10 August, 2012
If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may have noticed that athletes are covering themselves with something called “kinesio tape.” It’s brightly-colored strips of elastic tape that were developed in Japan by acupuncturists. As you might expect, it does nothing.
Yes, I know I’m blowing your mind here, but putting tape on your skin does not increase muscular strength, speed healing, decrease the sensation of pain, or increase range of motion. There have been dozens of clinical studies since this tape came out in the 1980s, and none of them have shown medium- or long-term benefits in any of these applications. (Small, short-term benefits are ascribed to the placebo effect.)
If you’ve been selected to represent your country in a worldwide athletic event, maybe that little bit of placebo will help your mindset and get you to lift that last kilogram or make it across the finish line faster. But if you’re a regular human being, covering your stupid ankle up with bright-blue Japanese mental-tape before you walk on the treadmill for twenty minutes isn’t going to do anything for you.
And beside that, now that you know kinesio tape doesn’t work, you won’t get a placebo effect from using it. Sorry!