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Thursday, 5th July 2012
In Japan Sports News,

Superstar athletes sport Japanese doctor's coloured tape

If you have been watching any sporting events recently, from Euro 2012 to Wimbledon, you may have noticed international sports stars wearing a strange coloured tape on their bodies.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was caught with the tape plastered to his service arm, while Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was also spotted with it on his neck, but what is it?

A report by the BBC has revealed that the sticky stuff in question is actually called Kinesio Tape and it was invented by Dr Kenzo Kase in Japan around 30 years ago.

Far from being a new trend, Kinesio Tape has been in existence since the 1970s and proponents say that it can improve performance and help injuries heal faster.

Dr Kase invented the tape as an alternative to other, more restrictive versions, and he says that it works by raising the skin to aid lymphatic flow and help minimise pain and swelling.

However, while many big-name stars are turning to the tape, there is actually very little evidence to support the supposed benefits and Dr Kase acknowledges that more research is needed.

"We have many people researching but the society of Kinesio taping therapy itself - the International Kinesio Taping Association - is only five years old," he told the news provider.

"We need more evidence. We do not have research reports. Part of the reason people are using Kinesio tape is to find the science."

Some argue that without any real scientific evidence to show the tape's benefits it is more likely to be a case of the placebo effect and John Brewer, a professor of sports at the University of Bedfordshire, is one such opponent.

Without any real data to prove its effectiveness he is reluctant to accept its merits, particularly when "there is little that you can put on the skin that will have a real benefit for the muscles that lie deep beneath".

Regardless of this, there is little doubting its popularity – although Tottenham Hotspur and Wales winger Gareth Bale obviously questioned its benefits after deciding to stop using it on his arms and legs last season.

Written by Susan Ballion