Thanks for small miracles like the R8

r8Unless you’re an elite runner, chances are, you’ve never heard of the R8. It’s a dynamite new massage tool for athletes made by a company in Boulder where I live. Of course you know I’m no athlete and couldn’t be anything further from it.

If you look at my symptom list, you’ll see I’ve listed my symptoms in order of aggravation – and muscle tightness is right up at the top at number 3. I’ve been living with severe tendinitis since 1999 – almost 15 years – and I spend a lot of time fighting it every day.

Every word of this blog is transcribed by Dragon NaturallySpeaking because I cannot type, I’m so susceptible to repetitive strain injury.

So when my neighbor dropped off his R8 for a few days last month, I was instantly smitten with the device. In fact, I had imagined a similar tool and never got around to making one, although I have invented and made a number of other devices, some of which I still use every day.

At first, I used the R8 on my legs because I’ve been treating a case of upper hamstring tendinopathy for a few months. Right away I noticed the device is fantastic for maintaining pressure on tendon insertion points around the knees and ankles.

The next day I had black and blue marks on my thigh which just told me the device really does the job. I was hoping my neighbor didn’t use his R8, but when I talked to him about it, I found out he has kids who run track and use the device daily so I had to return it.

I went to Roll Recovery and bought my own R8 and had the great pleasure of chatting with the inventor and founder Jeremy Nelson who was really generous with his time. He showed me his prototypes, photo studio and shipping area and this is a great little company. He talked about his philosophy of staying true to the mission of producing high-quality tools, so I don’t think you’ll ever see this gadget at Sports Authority or Target.

That night, at home with my R8, I started using it on my forearms and hands and was so so delighted. Over the years, I’ve developed really good massage and stretching routines for my hands but I only do the massage when I’m in pain — even though I should do it preventatively at least several nights a week. With the R8, I’m now getting that done because I can do it sitting on the couch watching TV. Not only that, but the R8 does some things better than my previous massage routine and allows me to work the triceps and attachments above the elbow, which I could not previously do.

I should also mention that I’m difficult to please. My closets are stuffed with massage tools that I don’t use. I’ve tried a lot of stuff over the last 15 years. I pretty much quit using everything but massage balls and the R8.

The massage I do with the R8 on my feet, hands and arms is probably not what most people would expect – I do a count and hold technique that is an especially good tendonitis treatment (and RSI). The R8 is one of those rare products that far exceeded my expectations. Jeremy, you hold a special place in my heart!

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