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What’s up with the Pokey Self-Care Ring?

A great question was asked by Tomasz-

Q: Hi Lisa- I’m thinking about buying Acupressure Massage Rings but... is there any science behind it? Do you know any examination findings about it? Something more than anecdotal evidences? It seems to me that it just overloads pain neurons so user doesn't feel pain for a while. But pulleys and flexors are made from collagen and they don't have enough blood vessels so that massage could really help. What do you think about it? Any science behind it?

A: Tomasz- The acupressure ring I'm recommending use for mechanical assistance for swelling and inflammation. It’s basic physics and cellular biology. Used like modern Graston and GuaSha techniques, the ring can be used to:

  1. Like a Squeegee to squeeze out swelling.

  2. Recreate inflammation in the area to restart the healing process.

  3. Un-adhere the skin from the top of the joint caused by chronic inflammation.

  4. Smoothing scar tissue (Spiculations) on tendons formed from inflammation.

In regards to the above uses, the ring is used for two different effects, both with medical support via research. Swelling control has been shown to have the biggest effect on pain (as compared to icing) and is less harmful if done incorrectly. The creation of more inflammation restarts the healing process and is similar to dry needling. The goal of both is to irritate the to increase blood flow and to bring in new inflammation mediators to heal the area.

For both goals, this is a different tool with the same response. As research is based mostly on modalities that make money (drugs, therapy in office), there has been no research on this tool however the mechanical pressures/irritation to the region relates to research that is supportive.

When evaluating techniques, we must understand that though research is 20 years behind clinical findings, much has been done that is supportive of these theories. My recommendation is to test it, if it helps, great. If not, you might have an injury that needs a different treatment method. I've been using deep tissue massage, acupuncture, dry needling, etc to get results… This ring was first recommended to me by David Graham and I’ve found that when used correctly, it has almost the same effect in regards to pulley tendonitis, capsular injuries of the joint, and flexor tendon injuries.

You can’t argue with physics.

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