It comes in an array of colors and patterns and has been spotted on nearly every body part of various Olympians at the London 2012 Olympic games. Kinesio Tex Tape is finding favor among athletes and trainers who believe it cuts down on muscle pain and helps prevent injury. Yet some scientists are skeptical abouts the tape's purported benefits.
Some sports medicine journal studies show the tape to be effective, while others find it makes no difference in sports performance. Certain scientists concede that Kinesio tape could have a placebo effect that lends athletes a mental advantage. Click through to see which Olympians are sporting the tape at the summer games and the creative ways they're using it. James Steacy, a Canadian hammer thrower, wound the tape around his calves and Achilles heels in attractive "V" pattern, but his Olympic rings/Maple leaf tattoo is still visible. A coincidence? We think not.
Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Katrin Holtwick: The Tummy Fan
German beach volleyball player Katrin Holtwick applied French blue Kinesio tape in an eye-catching fan pattern at a practice session held at the Olympic beach volleyball main court at the Horse Guards Parade in London. With tape like that, who needs six-pack abs?
Photo: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters
He Zi: The Spot Treatment
China's He Zi, left, sports vertical stripes of tape on her back and a fetching criss-cross design on her right ankle as she warms up between dives during the women's synchronised three-meter springboard final. Both he and Wu Minxia, right, won gold at the event, held at the London Aquatics Centre.
Although some Kinesio taping methods may look random, the company's Web site says there is a specific method that should be used to apply the tape. Seminars teach people how to become Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioners.
Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters
Nat Cook: The Layered Look
Australia's muscular Nat Cook celebrates a point during a preliminary round beach volleyball match against Austria. Cook layered bright yellow tape across her left forearm and elbow for a quasi-warrior look.
Physical therapists have used tape for years to help patients recover from injuries and reduce inflammation.
Photo: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters
Sara Goller: Pretty in Pink
The legs of German beach volleyball player Sara Goller, right, get some hydration during a match. Goller's hydrangea pink tape cascades down her left thigh, and evidence of more tape is seen on her left hip. Perhaps teammate Laura Ludwig's gams, left, feel underdressed?
"I don't really mind the color, it's more about what it does." Goller told the U.K.'s Daily Mail. It can release or put tension on a muscle, it depends on what you want. Our physio is really good at doing it."
Photo: Marcelo Del Pozo/Reuters
Laura Ludwig: Twinsies
Apparently Germany's Laura Ludwig had no reason to be jealous of teammate Sara Goller's pink tape, since she has a matching set of blue stripes on her stomach. Ludwig was spotted with the tape during a preliminary beach volleyball match against Brazil. The question on everyone's mind: Which one wore it better?
Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Sanne Keizer: The One-Shoulder Look
Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands chose a pretty abstract print for a splash of whimsy on one shoulder. Keizer wore the tape during a preliminary round beach volleyball match against Argentina's Maria Virginia Zonta and Ana Gallay.
TheNew York Timesreported that Kinesio donated 50,000 rolls of tape to 58 countries competing in the London Olympic games. Other athletes who have been seen wearing it include cyclist Lance Armstrong and soccer star David Beckham.