Hello, Everyone! For today’s post we’re going to deviate a bit from our regular scheduled massage gun programming and talk a bit about some other massage tools. As you all know, my background is massage and physical therapy. In my practice, I’ve worked with athletes, weekend warriors, and people beginning their athletic journey. In my line of work, there’s always something new. Whether it’s a technique or a tool, athletic trainers and physical therapists pride themselves on their continued learning and development. Well, I thought I would write a post to discuss the tools I used before massage guns came into existence. And, honestly, I still use these tools today. They’re small, portable, and completely silent, making them easy to work with regardless of the setting. 

My two favorite manual massage tools are made by Myofascial Tools and Acuforce. They’re both small handhelds that are perfect for a flush or heavier massage. I’ll walk through each and talk about some of their pros/cons and ideal use cases, starting with the Myofascial Tools IASTM Multipurpose Tool. The IASTM Multipurpose Tool is a small, slender, stainless steel versatile massage tool. It’s designed to easily fit into your hand, making it easy to grip and maneuver. The curved shape and double beveled edge adds to the IASTM Multipurpose Tool’s versatility, allowing you to cater the massage to the needs of your client without having to change tools. One challenge with the IASTM Multipurpose Tool is its manual nature. To effectively use this tool requires precision and focus. After a long day of treatment, it’s unlikely that you’ll provide the same degree of attention and care to your last patient compared to your first. Fortunately, this is when I start using the massage gun. Given the regular, motor powered percussions, the massage gun helps me save my hands and takes out some of the concern around the effectiveness of my treatment. 

The Acuforce Massage Star is another one of my favorite manual massage tools. This tool looks a bit more forgiving than the IASTM Multipurpose Tool, given that it is covered in a skin-like, red coating. Not to be taken lightly, though, the Acuforce Massage Star gets the job done. The tree points on this tool are not unlike the heads of a massage gun in that they’re each specifically designed for a certain use. The wedge performs cross fiber friction and muscle stripping, the widepoint is for reflexology treatment, and the narrow point provides pinpointed trigger therapy. Simply spin the star around depending on the needs of your athlete and get to work! 

One thing to note with both of these manual massage tools is that they should be used in conjunction with a massage cream. Without a cream, these tools can do a number on your skin and simply not glide as freely as necessary. A healthy amount of cream will keep the tool moving along the skin’s surface even when you’re adding some pressure to the mix. 

Both the Myofascial Tools IASTM Multipurpose Tool and Acuforce Massage star are small but mighty manual massage tools that can be tucked away in trainer’s kit. They’re perfect to grab and use for quick treatment when on the go. I would not recommend that an untrained individual uses either of these tools. In the wrong hands, one can do damage to their muscles and have the opposite result than intended. If you’re not a trained therapist but still want to work on yourself, I’d recommend exploring some of my posts about massage guns as they’re better suited for something of this kind.