Aug 12, 2012 / 12:02 pm
It's clear watching the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, that athletes of all stripes are getting better, the result of hard work, dedication and training.
But, in a world where one hundredth of a second makes a big difference, who would have thought that difference could be found in a simple strip of tape.
You may have noticed a number of athletes at these games sporting tape over various parts of their bodies.
Shoulders, knees, ankles, hips, feet, backs, elbows, thighs, quads and even toes are all being supported and stimulated by the use of a not so new miracle tape.
"It can be used for a myriad of problems," says Life-Mark Health Centre Physiotherapist Murray Holmes.
This is no ordinary tensor bandage, soaked in tiger balm and wrapped on to an aching body part by your average weekend warrior before hitting the field, road or rink.
"Kinesio tape is a tape that's uni-directional, so it stretches one way, for example north-south, but there is no stretch east-west. Also each segment of the tape acts like individual little tentacles or small fingers."
The unique structure of the tape allows a trainer to target and stimulate specific muscles, without affecting those nearby.
This gives the added benefit of holding the muscles in correct alignment while performing, helping to prevent the athlete from further aggravating the injured area.
"I use it a lot for tissue that's been traumatized to reduce swelling and inflammation because it really assists in lymphatic drainage."
Holmes says the product has actually been around for 30 years, but only in the last decade has it started to catch on.
"Lance Armstrong's trainer used it a lot with him. That was one of the first North American athletes I saw use it, and the was during his Tour de France run. Now you see it everywhere."
Holmes, who has received advanced training in the use of Kinesio tape, says there is a huge list of ailments the tape can treat. Virtually every bruise, strain, ache and pain an athlete has to deal with can be helped with the use of the tape.
"People say to me, 'Murray, I want some of your magic tape'."
As the tape has become more in vogue, its makers began adding colours, although not purely for style.
"There's all sorts of different colours, but they used to use blue colours for something that was inflamed. Blue was considered cool, it would be like water or be like ice. The red, you might use over something you wanted to stimulate, like you wanted to activate a muscle or get some heat and blood flow to it," says Holmes.
There is also skin coloured and black tape available as well, but its a safe bet with so many Olympians taping up in 2012, it won't be long before a virtual rainbow of colours is on the market.
With greater demand, it's possible the roughly $20 a roll price tag will come down and make the product more accessible for the weekend warrior.
Maybe then you can finally throw that stinky old bandage away, and possibly even be allowed to bring your gym back in to the house.
Read more 2012 Olympic Games articles
» London Blog
- Decoding the closing ceremony Aug 12
- The 'miracle tape' of the 2012 games Aug 12
- Christine Sinclair named flag-bearer Aug 12
- What has 32 golds and the Spice Girls? Aug 11
- Eyes On London Aug 11
- Olympic finish line in sight Aug 10
- Weinberger swims to marathon bronze Aug 10
- Bolt strikes again, and again Aug 9
- Verbeek earns 5th silver for Canada Aug 9
- Canada over France for soccer bronze Aug 9
- Huynh wrestles away bronze medal Aug 8
- Canada paddles to silver, bronze Aug 8
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