Tired legs and sore feet are often an unavoidable toll that we pay when we go out for long days in the backcountry. The Stick and The Foot Wheel from SeaBend Health Products are tools that apparently can help keep our muscles in good health so that we can go further and higher.
The Stick, sometimes called the The Massage Stick, or The Intracell Stick was originally developed as a muscle treatment tool for physiotherapist, but quickly found its way to long distance runners and cyclists for self massage. Now it has found its way to backcounty skiing, the concept is pretty simple - you just “Roll out” your sore muscles after a day of skiing with the Stick and it helps disperse lactic acid and stretch the Myofacia giving similar benefits of massage and speeding muscle recovery.
There are 9 different models of The Stick that are different combinations of length and rigidity. SeaBend Health Products gave us two models to try The Original Body Stick and The Travel Stick. The Original Body Stick is billed as the most versatile, it is medium length and rigidity. I really liked using The Stick although it isn’t really a nice feeling as when you are rolling this across your quads after a day of touring but it really does seem to make a difference in turns of limiting sore muscles the following day. I also found The Stick very effective for stretching my IT band before and after skiing which helped limit the shooting pain coming from my knee that I sometimes experience on steep climbs. The Original Body Stick was long enough and flexible enough that I could use it to massage my own traps, which is nice after carrying a heavy pack (people with limited rage of motion in their arms might not be able to do this). The Travel Stick works on the exact same principle as the Original Body Stick the only difference is the Travel Stick is quite a bit shorter, so that it is more portable. You can’t use it for your back but it still works well for legs and arms. I added it to my pack for a hut trip, and certainly did not regret it. After a 11km slog in – most of it through a relatively flat power line corridor. The Travel Stick was well used for massaging sore legs by my hut mates. It was worth carrying the extra 350 grams just for the entertainment from innuendo and jokes about rubbing people with my Stick.
The Foot Wheel, like The Stick is designed to break up the micro knots in muscles that make them sore and less efficient. The three nylon wheels on the Foot Wheel are lined up to target and release the plantar facia (muscles in the bottom of your feet). Rolling my feet on the Foot Wheel after a day in ski boots was excruciating for about 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of discomfort, followed by a minute or two of “this feels pretty good” by then most of the stiffness in my foot was gone.
These are very simple tools that work on a fairly simple principle to make your muscles feel better. Obviously there are no substitutes for stretching or the work of a massage therapist, but The Stick and The Foot Wheel work very well and you can use them while you watch tv (or your 30 min of unedited helmet cam footage from the day)
Original Body Stick
Length: 61cm (24”)
Length: 43cm (17”)
The Foot Wheel
Length: 13cm (4”)
(Specs of the other 7 Stick models on the SeaBend Health Products Website)
Lightweight, waterproof, bomber - Can be used to stretch areas hard to stretch (ex. IT bands)
Can be painful on very sore muscles
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.