Massage Guns: Are They Worthy of the Hype?

I am incredibly frugal, possibly a full blown cheapskate. Despite the expense, I used to get deep tissue massages on a regular basis. It helped a great deal with my pain and reduced my muscle spasms. Since I can no longer stand after my last pregnancy, I can’t get on the table without assistance. My husband has positioned me a few times, but it was rather awkward for the massage therapist.

I have been looking for an alternative, but it’s harder than I thought it would be. The first problem is that most things that are labeled “massagers” are actually “marital aids”. There’s nothing wrong with those, but I am already well stocked in that department. Others were weak and practically useless. Some were dangerous for someone with limited sensation. In particular, the shiatsu style mats can dig into sensitive areas like the spine or pinch nerves.

I have read rave reviews about the new massage guns, but I was concerned about the price. I found a very good deal, but for the regular price of this one I could buy four mid range massagers. Could it really be worth it? I’m thrilled to report that it is.

Even before I used it, I was impressed by the case. It’s an expensive piece of equipment so I like that the designers recognized right away that it needed a case. It’s handy for keeping the attachments and charger together, but it is also well cushioned. On the off chance that you drop it, it will be as good as new. I think the case is a must if you plan to travel with it.

It comes with 5 different attachments and they all have a specific purpose. My husband’s favorite is the 2 pronged one that is designed to go down the spinal column. It’s not appropriate for me around and below my injury level, but most people would not have this problem.

This accordion looking attachment is my favorite. The bouncy texture of the silicone seems to cushion the gun a bit more than the other ones. I found it particularly helpful in areas that I couldn’t see like my lower back (hypermoblity comes in handy sometimes, but it still doesn’t give me eyes in the back of my head). It also ensured that it wasn’t too intense on areas that I couldn’t feel.

This firm, yet not too dense ball is amazing on large muscle groups. The percussion action gets into the deep muscles like the many layers of the glutes.

The flat headed attachment works well on any area except the spine. It would be nice for an allover massage or on a lower setting, it would be perfect for a light vibration for a more sensitive patient.
This works best on pressure points or targeted therapy around a joint. It penetrates pretty deep which is great for a more muscular body type, but caution should be used on a new injury or if you have decreased sensation. I would advise starting on a low level and going slow at first.

I think that where this particular brand shines is in the multiple levels of power. Most of the brands that I researched had 5 speed levels. This one has 30! This might sound like overkill, but I found it very helpful. My husband is a big man and used a moderately high level on most areas, but there’s still quite a few levels that he could grow into at some point.

Excuse my hairy bear of a husband, but this really shows how powerful the percussion can get.

I needed the lower levels at first, but I was quickly able to tolerate a little more. For those of us with limited sensation, it’s incredibly important to start off slow so our bodies can adjust. This is not available in most massagers so it was great to see such a wide range in this one.

Some various odds and ends that weren’t crucial, but still nice include the long battery life, the ability to recharge it fairly quickly, and the easy to read LED display.

Closing thoughts:

Does it completely replace the skin to skin contact and human connection that a traditional massage delivers? No, but it’s a very close second. It’s also a lot easier for someone with mobility problems to manage on a regular basis. For the price of one deep tissue massage, this provides hours of easily accessible massage therapy in the privacy of your home.

Sunba Youth was kind enough to give me a sample to use for this post, but I was not paid for the review or influenced in any way. If you would like to purchase your own, here is a link to the product listing on Amazon.

SUNBA YOUTH Deep Tissue Percussion Muscle Massager, Handheld Massager with Carrying Case Massage Gun for Athletes, Ultra-Quiet 30 Speed Levels Electric Massager for Sore Muscle and Stiffness https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z1V81ZV/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_ygPkEbNF5R0F7

(NSFW) In the Words of Salt n Pepper…

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

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I have had several people ask me about my sex life or just gimpy sex in general.  I thought it would be fun to answer them all in one monster post.  I do think that I should warn you that I don’t have a filter and I’m pretty open about sex.  If you are more modest then this may offend you.  The following post will contain discussions about human anatomy, fetish, sex therapy, sex workers, etc.  If you aren’t comfortable with any of this, then I understand and I will see you in the next post.

Do you have real sex with your husband?  If so, how?

