What it is: Kinesiology tape is an elestic tape that is usually applied by a therapist. It is long-wearing and is worn for perceived healing, pain relief, and support benefits.
Who uses it: U.S. beach volleyball Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings, U.S. Olympian marathoner Meb Keflezighi, and NBA star/U.S. basketball Olympian James Harden are all brand ambassadors for KT Tape, a kinesiology tape brand.
The science: A 2014 meta-analysis found that kinesio taping provided better pain relief than minimal intervention, but did not find evidence of superiority over other treatments. Another 2014 meta-analysis found little evidence of any impact of tape application on muscle strength. A double-blinded randomized clinical trial of young patients with rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement published in 2008 found that the tape may help "improve pain-free active range of motion immediately after tape application for patients with shoulder pain," but was no more effective in reducing pain or disability over time than sham taping.
The testimonial: Walsh Jennings describes it as an essential part of her training and competition. "Whether I have a competition application where it's supporting my shoulder, where it's activating certain muscles or deactivating certain muscles so other muscles can take over, I feel fully supported . . . I don't have time to mess around with stuff that doesn't work. KT Tape works," she said in a video on the KT Tape website.
[Image courtesy of AMBRO/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET]
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