As a massage therapist, I do lots of chair massage, and this tool, the Gaiam Pressure Point Massager (aka the spiky roller ball gadget), is so amazing, I must write a blog post about it!
I first discovered it when my trainer, Matt Fuhrmann at Tao Health & Fitness, bought one at a local store and brought it into the school. I tried it on myself and was impressed. Those little spiky points seem to activate the sensory nerves in a way that is pleasurable, and almost as a side effect, the muscles it rolls over release tension.
I used it lightly on myself and my chair massage clients until the day after a workout that I handed it to Matt to roll my tight, sore shoulders for me. He used a lot of pressure on my upper traps, shoulders, and upper back, more than I’d ever used on myself or anyone else. The sensations were intense, with that exquisite “hurts-so-good” feeling, and so was the tension release. I felt rushes up and down my whole body!
After that, I started checking in with my chair massage clients about how much pressure felt good to them. I use less pressure on bare skin than I do over clothing, and of course, every body is different, so checking in is critically important to avoid hurting them (in a hurts-so-bad way).
After I roll over an area of bare skin, I can see where the spikes pressed because each spike leaves a temporary white spot where the blood was pressed out of the tissue. The color quickly returns, a sign of freshly oxygenated blood returning to and nourishing the soft tissue cells, at least as I understand the process.
I’m also starting to use it at the beginning of a chair massage instead of the end, because it does so much of the tissue-softening tension-relieving work for me, and I can focus more on problem areas that this tool cannot reach.
The name “Pressure Point Massager” implies it uses acupressure. Of course rolling it across your skin will hit some acupressure points, but it will also hit a lot of areas that aren’t points or on meridians. It probably helps prevent myofascial trigger points from forming. My personal impression is that it primarily works on the nervous and circulatory systems and loosens the fascia.
It doesn’t really matter how it works, but it does work. I wish I could reach through the screen and use it on you!
Click this link to order yourself a Gaiam Pressure Point Massager on Amazon.
Here’s a video by Gaiam. Note that she isn’t using much pressure, and there are spots like the shoulders and arms where you really need someone else to use it on you because you cannot apply enough pressure for it to be effective by yourself.
I recommend that every office and household and gym have one of these on hand, so that people can roll the tensions right out of each other and feel so much better, at work, when they work out, and when they get home.
After all, hardly anyone can get a massage whenever they need one, because of the cost, the time, the travel, the need to book in advance. Even with this tool being used regularly, you will still want to get hands-on bodywork, but this little gadget could leave you in much better shape in between massages.