Painful and sore muscles can really take a toll on your body and it’s not surprising that all types and styles of self massage tools have sprung up. Whether it’s your back, neck, legs, or feet that need most attention, there’s a self massage product that can help your body recover quickly.
Adding a daily routine of self-repair using self massage will optimize muscle recovery.
The Best Self Massage Products For Muscle Recovery
1. Massage Sticks
Massage sticks are typically designed to replicate a swedish and deep tissue massage on a wide variety of body parts. Most are designed with a specific purpose.
Finding the correct massage stick can make a huge difference. The correct diameter, curves, and points can give you a more effective massage treatment. The TP BuddieRx is anatomically designed after the human body. Good features to have are a small size, handles to hold, and a design that makes it easy to target trigger points and apply the correct amount of pressure. Being able to generate the right amount of leverage with minimum effort is important during recovery. A tool that can be used laying down, sitting, or standing positions also makes a big impact. Being able to relax and do self massage in a seated position permits the mind-body to connect better. Not to mention, if you are injured or elderly, a smaller product is best to use.
Popular larger massage sticks are good at getting trigger points in the deep back, like the erectors, and rhomboids but after a few uses, issues with storage and lugging it out everyday will hamper daily usage and is something to consider.
To use first know which muscle group you are targeting. This will determine which hand grip to use and how to hold it for best leverage. Massage sticks are versatile for relieving pain in the deep back to the shin, inner thighs, arms and front and back side of your legs. Because of the precision and control, even trickier bony areas such as spots around your neck, shoulder and hip regions can be treated by experienced users.
2. Rolling Pins
Rolling pins are comprised of a rolling massage section sandwiched in between rubber handles at each end for easy gripping. Some have different massage designs to simulate massage types, or are just a flat-plain rolling pin type of design. This self massage tool is better for those who want more control to massage the hamstrings, calf muscles, quads as well as IT band with greater precision.
You can grip both ends of the rolling pin firmly with your hands and move the tool up and down as well as sideways along the entire length of your muscles. Unlike the foam roller, there is more control with this massage tool. You can easily pause on trigger points. Applying pressure will take more effort on your end and feel less relaxing with this type of product.
3. Lacrosse, Tennis, and Golf Balls
Lacrosse, tennis, and golf balls are cheap and abundant alternatives. Because the balls vary in density, and you are using the force of gravity to assist you, you can end up applying to much pressure and doing more damage than therapy. Many times you are using the lacrosse ball on the floor, so laying on the lacrosse ball can exceed the amount of pressure needed by the trigger point. Mostly used by beginners to more advance myofascial professionals.
To use, take your finger to feel for the sore spot on your body and lay the lacrosse ball right under the painful spot and slowly release onto the ball. If you found the exact trigger point, then lay there for 3-5 seconds if the trigger point is very tender. Slowly lay on-and-off it and as the pain dissipates you can either use your body to roll the ball side-to-side, or up-and-down like a massage. You can use a tennis ball for loosening up the muscles along the bottom of your feet. The big downside of using balls is the hit or miss of applying the correct amount of pressure when using this self massage tool.
4. Foam Rollers
Foam rollers are best for beginners, it covers a large area of the body such as the back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. It does not require any specialized knowledge or understanding of muscles – just start rolling on your sore muscles.
Start by laying the foam roller next to you as you are sitting on the floor and position the foam roller under the sore muscle group ,and then slowly move the roller along the entire length of the muscle group. The key to this shot-gun approach is easing into it and not going too hard. You will activate trigger points and feel many sore spots at once. Over time, there will be less stress from those sore spots.
Don’t try to target a specific spot, or expect to treat all your pain away in one foam rolling session (it will take many).
Useful Self Massage Product Tips
- Use the lacrosse ball while sitting on a firm stool/chair to release the hamstrings.
- Use the foam roller vertically so it aligns adjacent to the spine and work the rhombs and erectors. Advanced level because of balance and knowledge required to do correctly.
- Use a massage stick to massage the top of the trapezius muscle. A smaller diameter digs deeper.
Be smart and don’t over do it. Instead try again tomorrow.
Investing in self massage tools is a smart idea since the cost of getting a massage by a professional is around $45-$120. You don’t even have to get rid of your therapist, just complement your current sessions with self massage tool that best suits your needs. Who knows, you will find yourself needing less professional massages once you understand your body better.