Gearhead: Foam rollers simulate massage for achy muscles

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Sore and achy muscles can plague anyone, whether you’re a life-long athlete who runs a few too many miles, an exercise newbie lifting weights for the first time, or a yoga expert trying out a new routine.

An effective way to reduce muscle stiffness and pain is with the self-massaging TriggerPoint Performance’s GRID Foam Roller. The roller’s patented three-part, 3D grid pattern is designed to replicate the hands and touch of a massage therapist.

The pattern has three distrodensity zones. With the high/firm pattern acting like finger tips, a tubular pattern working like fingers, and the low/flat pattern acting similarly to the palm of a hand, you’ll feel as if you’ve had a sports massage. The three-dimensional surface soothes muscles by allowing tissue to aerate as you roll, thereby promoting the flow of blood and oxygen.

The roller, which has a hard hollow core wrapped with EVA foam, has a firm surface. Capable of supporting static loads up to 500 pounds, it’s 5.5 by 13 inches and weighs 24 ounces. It’s recommended by physical therapists and sports doctors. Comes in five colors. $34.99. tptherapy.com.

In Sonoma County, TriggerPoint products are carried by Big 5 Sporting Goods, Athletic Soles, REI, Sports Basement and Sports Authority.

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