Per recommendation of my physical therapist, I got myself this thing named “The Stick”. In short, it is a massage tool designed by a runner to aid in muscle recovery and massage. Visit the website here.
It is basically what it sounds like; a stick. If you have ever had a massage, you know that getting the good muscle loosening and relaxation comes from pushing and rubbing the muscles. You likely also know that a masseuse will use oils or lotions to help rub the muscles. To make this something you can rub your muscles with and not pull hair or hurt, there are little loops all around it. This allows it to roll across your muscles.
What do you do with The Stick?
You hold the ends, place it on your muscles and push it along in the direction of the muscle while applying some pressure for the massage effects. If you find a knot, you can focus on an area. You can use it with light pressure to help stimulate blood flow and loosen things up, or you can add more pressure to really massage or work out knots. You can even put one end on the floor for leverage for deeper pressure. The nice thing is the simplicity which allows you to use it optimally for what you need.
Why I Use The Stick
Initially I used the stick to help with physical therapy self massage. Now I also use it to massage in a stretching manner. It comes in handy for a number of self massage uses.
For background, prior to my MRI, we tried to solve my knee pain with physical therapy. I did have some muscular imbalance. In particular, I had a tight IT band. I used The Stick to help massage and loosen it. I also quickly learned that I could use it to massage other parts of my body. My two favorites are my back and calves. It does a fantastic job.
I think there are two good ways to use it.
One way is a stimulation massage. You loosen up muscles by rubbing it in-line with muscle fibers in the desired area with light pressure. This was very good for me, particularly in cold weather. By pushing it along 15-20 times with light pressure, it gently stimulates the muscles and feels pretty good.
The other is to use it for massaging out knots and sore spots. The process isn’t that much different than the warm up method, but you add a lot more pressure. By leveraging it off of furniture and other body parts, you can really put some pressure on muscle knots (even ones in your back).
For my rehab from microfracture surgery, it has come in handy to help work out some of the nasty knots that formed from being drugged, clamped and turnicate-ed.
It is not too expensive and can be purchased on-lie or at many running stores.