Best body work tools to take on the road.
I work with a lot of musicians, their crew, and management. When you are on a tour bus for weeks on end, it can be really rough on your body. While recently working with Gary Clark Jr., it came to my attention that I should have recommendations for tools that you might use on a tour bus to help ease the aches and pains of performing and being on the road.
*Ball in a sock
Heating pads are comforting, they promote blood flow and often reduce the tension and soreness of achy muscles. They are cheap, easy to use, and very helpful when you just feel sore and tight. Your tour bus should have ample outlets to plug one in.
The Theracane is a plastic cane-like tool that is used to work on knots in muscle by oneself. They are designed so that the user can put pressure on any part of the body, to loosen it up. No need for tour bus electricity for this tool, it’s old school.
A percussion massager does similar work to the theracane, but often requires a second person to administer the care. In some ways, less convenient than the theracane, it still packs an enormous punch of relief for tight muscles and with battery lives often over 4 hours, these things will work over the entire band before losing a charge. Price does not always relate to quality or efficacy, so research products well. Focus on battery life, RPM’s, and user reviews. I have the most experience with the hypervolt, and on the much cheaper side, the FlyBy.
Formula 303 is an herbal muscle relaxant that has no side effects and calms the body down. A bottle of this should be on every tour bus. A combination of valerian root, passion flower and magnesium, this product is a lifesaver for those who prefer not to medicate with drugs.
A tennis ball in a sock that you can lean on and dig out muscle knots, is also a great tool to have in the absence of of a Theracane. The sock prevents it from falling on the floor or rolling away, and the ball will dig into tight areas releasing tension and improving blood flow.
We’re not talking about replacing professional help here. It’s just a great idea to have the proper tools to maintain yourself while on the road. That way, when you seek professional help, it has a greater positive impact on the days to come, because of the “homework” you did to keep yourself in the game. These tools don’t take up much space, and they are safe to use.
Dr. Lou has been specializing in the health and performance of musicians for over 20 years. His office is in Portland, Maine. He is available for telehealth calls to discuss musician wellbeing, life, and injuries.