Every once in a blue moon something comes along that's really cool. A gadget that's so helpful you've got to tell everyone about it. The Love 'n Thumb Self-Massager is one of those very cool finds. Granted, it isn't a musical instrument or accessory and, normally, I wouldn't be inclined to write about an item that was not musically related. I'm making an exception here because this thing rocks in a different way. It kicks some serious butt on Muscle Gremlins, those miserable little monsters that enjoy doing a tap-dance-from-hell on your back. I'm talking about the type of annoying back pains that can make playing your next gig a real exercise in torture. Long practice sessions with the band, screwing up the final note of a solo and extended days on the road can all trigger a Gremlin assault.
Just like aspirin, earplugs and that favorite pillow, the Love 'n Thumb should be included in your travel kit. It's the brainchild of Billy Gray. You know him from his acting days in such classics as Father Knows Best and The Day The Earth Stood Still. In addition to his acting career, Bill was an accomplished motorcycle racer and successful inventor. Amongst other things, his company, BIGROCK Engineering, manufactures a unique line of guitar picks.
When Bill offered to send me a Love 'n Thumb, little did I realize how much it would be used. Bill says he "...designed the Love 'n Thumb to help massage muscles that are occasionally tense from stress..." Speaking from experience, I can honestly say it definitely lives up to that claim. However, the true depth to which I became acquainted with Bill's invention was the result of my argument with Sir Isaac Newton and his damnable Laws of Motion.
I've always been fascinated by physics and the effect of gravity upon dense objects. I guess that's why I enjoy lifting weights in my spare time. The gravitational effect, in relation to the distance my eyes bug out while challenging Newton's Laws of Motion, is directly proportional to the amount, and size, of the dense iron discs dangling from the bar in my hands. The interesting ways in which gravity contorts my body when it's under load has piqued my curiosity and caused me to examine Newton's Laws of Motion more thoroughly.
In what seemed like the natural progression of things, I gravitated toward power lifting. I don't know why. Maybe it's because the thought of bench pressing a Yugo excites me, even though I know that the only way I'll ever be able to bench press an 1800 pound Yugo is with a floor jack. Maybe it's because I like to watch my veins pop. Maybe it's because I'm a masochist. Whatever the reason, I have fun pushing the weights around in defiance of Newton and his Laws ... but sometimes Ol' Isaac pushes back.
While showing off in front of the mirror, I had attempted to lift too much weight without properly warming up. I'd successfully lifted that amount before and was anxious to see how far my eyes bugged out when I did it again. I foolishly rushed my warm-ups, grabbed the bar, let loose with a mighty grunt and ... oops ... Newton's Third Law of Motion made itself known to me. Action = Lifting heavy bar without properly warming up. Reaction = Damn, that hurts.
Fortunately, for me, it was nothing serious. No damage. Just the side effect of a brain in neutral. The Gremlin on my back, however, had my face looking mighty ugly. I didn't know which was worse, witnessing the involuntary contortions on my ugly mug, or the little munchkin doing his tap-dance-from-hell.
I cussed out the Gremlin, told Newton where to pack his damned Laws and slithered over to my recliner. For the next couple of hours I migrated between the recliner, a heating pad and a hot shower. Like a pack rat questing after his next shiny object, I'd hoped one of those treatments would work. They helped a little, but the residual stiffness and general pain in the ... uh ... back lingered like an uninvited guest who relishes long good-byes. What I really needed was a massage.
Then I remembered the Love 'n Thumb. I slithered to the music room, grabbed the Thumb, plopped onto my drum throne and started to work that sore, knotted lump of flesh with Bill's Gremlin Eradicator. Holy enchilada, that felt great. Within a few minutes I was able to move like a normal human being. Later that day I gave myself another massage and I was able to jam that night. Very cool, considering I'd just had a go-round with the King of Motion a few hours ago. Over the next two days I used the Love 'n Thumb whenever I felt tight and was able to bug my eyes out on my next scheduled workout day without any problems. No mistake about it, that thing flat-ass works.
Archimedes would be proud of Bill. He successfully combined the principles of the fulcrum and lever into one very powerful design. The Love 'n Thumb is solidly constructed. Manufactured with steel tubing and a powder coat finish, it's light in weight and can be held effortlessly for extended periods of time.
Bill advised me to go easy at first and I'm glad I took his advice. The Love 'n Thumb requires very little effort to generate a remarkably strong, deep massage. It IS NOT intended for treatment of injuries. If you have an injury, see a doctor.
Bill is a cool guy. Drop by his site and see what's happening.