Stickin' it to the (wo)Man
At Christmas, my Aunt and Uncle got me a gift card to Amazon, and even though I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for, I hung on to it for a long time. I don't really have a reason why I did, I just did. You know, one of those things. About a month ago, I finally placed an order for an item I'd been coveting for (literally) years: the Stick.
I first heard of the Stick in 2007 or possibly earlier, although I think I was probably training for my first marathon so 2007 seems right. It wasn't until 2008 that I actually got to try one out, though. The Stick that I bought (the same one is pictured above) is 27.5 inches long, and as you can see in the image, has a handle on either end. Taking an end in each hand, you roll the middle part of the Stick up and down your muscles--the effect is intense and feels a bit like a deep tissue massage (or at least what I remember a deep tissue massage feeling like. I haven't had one in many, many years), and is intended to increase circulation and help prevent lactic acid build-up and, consequently, muscle soreness.
Since becoming a proud owner of the Stick, I have gushed about it so enthusiastically that I have been teased by co-workers. Any time Nat mentions that a muscle aches, I propose a solution: "You should try the Stick!" He always sort of gives me a sidelong glance and ignores me. But it's true, he should try the Stick. I can't help it if I'm starting to sound like the father in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", trying to talk everyone into putting Windex on everything. I love the Stick. I could be a spokesperson for that thing. Honestly, nothing feels better than getting back from a run and rolling out your muscles with the Stick.
Over the past year or so, foam rollers have gained a lot of popularity, and I know that many people who use them swear by them. They have a number of uses, one of which is the sort of self-massage that can be performed with the Stick. I've never used a foam roller, so I don't have any basis on which to compare one with the Stick, but I can say that as a New Yorker, I'm always thinking about the fact that space comes at a premium, and I just don't have anywhere to keep a foam roller. I'm also not sure I have room to comfortably use one. The version of the Stick that I have is sufficiently small that I could throw it in my suitcase if I were to go away for the weekend, and it takes up very little room in my apartment. Because I can use it standing up, I don't need to worry about having floor space before I start using it. If you hadn't already guessed, I am thrilled with it, and so happy I bought it. If you're considering a post-workout self-massage tool, I recommend giving the Stick a try.