The Stick is a small, lightweight, easy-to-use, practical self-massage tool.
I was introduced to The Stick about three years ago. I was training for my first marathon and developed the ever-annoying iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). What amazed me most about The Stick, other than the fact that it helped me through ITBS, was its simplicity.
Ken Zelez is a distributor of The Stick in Alberta, Canada and his website is www.thestick.ca. The main Canadian distributor of The Stick (Rob Bechard) is in British Columbia and his website is www.thestick.net.
We would like to thank Ken for answering a few questions about The Stick, its applications, history and role in injury rehabilitation / prevention.
How did the idea for The Stick come about?
Ken Zelez: The idea came about over 20 years ago from Dr. Pat Belcher from Atlanta Georgia. Dr. Belcher who is known as the “Doc”, created The Stick as a tool to treat trigger points. The Doc had been going through treatments for his neck pain for years. As an orthopaedic, he and his associates treated his neck over and over again. He measured his relief from conventional treatments by how far he made it home from the clinic after he had a treatment. There was a bridge that he would be able to see and evaluate how long his treatment would offer some relief. If he reached the bridge, it was a good day. Needless to say he needed something else. One night he was so sore and frustrated, he went into the basement and literally broke a broom stick handle over his neck trying to roll out the ball of knotted muscles. The next day he called another orthopaedic friend and asked him if he knew anything about trigger points. His buddy said no, but was willing to learn. Over the next 2.5 years the Doc and his buddy studied trigger points. Their research allowed them to work with the top researches in the country such as Dr Janet Travell. As a result, Intracell Technology was created.
The Stick was not known as The Stick right away. It was known as The Intracell. The Intracell later got named The Stick by former NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor. He did not think that the Intracell could help his hamstring recover from injury. He and his teammates loved it so much that they nicknamed the Intracell “The Stick”.
What types of common injuries can The Stick help prevent and rehabilitate?
KZ: The Stick can help all soft tissue injuries. In terms of common injuries, The Stick is particularly useful for treating muscle pain, strains, stress, spasm, tension, cramping, trigger points, preventing fatigue and increasing muscle tone. The Stick has been used for strains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, increasing flexibility, strength and endurance.
The Stick predicts and prevents muscle injuries. Basically where there is a muscle, The Stick can treat it. By rolling over your muscles you will be able to identify trigger points and sore spots. The Stick is used as a dynamic- reactive instrument where it’s mechanical features are designed to segmentally compress and stretch muscles.
Explain how The Stick can help athletes. Are there any sports in particular where the Stick has been particularly beneficial?
KZ: The Stick is a huge benefit for athletes and non-athletes. Athletes in particular use The Stick as a warm-up and cool-down tool. They also use it as a therapeutic device. Specifically, The Stick rolls out muscles providing myofascial release and trigger point therapy. A typical warm-up would be about 20 progressively deeper rolling passes over the desired muscle groups. This will help the athlete warm-up by increasing blood flow and circulation. It also aids in getting the muscle tissue to “wake up” and be ready for activity.
By using The Stick as a warm-up tool, athletes can identify problem areas and spend a little more time on those areas. As a cool-down tool, the Stick helps to flush and cool down muscles. The athlete simply rolls out their desired muscle groups. As a therapeutic device The Stick is used to break down trigger points, relieve pain, increase range of motion, promote flexibility and accelerate the recovery process.
I cannot think of a sport that would not benefit from The Stick. The Stick has been made very popular professional teams and leagues such as professional football, baseball and basketball. The running community absolutely loves The Stick as well. Specifically, USA Track and Field have endorsed The Stick for years. In addition, The Stick is used as a training tool by athletes at the United States Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs CO, Lake Placid NY, Marquette MI and Chula Vista CA.
In terms of Canada, The Stick has been seen on the sidelines of the CFL, baseball stadiums, Canada Basketball and Beach Volleyball.
What unique benefits does the Stick provide over other types of self-massage tools like foam rollers?
KZ: I really like this question and have blogged about it in the past. The Stick is used by your hands instead of body weight. You can use it in a standing, sitting, crouching, kneeling or even a grounded position. You do not need to go to the ground to use it. Basically, if you can relax your muscle, you can roll out. No special equipment is needed. You can roll out anywhere and anytime. The Stick travels with ease. Another benefit is you have 100% control over The Stick. You decide on the amount of pressure you will roll out your muscles with. The Stick is waterproof. The beautiful thing about this device is one size does not fit all! There are many models to choose from based on your body composition. To wrap things up, there are 5 independent studies that support the use of The Stick.
What can you expect the feel after the first few times using The Stick?
KZ: Most people are simply amazed the first time they use The Stick. They are surprised how easy it is to use and they feel instant warmth coming over their muscle. They often described their muscles as feeling lighter and more relaxed. Many people become very aware that they have muscles issues when they first use the Stick. They become more aware that their muscles do need attention and they are sore. Some people love The Stick so much they rave about it for weeks. People start off using The Stick often and feel immediate results.
When used correctly and often, The Stick offers more compliant muscles. Muscles that are free to have nutrient rich blood flowing through them without sore trigger points. A compliant muscle is a happy muscle that wants to perform. The Stick has coined the phrase “A Toothbrush for Muscles”. This means that we take care of our team and gums every day, we should also take care of our muscles everyday….sometimes more than once!! Think of The Stick as a tool for muscle hygiene.
What’s next for The Stick?
KZ: For years, I have been answering this question at shows and with people all over the world. Up until recently, I had to say “Nothing”.
The Stick has been around for so many years and has been awarded so many awards that the manufacturers have not changed a thing. The Newest model of The Stick is called The Hybrid Stick. It is a Stick with medium flexibility with a spindle in the middle of it to pinpoint trigger points with amazing accuracy. In fact, The Hybrid Stick is the Stick that has caught on faster and has had more sales than any other Stick that was introduced to the market. The manufacturers of The Stick have told me that nothing else is really new; they are just trying desperately to keep up with the demand or orders worldwide.
Beginner runner or just getting back into it?
Get my FREE 7-lesson email course to help you get started, lose weight and discover the enjoyment of running.
Hi there. Welcome back!
Did you know that I run a 30-Day None to Run Challenge every few months?