This was by far the most frequent question asked.  I have to admit that I laughed at the “normal” part.  I never really cared for “normal” anything,  but I’m assuming they meant vaginal intercourse.   I have had 4 vaginal surgeries so we couldn’t do it that way while I was recovering each time.  There are other ways to be intimate and we took advantage of them all.  When I am okay for intercourse,  we do it like anyone who is able bodied.  I can even get on top if I am careful and hang on to the headboard for leverage.

 Do you still like sex?  Isn’t it just numb?

The spinal cord is a funny thing.  Someone can be paralysed or, in my case, have partial paralysis and still have quite a bit of feeling below their injury level.  Many people can’t feel anything superficial, but feel deep pressure in the muscles underneath their skin.  Some report that their nerves act strangely after.  For example, someone could be touching their back, but they feel it in their butt.   Others, like me, experience increased sensitivity and actually enjoy sex more after their injury.

 Is there anything different that you have to do, medically or otherwise, to have sex?

For me, not really, but a lot of wheelchair users do have some special needs.   Catheters are very common in the wheelchair community.   I have a sacral nerve stimulator that helps to stimulate the nerves that empty my bladder, but not completely.  I only need to cath 2x a day so I use a straight cath that is inserted to pee, then removed.  For those of us who can’t pee on their own at all, many people use an implanted catheter which means that it stays in the bladder.  A Foley catheter is inserted into the urethra and to have sex, a man can tape the tubing up the shaft of the penis and cover it with a condom.  A woman can simply push the tubing to the side.  This can be very uncomfortable so a supra pubic catheter  (a surgically implanted device that accesses the bladder through the belly) is often used.  Depending on the severity of the injury, men can have issues getting or maintaining an erection.   Viagra and vibrators can help tremendously.

Can you recommend anything that could make sex easier for someone with poor mobility?

Sex swings are very helpful and a lot of fun.  Many of us have a hydraulic lift that can used as a gimpy sex swing.

https://avacaremedical.com/pmi-hydraulic-patient-lifter?fee=14&fep=11212&gclid=Cj0KCQiAi7XQBRDnARIsANeLIetVdSlSwRDCNKu9_b7b-HkKYrdElLy9iS84gQk9yhkuEcm7rw9NCRgaAl0HEALw_wcB

pmi0087_hydraulicpatientlifter1

Sex furniture is very popular with able bodied people.

https://m.bonanza.com/listings/liberator-esse-lounge-chair-sex-lounger-64l-x-24w-x-24h/434098180?goog_pla=1&variation_id=221967627&gpid=173784728461&keyword=&goog_pla=1&pos=1o17&ad_type=pla&gclid=Cj0KCQiAi7XQBRDnARIsANeLIetgLF6pGuJqFHE894b60sBQlgYFAAylnW2sv7A2OqqbYrc7hDN7QqoaAvJ3EALw_wcB

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00690D9WQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_hXBdAbP4421M3

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For those who have problems with movement,  The Intimate Rider can assist with thrusting.   It’s basically a sexy, gimpy rocking chair.

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So does your husband have a fetish and that’s why he is still with you?

I won’t comment on my Hubby’s kinks in general,  but I will say that he isn’t a devotee and he isn’t trolling the medical supply store for dates.  A devotee is someone who has a fetish for disabled people.  I’m fine with whatever happens as long as it is safe, sane, and consensual, but I do have an issue with using someone as a gimpy sex toy.  Don’t use us as some weird bucket list item, but then refuse to date us.  We’re people, not sex slaves on wheels.

 

 The Happy Ending

This has become a ridiculously long post, but I think I covered most of the questions.  I hope this is helpful for curious able bodied people,  but also for wheelchair users who think they can’t have sex.  Doctors and caregivers often overlook sexuality in the disabled.   Many treat us like children which is very unfair.   Sex and intimacy are an important part of relationships and life in general.   I also wanted to note that I am not a doctor and this isn’t a replacement for medical advice.   This is based on my friends and my experiences so other people do things differently.

Apple Strudel

This doesn’t contain affiliate links.

 

Ingredients:

½ cup almond or soy milk

¾ tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I like Pink Lady)

¼ cup dried cherries

½ cup gluten-free rolled oats

¼ cup chopped walnuts

2 Tbs ground flax seeds

 

Directions:

Peel, core and chop apples.  (I use this because it is easier for me to use and it cuts down on prep time.)

