I Found the Most Effective Stress Ball *Ever* for Just $9

Photo: Gaiam; Graphics: Well+Good Creative
Now that I have a what feels like a part-time job training for the New York Marathon, my fleet of recovery tools have swiftly become my most-prized possessions. Like a mother with many talented children, I'll never admit which one's my favorite. What I will say is that only one is tiny-yet-mighty enough to warrant carrying it with me wherever I go. Everyone, please allow me to introduce Gaiam's Restore Mini On-The-Go Muscle Massager ($9).

I was introduced to this palm-sized accessory during a recent visit to New York City's Stretch*d studio. While I cherish my foam roller and can't rave enough about my Theragun, neither is exactly, well, portable. The restore mini kind of resembles a small chew toy intended for a dog, but it's equipped to massage out the knots in your biceps, back, hamstrings, calves, and more. Gaiam even offers a massage guide, but it feels great pretty much anywhere on your body.

Bethany Chang, my "stretch*r", tells me that the mini-roller's ridges let it go deep (and I mean deep) into the tensest parts of your muscles. "The small ridges on the roller allow it to get into deeper layers of muscle, whereas a traditional foam roller with a smooth surface hits the muscles more superficially. The inconsistent surface area, coupled with the smaller size of this tool, allows you to get deeper into more specific points," she says.

What it's like to get professionally stretched:

Chang loves to place the tool against the wall and rub it against her lower and upper-back, and yeah—that feels great.

Personally, my favorite part about the tool is that I don't even need to get up from my desk chair to use it. I've sat up on my shins and placed the device in the nook behind my knee cap to stretch out my calves. I've caught up on articles while rolling the thing against my hamstrings. And when I was working alone in the Well+Good office, I even (gasp) removed my shoes to feel the massaging nubs dig into my aching feet.

The 9-to-5 #desklife offers infrequent opportunities to take care of yourself and your body. So when a $9 tool works like your own personal masseuse, why in the name of recovery would you say no?

Curious about cryotherapy (another recovery technique)? Here's what it's like:

Pretty soon we'll all be tracking our recovery (and yeah, we called it).

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