Imagine all of a sudden, that you’re wife/husband/partner is a trained massage therapist. Anytime your neck is a little sore, they can work it out for you. Anytime your calves or quads are sore from a hike, hard workout, or even a night out dancing, they can get in there. It would be nice wouldn’t it?
Now, imagine that they only charged a one-time fee of $29.99 and you had them to work on you for the rest of your life, as long as they don’t leave you.
Well the solution is here, it’s a trigger point massage stick. That’s the part we can help you out with; you’ll have to convince your significant other to use it on you. But you can also use it on them too, so it’s a win-win!
It could also be used as a weapon in case someone breaks into your house, or even a pretend sword or wand when playing with your kids. Talk about versatility!
We’ve previously written several articles on the benefits of learning to perform your own soft tissue work. We have talked about and demonstrated how to use a foam roller, massage ball, and now the trigger point massage stick.
Save Yourself Some Money
With these three pieces of equipment, you can target almost every major muscle group in your entire body. As for how much this would cost you:
- A decent foam roller will run you $50.00(CAD).
- A Massage ball (we recommend one on a rope) will run you about $30.00(CAD)
- A massage stick will also cost you about $30.00(CAD)
You may be able to find these items even cheaper, if you are a good bargain hunter. We have even seen little kits that come with all three of these for less than what we listed above.
We have listed these items, because they are what we use with ourselves and clients, or very similar to what we use. They are effective and have lasted for a very long time.
For a total of $110.00(CAD), you have yourself an in-home massage therapy clinic that you will have forever, all for the price of approximately one actual massage. I’m not knocking massage therapists; they can do great work, if you can afford it and/or have really good insurance.
Get Through Injuries Faster
Now if you have an injury, from say a car accident, and receive massage therapy on a regular basis, anyone or all of these pieces of self-massage equipment can be a great supplement to the work your therapist does. With a bit of help from our instructional videos, you can aide and accelerate the recovery process of your injury.
If Massage Therapy wasn’t so beneficial, they wouldn’t make exercise equipment that mimics what they do. Not to mention, you don’t need an appointment. If you own any or all of the pieces listed above, you can do something to help with sore muscles or an injury whenever you need to.
Save Your Body
Some other benefits of the massage stick are that they are easier to use for some people on certain muscles than a foam roller is. If you are a little weak through your upper body, have an injury that makes it difficult to hold yourself up, or have extra weight on that makes it difficult to move fluidly on a foam roller, than the stick can really be the best tool for the job.
The massage stick is best used on the following muscles:
- Calves/lower leg
- Hamstrings/back of thighs
- Quads/front of thighs
- Lower back (although a massage ball is easier again)
- Upper Traps (need assistance)
- Posterior Neck
- Forearms (Need assistance)
As you can see, a massage stick can be used on a lot of the same muscles as a foam roller. Even if you can use a foam roller easily, sometimes switching it up to use a massage stick can help you be a little more specific on the targeted muscle.
Due to the small diameter of a massage stick, minimal pressure is needed to feel the discomfort on a knot/trigger point or sore section of a muscle.
What’s a Trigger Point?
We gave a basic explanation of a trigger point/knot in our post about foam rolling (or massage ball). It’s essentially a small area of localized tension in a muscle that literally feels like a small knot in the muscle.
If you have ever had a massage, this has most likely been explained to you. But if you haven’t, hopefully this little explanation gives you an idea of what they are. They can be caused by injuries, overuse/underuse of a muscle, as well as poor posture, and of course, stress.
As we have mentioned in the other posts about soft tissue work, when we have a muscle that feels tight or sore, the natural inclination is to stretch it. Doing this won’t necessarily hurt you, but if you have a knot/trigger point in the muscle, you won’t get the same benefit without first trying to do a little soft tissue work on it.
Picture an elastic band with a knot tied in it. You can pull on the ends of the elastic all you want, but nothing will happen to the knot. You will create more tension around it, and it will get tighter.
Now if you untie the knot (this would be analogous to rolling out a sore muscle), the elastic will stretch more evenly. The same applies to a muscle. Once a knot is relieved a little through soft tissue work, it can stretch more evenly, allowing you to gain better flexibility in that muscle, as well as better mobility at the joint or joints that muscle is involved with.
How to Use a Trigger Point Massage Stick
Now let’s get to the fun stuff, how to use a massage stick. We will break the instructional videos down the same way we did with our foam rolling videos. We start at the bottom of the body and work our way up.
Using a foam roller on the calves can be a little tough on the arms, even if you are experiences using one. The massage stick makes it nice and easy, and also allows you to work on the front of the lower leg as well, something that’s just a little too awkward with a foam roller.
One of the muscles on the anterior aspect of the lower leg, the tibialis anterior, plays a big role in shin splints. Constant tension can get built up in the TA muscle from excessive heal to toe running, which can cause microscopic tears to it’s attachment along the tibia (the main bone in your shin).
Here’s how to hit all aspects of the lower leg using the stick.
The hamstrings are another muscle that can be challenging on the arms to foam roll. The stick, once again makes things a little easier, and you can sit in a relaxed position and work on them. Just remember the importance of keeping the muscle relaxed as you work on it.