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HNEOPQG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_N8w-zbJGYDGWH

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Pour mixture into a greased 8×8-inch baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Gizmopal 2 Review

This is not a sponsored post. We have really enjoyed using N’s and I just wanted to share our experience. It has given us a wonderful sense of security that is worth more than gold.

I suppose I should start with a little background on N. He was diagnosed with classic autism before ASD was redefined. I’m not trying to get into a “my kid is more autistic than your kid” contest. I just wanted to illustrate his level of disability. He is verbal with people he knows well, but even then he has a very hard time reading a situation and communicating what is going on. For example, he is convinced that Jesus is a zombie because He rose from the dead and no one can convince him otherwise. It’s adorable, but he would really be at a disadvantage if he needed help.

When we decided to send him to school part time, I really worried that he might get lost and not be able to ask a stranger or even a police officer for help. It’s a very real threat that often ends badly. This study shows that almost half of all children with ASD wander regardless of where they are.

https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/study-confirms-autism-wandering-common-scary

We both wear medic alert bracelets for our genetic disorder, but it is so rare that it is more likely to confuse EMS rather than help. I looked into a GPS device so we could at least track him if he wandered off. Some were crazy expensive and some were very unreliable according to other reviews. I had a hard time finding something that would work for us and still be durable enough for a nine year old boy.

As luck would have it, dropping my phone in the tub was the best thing I ever did. When we were at the Verizon store, our friendly sales associate immediately offered to show us the new Gizmopal. He has worked with us before so he knew about N’s condition. It’s going to sound like I am exaggerating, but it really is this awesome and the perfect solution.

Some of the features include:

  • Program up to 4 numbers that can be called by the device. Other numbers can’t be dialed.
  • Two way calling so I can call him and it will automatically pick up after 10 seconds
  • GPS tracker that can be checked in real time through the Gizmohub app
  • The app is super easy to use. I am not very tech savvy, but I was able to program his numbers and set location boundaries in a couple of minutes.
  • It’s very reasonably priced at $80 with a contract.
  • The best part is how kid friendly it is. In addition to making phone calls, the buttons make cool noises and tell time. Of course, it is comfortable, durable and waterproof.

Here is a link to more information and a store locator where you can pick up one of your own.

https://www.verizonwireless.com/simulator/LG/gizmo_pal_2/embedded.html

Martha Stewart meets Ironside

Like many people who have a chronic illness,  I am always cold.  Trying to stay warm in a wheelchair can be challenging.   Coats can be bulky and hard to remove while seated.  Blankets can get tangled in the wheels.  I really envy those babies who are warm and cozy in their little car seat covers.  I have yet to find one that is big enough to go over me and the wheelchair,  but I do have some crafty solutions.

  • Modify your clothes so they are easier to use.

    There are a few companies that make “wheelchair garments” but since they are speciality items, they can get rather pricey.  I cheaped out and just cut my jacket down the back, then I added a couple of buttons at the top.  Now it is much easier for my hubby to slip it off with me having to transfer.

  • Mermaids are warm and gorgeous

    I’m sure you have seen all of the cute little mermaid tails that are so popular right now.  Since they are more like a sack or cocoon, you don’t have to worry about it dragging the ground, falling off or getting tangled up in the wheels.  There are plenty of patterns for making your own, but I just decided to wing it.  I think it turned out well and it is really warm.

wp-image-2082350757.png

If you can’t crochet or sew, you could also make one using fleece and liquid stitch.

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=skagimp-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01CUK7DDY&asins=B01CUK7DDY&linkId=ee0bca029ff993371e9f093033990903&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=skagimp-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00114RF8O&asins=B00114RF8O&linkId=a803a3c16e5f6292fd9545672f4f2c95&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

I also made one that looks like a slice of pizza, because I am completely ridiculous.   I also think it is a good conversation piece particularly around kids who may be frightened by a wheelchair.

  • Always be yourself…unless you can be a Disney princess.

    I came across this pattern on ravelry and I knew I had to have one.

     http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/princess-dress-blanket-blue

     

    I modified it so it is the perfect length and added a belt to keep it on my waistline.   I also made a Cinderella wig to completely the look, because there is a fine line between eccentric and crazy which I like to play jump rope with.

