Small patch that packs a massive punch! by Jan Ham

Long gone are the days where trail runners were so taped up that they’d look more comfortable on a rugby field than a technical trail? You might have spotted some of SA’s top trail runners like Christiaan & Landie Greyling, Megan MacKenzie & Kane Reilly running around with little colourful plasters/patches on strategic places over their legs and bodies. This little patch however is the latest technology in injury prevention, rehabilitation, pain relief and muscle activation.



Active Patch 4U was created by Arnaud Tortel in conjunction with Jacques Casper. Tortel, a renowned polar explorer was always on the lookout for the latest, most high-tech & lightweight materials for his journeys, and was asked to test a new sleeping bag by a manufacturer. After 4 weeks testing he didn’t find anything astonishing concerning heat differences, but he did discover many other changes for example improved blood circulation, better recovery, increased energy etc…

He decided to meet up with the inventor of the membrane used in the sleeping bag, Casper, who explained its energy producing properties due to the reflection of the body’s infrareds. Thanks to his knowledge of Chinese acupuncture, Tortel assumed that this membrane, by returning the energy, also returns pieces of information to the cells, allowing them to repair themselves more efficiently. The two decided to collaborate and develop a more efficient membrane.

They spend four years researching the product — fine-tuning the membrane’s size and concentration to achieve optimal results on the stimulation of energetic points. Eventually active carbon was added to enhance the technical nature of the membrane. The quantities of the metal oxides mixture are altered to improve the transmission of information to the cells.


Salomon International Elite Killian Jornet is a big believer and user of Active Patch 4U.

Quick Technology Summary:

Active Patch 4U is constructed of breathable and permeable foam sandwiched between a breathable nylon mesh and a black polyurethane membrane.

Each patch contains a specific quantity of more than 20 different, finely ground, metal oxides and rare minerals.


Its black colour comes from the presence of organic coal. This increases the patches’ potential to radiate heat and increases the effectiveness. The black foam substance works as a mirror that reflects part of the infrared energy produced by the body. The heat producing infrared rays are not reflected. Only infrared energy is reflected to the cells and has exactly the same wavelengths as the human body, therefore the cells can use this energy instantly. Each patch absorbs and returns 95% of the energy it receives.

Modes of Action:

Active Patch 4U is a well-being product which works by stimulating specific energy points of individual.

Prevention: Applying Active Patch 4U to a known problem-area will help strengthen it. It also limits the chance for a recurrence of the problem associated with that area.

Comfort: Applying Active Patch 4U will help treat, stimulate and relax the problem-area.

Post-treatment: Active Patch 4U contributes to a general energetic well-being along with treating a specific area. However, these patches are not aimed at treating illness.

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Christiaan & Landie Greyling during the 2015 Gore-Tex Transalpine stage race.

Okay, so it works for the elites, will it work for me?

I started the year off with all the right intention of training every day making it my best year yet. Well, that lasted all of 5 days, as upon returning from holiday I tweaked something in my lower back and was man down for 3 days, struggling to move around the house, not to mention trying to turn around in bed.

I went to go see sport therapist & renowned trail runner herself Ronel Nattrass. Ronel did a quick assessment, put a couple of patches on my lower back & on certain trigger points, and a day later I was back in the mountain running, albeit it only 5km, but it was a start. Eventually the patch came loose through everyday wear & tear, sweat from training & swimming, but it held for 10 days at least. The back issue was however still flaring up occasionally afterwards and having signed up for the 3 day Tankwa Trail run mid February, I was in heaps of trouble. 3 days before the event I went back to Ronel, patched me up again, and I ran 3 days and nearly 90km pain free through some of the most beautiful vistas this country has to offer. *

My honest opinion, Active Patch 4U works! That said, it is not a miracle fix. It can help in injury prevention, comfort & in post injury treatment; it will however not cure your injury magically!

So give it a go next time you feel a niggle coming along! You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll be out running comfortably again.

For all the technical jargon visit or

Available 2 buy online or for a list of trained therapist go to:

*I recently went to see a Spinal Orthopaedic Surgeon as the pain in my lower back is a reoccurring issue, and after the initial bout of pain & anti-inflammatory meds the pain returned. MRI results have shown that I have a L5/S1 annular tear in the disk, something I’ve been running with since the start of the year. The end result as it stands now is that I’m not allowed to run for the next 6-8 weeks, but the fact that I have been able to run various races up to now with the help of Active Patch 4U proofs as testimony that it does help in the treatment, pain reduction & stimulation of affected areas, and it will definitely form part of my recovery process.

Article written by: Jan Ham

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