These are some things that I have used or use to take care of my body over the years. Some are pretty basic and some are a little more "industrial grade". Feel free to ask me about any of them or even stop by some time if you want to try one of them out before buying them.
The ComforTrac Cervical Traction Device
I absolutely love this device! The ComforTrac Cervical Traction Device allows users to receive the benefits of cervical traction at home in a relaxed setting and position at a 10°, 15°, or 20° angle. A calibrated gauge provides feedback to the user as well as consistency in treatment. Applies up to 50 lbs. of traction (but please be careful and check with your health care provider on how much pressure you should use).
It is designed to offer treatment and management of acute and chronic pain. Revolutionary neck wedges provide optimal suboccipital contact for your comfort, thus eliminating the compression of the TMJ (joint). It is around $310 on Amazon. I have a couple in my treatment room. so if you want to come by and check it out, just let me know :-)
OK, first of all, I need to say that for most of you, tennis balls (or any air filled ball) is not going to do the job. They just compress too much and can not provide a therapeutic level of pressure (in my humble, limited and biased opinion). You need tools that are sturdy and dense to provide the pressure that your muscles and tendons need and your nervous system is craving!
This little ball is perfect for working out the sole and arch of your foot and you can always find at least one of these under my desk. It is around $6 on Amazon and shipping is free for Prime Members. I usually have a couple available at my practice as well.
This is another great tool for taking care of your feet. It is not as portable as the Foot Rubz, but for some people it is a little gentler on the foot because it disperses the pressure more evenly across the foot and it is not as rigid.
The TheraBand Foot Roller helps relieve foot pain, especially plantar fasciitis pain. It is a simple, effective tool that provides temporary relief from the discomfort associated with excessive activity and many common foot conditions. Its ridges deliver a therapeutic foot massage, and its 1.5" diameter shape is ideal for stretching the plantar fascia and toes to increase flexibility. The natural latex material flexes, even when chilled, to conform to the shape of your foot and deliver a custom massage.
I list the Thumbby Soft Massage Cone as Both a Massage Tool and as a Self Care Item. Just stick this baby on the wall and lean in to it and life is good. Really, really good! I have one in my car so I lean back against it or use it on my glutes or hip rotators...it even makes traffic jams better :-)
Here is a nice testimonial: We therapists at Massage Market are not ones to go wild over a product and show blatant favoritism, but we think the Thumbby is probably the most ingenious massage tool ever developed. Not only does it increase the pressure you can exert when performing massage, thereby saving your hands/thumbs, but it is AMAZING at self-care for therapists and clients alike. It sticks to the wall so you can use it to hit your own trigger points, you can sit on it to hit sciatica hot spots, you can safely cross fiber in tender tissue areas as the material is much softer than hard plastic or wood and it is much less likely to bruise the tissue, you can put it point-up on the floor and work your plantar surfaces for a terrific foot massage, you can heat it in hot water or in a moist heat heating pad (not the microwave!) and run it over the body like a hot stone, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! Easy to clean with soap and warm water or an anti-bacterial wipe.
R8 Recovery Roller - Self Massage For Athletes
Get the revolutionary new R8 massage roller and keep your legs fresh, healthy and recovered. The patented technology self adjusts to different leg sizes and targets the quads, hamstrings, IT-bands, gluteus, calfs, shins, hip-flexors and more.
Remember when I said that some of these are industrial grade? Well this baby is defeintely industrial grade...and I love it. So do a lot of the athletes that I work with. The company website is here: www.rollrecovery.com/r8/
Company Information: The ultimate tool for self massage of the neck and shoulders. Specifically targets trigger and pressure points. Easily adjusts to fit different body types. This handy massager bends so you can get at those hard-to-reach places on your back, shoulders and neck. It has two round massaging knobs that can be adjusted according to the area you are trying to treat. Use the strap to help move the massager where you want it. Also good for calves, waist and other places you build tension.
Company Information: Muscle and therapist friendly! This easy-to-use self-massage tool features a foam cover that spins smoothly to deliver a consistent distribution of pressure and help accelerate muscle recovery. Saves fingers and hands from fatigue. Closed-cell, non-porous, zero latex, zero rubber, non-deteriorating foam is easy to clean with an antibacterial gel/spray. Take it anywhere - tiger tails are portable and easy-to-pack. Firm design won't bend! Apply as little or as much pressure as needed.
My Thoughts: These are great for "rolling out" large muscle groups on yourself or on your partner. I would consider them industrial grade and only for the person that wants some pretty deep work. Remember though, just like the foam roller, you can over do things with this tool. If you are grimacing or contracting the muscle because it hurts too much, you are probably doing more harm then good.
Kneading Fingers 2000
I love this machine! The Kneading Fingers by Clark™ has two powerful and unrelenting rotating "thumbs" that deliver incredible pressure to the areas that you need it the most. I have had my 2000 (the older model) for over 6 years and I have used it heavily...it is still going strong.
The new model sells for $200 on Amazon.com which seems a bit pricey, but is the best product of its kind and I have used mine heavily for over 6 years! They do offer a "90 day money back guarantee" as well.
You can find the old model on Ebay sometimes for a decent price ($50 to $60 shipping included) but make sure it is a Clark Kneading Fingers 2000 because there are a lot of knock offs. Also make sure the seller has a high rating (etc.)
The Davinci Tool
This is is another one of those "industrial grade" self-care tools that can help you relieve headache pain and soothe tired, sore muscles. It can help relieve stress, muscle spasms and trigger points. It can also be used quite effectively on the low back, subscap, hip rotators and sole of the feet for plantar fasciitis and just the proverbial tight arch. It has three very different working areas so you can try different approaches to get the relief you are looking for. I would try the "Soft Tool" before the harder version and if you are in the area, you can always stop by my massage practice and check one out for yourself before purchasing on Amazon.
The ArmAid Self Care Massage Tool
This strange looking but beautifully designed device is truly wonderful tool for anyone that has tension in their forearms, like massage therapists and computer jockeys! I use mine all of the time and I absolutely love it. You can adjust the pressure and the hardness of the tool and work at just about any level that you want.
There are several different attachments and it works great on your biceps and triceps as well. There is a lot more information and videos on the company website, so take a look: www.armaid.com