    20170319_133632-1_medium2

I hope these ideas can help you stay warm and comfortable.   For My able bodied friends — these would make great gifts for a loved one who is ill.

The Gimpy Guide to Fidget Toys

N has had a lot of success with various fidget toys.  Since it can get expensive to buy a bunch of toys that your child might not even like, we decided to do a big round-up of the ones we have tried.   Please keep in mind that these are just the ones that N or one of his classmates have tried themselves.   I was provided samples from the companies so we could test them, but I was not compensated in any way or influenced to alter my reviews.   I am blunt to a fault so I am certainly not going to steer you wrong.

Spinners:

1.

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHW95ZQ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2WMTVUFW88BRX&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

 

This is a very nice spinner for an older kid because its simple design that looks more “grown up”.  The body of it is ceramic which makes it very smooth and cool to the touch.  This is a big plus for those who like tactile stimulation,  but it is also a rather heavy material.   It could be very dangerous if thrown and the ball bearings inside are a chocking hazard.   Please use caution with younger kids, but especially chewers.

2.  Jinwen Tri Spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1J1D1H/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I32SM1EJ3C51WM&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

This set is perfect for beginners.   It contains two spinners so you can have one for home and one for the go.  Any parent can tell their own horror story of a beloved toy that went missing.   However it is an even bigger deal for a special needs child who incorporates a toy into their daily routine.  By simply having a spare, you can avoid a complete shutdown.   These are such a good deal because it contains two spinners for around half the price of some brands.  I will be honest and say that I have seen better, but they are still loads of fun.  If your child loves them, you can get fancier ones later.  But if she doesn’t like them, then you aren’t out too much money.

3. Henata Metal Spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0719BQ12R/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I31ATZ6P1IQDY2&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

This one is my favorite.   It’s moderately priced,  spins for a long time and is smaller than most of the ones on this list which makes it more comfortable for smaller hands.  Plus the unique, holographic finish makes it almost hypnotic to watch it spin.   N is , shall we say, fabulous so he loves the rainbow colors, but some boys would think of it as too “girly”.   We don’t think that being a girl is bad so N can’t get enough of rainbows, unicorns, or pink princes.  This brings up an interesting point —- since the vast majority of ASD kids are male, it is hard to find fidget toys that are marketed towards girls.

4.  Focus spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZY5HJC1/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Of the many spinners that we tried, this one spun the longest.  It comes in a variety of colors so you can pick your favorite color.  You do need to exercise caution with chewers because sometimes the ball bearings inside can come out.

5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072QBG1SY#customerReviews

Here is another 2 pack set.  It is a very good deal for the both of them and they are better quality that the other set.  They respond well to the strength of the spinner.  N usually gets a 2 minute spin and Daddy is able to get a 3 and a half minute spin.

6. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ44Q9Z/ref=twister_B06ZZDJXRR?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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I was so excited about this one,  but it was awful.   The main selling point is that it has LED lights that light up when it spins.  It never worked properly.   It only spun for about 15 seconds and the lights never worked.   I was sent a replacement and it didn’t work either.  Sadly this is the most expensive one on this list and for $20 I expected it to be awesome.

7.  https://www.amazon.com/review/R5DEFQX55HMWW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B071NQVWCG

Here’s another one that is rather inexpensive so it would be a great option for a beginner.   N really likes the unique design and they have a few options available.

 

Squeeze Toys or Stress Balls

1.  Gigli squishy cream scented  bread 2 piece set

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071YM9S5H/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3DDOUVSUOFBL5&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

I have to admit that this one is my favorite.   N has a Julia Child obsession so he was so excited to see these baguettes.   They look exactly like the real thing.   They are made out of a dense memory foam that slowly inflates back to its original form.   That means that you can squeeze it as hard as you can while frustrated and then watch it grow while you calm down.   It is also scented.   The package calls it cream scented and it comes with two in the set.

2.  Squishy cake

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071D9DGPV/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This one was given to one of N’s favorite classmates for his birthday.  He played with the bread a few times so I knew he would love it.  It is super cute,  but less realistic than the baguettes.   It is more like an adorable cartoon prop.  This one is also scented,  but in my opinion it smells better.

I hope this has been helpful and that you are able to find something that works for you.