool that we can use as a part of a well-comprehensive program," Nessler said.
The tape typically stays on for three to five days before needing to be reapplied.
It's made of 100-percent cotton, and it stays on in the shower.
A roll costs about $15 and is applied by a specially-trained physical therapist.
Kinesio taping is a taping technique based on the body's own natural healing process. It gives support and stability to a person's joints and muscles without affecting or reducing circulation and range of motion. Kinesio taping is a latex-free (hypoallergenic), therapeutic tape, which rehabilitates the affected areas or can be used as a pain reliever. It can also be used as preventive maintenance, to re-align bones and muscles or for patients with edema. The Kinesio taping method is applied over the muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused or tired muscles, and to support muscles in movement. Using the elastic tape helps muscles and other tissues by outside assistance, still allowing the bio-mechanics of the human body. Kinesio taping shows its effectiveness through the activation of neurological and circulatory systems, lifting the skin and providing support for surrounding soft tissue. This method stems from the science of Kinesiology, hence the name "Kinesio."
Kinesio tape is used for anything from headaches to foot problems and everything in between. Examples include muscular facilitation or inhibition in pediatric patients, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain or pain, knee and shoulder conditions, hamstring problems, groin injury, rotator cuff injury, whiplash, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, patellar tracking, pre- and post-surgical edema, ankle sprains, athletic preventative injury method and pinched nerves.
"The Kinesio tape is applied with a stretch, so when you naturally stretch something, and you place it down, its tendency is to recoil," Christopher Stavres, a physical therapist at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, told Ivanhoe. "When you apply that in the situation where you've got this compression of these lymphatic and circulatory and pain functions, when you apply the Kinesio tape, as the Kinesio tape recoils, what it does is it then creates these convolutions along the skin, which relieve that pressure. It enhances the circulatory flow, of blood and lymphatic waste drainage, and it decompresses the nerve structures, which are causing you to have the pain as a result, so in that, it allows the circulation to channel more efficiently."
The goal of Kinesio tape is not long-term continual use; it is mainly for short-term use. Many athletes use the Kinesio taping application to help support the function of their sport but not for all-the-time use.
For More Information, Contact:
Christopher Stavres, PT
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare