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Today in Mysterious Athletic Tape: Now It's for Horses Too

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Debate continues to rage over the effectiveness of Kinesio Tape, the colorful substance so many London Olympians, Tour de France cyclists, and other super-people are swearing by to reduce pain from sports injuries. Like soccer's mystery spray, the rash-like stuff seems to pop up everywhere, and has received significant press attention and a lot of skepticism. The athletes, who just want to win, don't seem to care about the polemic, and plenty seem to think the tape helps. It's started to show up on horses.

What's less understood is how it became so omnipresent. "Kiniseo Taping" is a registered trademark—rather than just a term for a medical therapy (like, "massage" or "stretching" are). The New Mexico-based Kiniseo Taping Association International offers seminars in applying the tape, upon completion of which one becomes a "Certified Kiniseo Taping Practitioner." The association's introductory video is here. It claims the tape works by "lifting the skin" to improve circulation, before going on to boast that the tape is a hundred percent cotton and comes in a range of colors.

The debate remains open. A possible test: When Allyson Felix starts using the stuff, it's probably real.