The Stinger: Ice Meets Massage

My birthday was this past week (yay happy birthday to me!)  I was pleasantly surprised to have The Stinger by Recoup Fitness show up for me on my birthday.  This tiny UFO looking contraption boasts that it provides myofascial release and cryotherapy all in one little package.

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The Stinger

Massages and ice have been included in recovery regimes for a long while now.  But why do we do them?

Active.com had an article that states

“Runners should complete self-myofascial release…to keep their structural integrity intact.  Massaging overactive soft tissue will reduce any inflammation in your muscles…”

For ice massage, WebMD explains the benefits of Ice Massage as a quick and easy way to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation.

When I strained my calves last year, I iced and foam rolled to try and decrease the swelling and promote blood flow to the area to boost healing.  Both times I strained my calves was a few weeks before race day, and I was desperate to try all methods to reduce healing time.  I had the ice pack, and the foam roller and I think they both absolutely helped me so I was back to 100% by race day.

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Left to Right – Trigger Point Grid 2.0 Foam Roller, Pro-Tec Travel Foam Roller, 21 oz Camelbak water bottle, The Stinger

So back to The Stinger.  One thing I love immediately about this product is it’s size.  It is small and fits in your hand easily.  Even my travel size foam roller is big.  So I love the small size.  Even though The Stinger is small, it gives a good massage!  Since it is a steel ball, the material does not flex as much as a foam roller would, so when you want a deep massage, you get it.  Of course you can adjust the pressure you put on the focus area,  but if you were to use your body weight like you would on a foam roller, expect the massage to go deep.

The Stinger is versatile also.  You can use it as a hand roller by grabbing the rubber bottom.  This can provide a nice deep smooth rolling massage for yourself or you can massage a friend also!  You can also remove the steel ball and roll on your back/leg/arm wherever to get a smooth deep massage.

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For the ice massage, just pop The Stinger in the freezer for 2 hours, and you will have a no-mess ice cup massage for up to 6 hours of cold.  The Stinger has a gel inside the steel ball that keeps the ball ice and cold.  My wife and I used the frozen Stinger the other night and after an hour of off and on icing, my wife couldn’t believe how cold The Stinger still was.

Some areas where I didn’t love The Stinger.  Laying your back on a sturdy foam roller and slowly rolling back and forth feels so good.  It’s difficult to get the same type of massage with The Stinger.  Yes you can get a nice deep spot massage, but even lying on The Stinger and rolling wasn’t the smoothest process.  Individually, massage and icing aspects of The Stinger are pretty good.  I’m not completely sold yet on the combination of the two for a deep tissue ice massage.  In my non scientific mind, deep tissue massage increases blood flow to the area, where icing reduces blood flow to an area to reduce swelling.  Performing an action that increases blood flow and reduces it seems counter-productive.  From The Stinger’s website here is what they have to say about the combination of the two.

“The Stinger by Recoup Fitness provides all the benefits of a traditional Self Myofacial Release (foam rolling) in combination with Cryotherapy (Ice Massage).  These two forms of muscle therapy help to decrease inflammation, aid in post workout recovery, and allow specific treatment for areas in need.

By applying the cold steel surface of the stinger the muscle will release metabolic waste products and toxins which become build up in the muscle after exercising.  In addition, Self Myofacial Release impacts the Golgi Tendon Organs and allows the muscle to relax.  Once the muscle is relaxed the cold aspect of The Stinger allows for a decrease in inflammation.

The Stinger’s unique combination of Self Myofacial Release and Cryotherapy allows for the body to recover faster and decrease the potential for injury.  The Stinger has application for many major injuries active people face such as Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints, Tennis/Golf Elbow and other overuse injuries.”

-Rob Van Valkenburgh

Director of NFL Combine Prep/ D1 Head Trainer / Assistant Athlete Director at Purdue

 Sounds pretty cool if all of that goes on especially since in my opinion that combination effect is a bonus to the product.

Overall, the product is useful, easy to travel with, and effective.  If you’re in the market for a true travel size massager or your first self massager this is a great option!  Check out their website here!

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