Is it a tattoo? Is it some sort of good luck charm?
No, it's Kinesio Tex Tape, and it has made quite an impression throughout the world thanks to its presence at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Even though Kinesio tape has been around for years, the Olympics served as a "coming out party" for the rehabilitation tool that so many have come to know and love. During the Games the tape was seen everywhere from the sand, to the track, and even in the pool.
Kinesio Tape is breathable, water-proof, and does not limit an athlete's range of movement.
What does it do? Short answer - "almost anything."
Problem #1: weak muscle tissue not firing properly
Solution: Kinesio tape will facilitate the action of that muscle tissue
Example: weak Rhomboids allow the Scapula to 'wing out' causing improper shoulder alignment. K tape facilitates Rhomboids to pull the Scapula back in place.
Problem #2: tight muscle or connective tissue not able to let go
Solution: Kinesio tape will inhibit the action of that tissue and allow it to stay relaxed.
Example: overacting tight hip flexors don't allow normal leg extension in running. Kinesio tape relaxes the shortened hip flexors so the hip extensors can start to engage.
Problem #3: tissue tear
Solution: Kinesio tape provides stability to the injured site and prevents further damage.
Example: Torn Achilles tendon - K tape 'lifts' the site of the tear and prevents the torn tissues from extending beyond their length.
Problem #4: edema, swelling due to trauma or overuse
Solution: K tape provides lymphatic tissue drainage to speed up tissue recovery.
Kinesio Taping Practitioners:
Slava Kolpakov, LMT; - East West Massage Newton, MA
Taylor Lacerte, LMT - East West Massage Cambridge, MA