Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2013

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ten for today Self-Care Hardware Tools for Working on Your Own Body By Rebecca Jones 1. Align Your Hips The Sacro Wedgy ($29.95, www.sacrowedgy.com) is a soft cradle that can be wedged beneath a person's hips to isolate and elevate the sacrum. As the body relaxes, the hips return to a proper alignment, thereby easing sciatica, as well as leg, low-back, and even shoulder pain. "If you've done 10 massages in a day, you can't tell me you won't be hurting," says Cindy Ballis, president of the Mobile, Alabama, company and daughter of the device's inventor. The Sacro Wedgy replicates the osteopathic technique of supporting the sacrum. 2. Create Cranial Comfort can dramatically decrease the pressure placed on a therapist's thumbs. And when heated, it works even faster. "You can let Thumbby do the difficult work of loosening up someone's muscles," Baer says. But best of all, Thumbby sticks to hard surfaces. So stick it on the wall at the right height, then just turn around and massage your own back. Also based on osteopathic techniques, the CranioCradle ($34.95, www.craniocradle.com) is placed under the head, neck, and body at specific locations to relax tense, tired muscles. "It provides an extra set of hands during a therapy session," says Barb Richmond, CEO of Kiss Life, the device's manufacturer. But it's also something therapists can use themselves between sessions. "It only takes 2–5 minutes for tissues to soften and release," she says. "It's something you can use to de-stress." Richmond says massage therapists are constantly teaching her new ways to use the cradle. "Now we include a guide with it, showing all the ways people have found to use it for themselves and in their practice." 4. 3. Rolling around on a golf ball is great therapy for sore muscles. It's just the right size and shape. But a golf ball can be hard on a therapist's hands, so Heather Karr (www.golfballmassage.com) created a device that holds a golf ball and allows the therapist to control it more easily. She calls it the SPAball Kaddy ($14.99, golf ball included). "Even cooler," she says, "is the KaddyBACK [$12.99]." That's a cloth holder for the SPAball Kaddy that is slung over the shoulder and allows the wearer to perform his or her own trigger point therapy by pushing it against a wall. Preempt Hand Pain Massage therapist Susan Baer says her left thumb used to hurt all the time, so she's now given it early retirement. Instead, she uses Thumbby ($39, www.thumbby.com), a soft, cone-shaped massage tool that feels like a thumb and works like a thumb, but is eight times stronger than a thumb. "I don't know of anything that concentrates force the way this does," says Baer, vice president of the Portland, Oregon, Thumbby Company. Used on a client, the device Get the Points Similar to Thumbby is the Tola Neuromuscular Release System, which offers three differently shaped points that can be used when lying down, seated, or standing to access difficult-to-reach places. The points vary from sharper to flatter contours and can be combined with angled wedges or a rocking base to vary the angle and height of pressure application. The complete set is $39.99 at www.optp.com. 5. Go Golfing www.abmp.com. See what benefits await you. 23

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