Kinesio Taping is Fashionable, But Does It Work?

You’ve seen it on Kerry Walsh’s shoulder as well as the butts, abs, thighs and other body parts of other Olympic athletes. Many professional athletes use it too including Lance Armstrong, David Beckham and Serena Williams.

But does Dr. Kenzo Kase‘s “magic tape” really work or are perceived benefits just a psychological crutch due to the Placebo Effect? Dr. Kase (pictured left) is a Japanese chiropractor who invented the tape in the 1970s and says it works for animals too — he has treated his chihuahua with it and also a flamingo’s knees.

But, according to medical journals, there is very little evidence that the Kinesio Tape has any effect at all, except on peoples’ minds. Athletes are role models and, when they start using a particular product, imitation and peer pressure lead to widespread mimicking by others.

Kinesio Tape is available without a prescription. But based on the scientific evidence, we can only recommend it as a fashion accessory.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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