As climbers, we suffer from numerous injuries. One of the more common climber injuries is medial epicondylitis or golfers elbow. Essentially this is pain on the inside of your elbow and it originates from overuse of the flexor muscles. All our gripping without exercising the opposing muscle groups is usually the culprit for climbers.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been suffering from this condition for months now. I’ve been seeing a sports medicine doctor and slowly my severe pain has reduced. When I started rehab, my pain was about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. After about three months of daily ice baths and exercises to strengthening opposing muscle groups (including a couple initial weeks of ultrasound), I was finally down in the 4 out 10 pain range.
So when I was contacted by the inventor of a device called Armaid, I was initially quite skeptical. First, if there was some device that would help, why didn’t my doctor or any literature mention it? Is this really going to help me and how long will it take? But since I really had nothing to lose at this point, I decided to try it out. The company saw a few of its customers were climbers and was interested to see what the reaction from the climbing community would be for this device. My goal was to test it out using my own pain and injuries as a guinea pig and provide some critical feedback to Armaid.
Amazingly, I felt pain relief from the Armaid device immediately. And before getting into details about Armaid, let me give you a quick summary. I’ve been using the device daily for about 2 – 3 minutes each on each forearm and my pain level has dropped at least another full notch on my pain scale after only a couple weeks.
Details of the Armaid Device
Armaid costs $99.95 and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. Initially I thought was that this was a high price for an unproven device for notoriously cheap climbers. But after using Armaid and finding it actually works, I changed my mind about the pricing. Let’s assume you have medical insurance. For the price of about two co-pay sessions with a doctor or massage therapist, you’ve paid for Armaid. Comparing the cost of Armaid to all the other medical treatment I have received in the past for climbing related injuries, a hundred dollars is a steal.
The Armaid device works by relaxing and releasing tight muscle tissue by massaging and stretching muscles in the arm. It comes with a detailed DVD with instructional videos as you must use the device in a specific manner to achieve results.
The Armaid appears to be constructed well. The apparatus is made of a sturdy plastic mounted on a swivel that allows for moving to a variety of angles. There are different stiffnesses of the therapy balls that actually run over your forearms to adjust the level of pressure.
Another small climber-related complaint I had was the size of the device. Armaid is rather large (about 16″ long), but to mechanically achieve its mission I realize it pretty much has to be that way. My initial opinion (before testing it) was that climbers may not want to take it on our frequent road trips. After using it, I realize that if you have chronic pain like I do, you’re not going to care about the size and you’ll throw it in the car. It’s really not that big, but you can see for yourself in one of Armaid’s demo videos. It also weighs just over a pound so it’s not too heavy.
I haven’t seen much discussion of this device elsewhere, despite it usefulness. I did see a brief recommendation in Clyde Soles’ training book, but other than that the Armaid appears to be quite unknown to climbers.
My next obvious question was what is this company all about? Who are they and why should I trust them with my health?
I had several conversations with the founder of Armaid, Terry Cross, and asked him some very pointed questions that I knew climbers would be interested in learning before committing to this product.
Terry is a former sports injury and occupational injury therapist and I asked him how he came up with the idea for Armaid:
“I would see sometimes as many as ten clients a day and over time I began to develop repetitive strain (tendinitis) in my arms and hands. I began to do more self massage to maintain my own level of strength and fitness. This worked for a while by using my free hand to massage the other arm but this method often aggravated my problems and after trying several different products I felt there was not a good massage tool available for specifically helping the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow. I tried many different prototypes and designs until I came up with the idea of using a lever (as in the mechanical advantage of a nutcracker) to easily amplify the pressure on the trigger points (sore areas) without using a lot of strength necessary from the free hand.
There is a particular type of therapy that I used as a hands-on therapist that I use constantly and it is the most efficient method I have ever found to work to relieve tight muscles. I built Armaid to specifically incorporate this therapy technique. To keep it simple, I call it “trigger point therapy” on our website. It is called different names depending if you are talking to an Occupational or Physical Therapist, Rolfing Therapist, Chiropractor, etc. I’ve heard it called Myofacial Release, Client Assisted Release, Active Release etc., but it is always the same technique of maintaining static pressure on a sore spot and then stretching the muscle under that pressure (see the “two therapies” video on our website). This releases the muscle fiber much more quickly and efficiently than cross-fiber technique or mere stroking (effluerage). It also has the added benefit of letting the sufferer discover which muscles and which range of motion is the culprit in their problem.”
And on who is using Armaid and why climbers should think about using it:
“Disgruntled sufferers that have had the surgeries, taken the drugs, been upset with unending appointments with expensive therapy sessions and still not happy and are looking for something that they can do for themselves. They hear about Armaid mostly through word of mouth or a search online. For the cost of one or two medical or massage sessions they can buy an Armaid and be in charge of their own arm, elbow and hand health.
It must be made clear that Armaid is only useful if the problem is based in the forearm muscles that can create painful problems in the elbow, wrist and hand. The question that I always ask someone who is considering using Armaid is “Do you have sore forearm muscles?” if they say “yes” then I know that Armaid is perfect for them and will deliver relief when used as shown on the videos. Armaid will not be of use if the problem originates solely in the neck or shoulder region with a pinched nerve or injury “upstream” of the arm.
Armaid is not a cure all or a one-time magic bullet. It does give the sufferer a way to relieve their symptoms and to maintain their own hand, arm, elbow health. Armaid use is like brushing your teeth, regular maintenance is best for health because as an athlete you are constantly using your body and muscles and creating tension and metabolic waste products. That is why professional athletes have massages constantly before and after every work out and performance.
The Armaid is a useful product that can be used to supplement other healthy physical therapy for rehabilitating several conditions climbers experience. If you have chronic pain, the Armaid by itself will not cure you. But an overall change in habits along with this device can be an effective solution to getting back to lower pain levels.
* Special Discount *
Terry also gave me a special discount only for readers of All Climbing. If you mention you saw Armaid on All Climbing, you will receive 15% off your order of the device. Just mention it when ordering online or when calling them.
Disclaimer: It pains me to even write this, but let me reiterate – I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. If you have medical problems, please consult a doctor or other medical professional.