Olympic Treatment Tricks - Can They Work For You? Featured

Sunday, 21 August 2016 08:04 Written by  Published in Health Read 927 times
Olympic Treatment Tricks - Can They Work For You? Getty Images
With millions of Canadians having tuned in to the Rio Olympics, many have seen their favorite athletes covered in bright coloured tape or covered in welts that resemble circular bruises as seen on American swimmer, Michael Phelps.

This often brings with it questions on what athletes are doing to maintain a competitive edge and can these procedures or techniques be used by amateur athletes looking to improve their game.

The tape that you see athletes wearing is often referred to as sports tape or kinesiology tape. This tape is made up of cotton fibers with polymer elastic strands woven throughout. It is pliable and allows for a full range of motion. Although there aren’t any huge medical studies outlining how taping actually works, many clinicians have found numerous benefits of taping, amongst their patients. Some of the benefits include:

Providing structural or muscle support, which helps to reduce muscle fatigue.

Correcting postural problems to allow for better form.

Increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage which helps to eliminate swelling and promote healing.

When the tape is applied correctly, it achieves the last of these effects by lifting the skin to create a small space between the muscle and dermis layers. That space takes the pressure off swelling or injured muscles, allows smooth muscle movement and makes space for drainage and blood flow.

Surprisingly, athletes don’t actually feel the tape when it’s applied correctly. They are able to perform the required movement patterns naturally without feeling any restriction from the tape.

So what’s up with all the welts on Michael Phelps? Those marks are from the ancient therapy of cupping. Cupping involves the use of cylinders referred to as ‘cups’ made of glass, plastic or bamboo. With the use of heat or a small air pump, a vacuum is created which suctions the skin into the cup, ultimately creating space between the skin, the muscle and the fascia (a wrapping around the muscle). This space allows for increased blood flow into the region thereby promoting circulation and healing. It is the increased blood flow under the skin that creates the bruising that often appears after treatment. Cupping itself is not painful, and athletes will often report feeling pressure similar to that of a deep tissue massage. Some of the reported benefits include:

Muscle relaxation

Stress reduction

Quicker recovery from muscle fatigue

Reduction in swelling

Pain relief

Although these therapies do offer significant benefit to athletes, they won’t lead you to Olympic gold overnight. If you’re a weekend warrior or elite athlete in your own mind, consider these therapies as tools to help you with muscle fatigue and recovery.

Last modified on Sunday, 21 August 2016 08:18
Dr Nekessa Remy

Dr. Nekessa S. Remy is a leading health and wellness professional & expert with a passion for enabling others to be their own health champions. Her philosophy stems from her believe that healthy living is a RIGHT and not a privilege. Through her blogs, website and seminars, Dr. Remy uses her knowledge and experience to educate others on how to become their own health advocates.

With 15 years experience in the rehabilitation field Dr. Nekessa S. Remy has developed an approach to injury management that is based on current research and patient education. Her passion for health and rehabilitation lead her to earning an Honors Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario followed by a Doctorate of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. She also holds certificates in Medical Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture.

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