by Mira Reverente
Remember that at-home massage treatment of putting a golf ball in a sock and using it to work on tired or overworked muscles? It works, but imagine if the golf ball came with its own massage device. Say “hello” to golf ball massage therapy, pioneered by Heather Karr, who has a Thousand Oaks-based practice.
Never heard of before, the concept took off when Karr was featured on the CBS TV show The Doctors back in 2010. Interviewed about the benefits and techniques of her invention, the SPAball Kaddy, Karr was astounded by consumer interest.
“I made over $2,000 in Internet sales that day when the show aired,” said Karr, who devotes 95 percent of her practice to her unique form of massage therapy. “Massage therapists from all over called me, asking how they can get trained in the modality with my tool.”
The concept is fairly simple to use at home, said Karr. Take a standard golf ball and insert it into the SPAball Kaddy, which she herself designed. Push and glide it on trigger points on your body and on muscles that the hands alone can’t get deep enough. A 12-page guide comes in every package and users can also watch it for free online.
Usually, massage therapists utilize a variety of tools, including hot stones and other gadgets, depending on their style or modality. But Karr got inspired while working on a client who brought up the idea of using a golf ball to push into his muscles.
“It was a great idea, but using a golf ball alone really hurts the palm of your hand” said Karr, who had a “lone golf ball moment” shortly after that session. She designed a holder using clay and used it for about a year, until it was time to manufacture them in plastic.
Karr’s graphic design background came in handy when it was time to design the prototype. “Before this, I had never invented anything before,” she said. Dubbed the SPAball Kaddy, the handy tool is made of plastic, lightweight and small enough to fit in a purse, a gym bag or a golf bag.
Individuals are attracted to it and purchase it through Karr’s web site. Spas all over the country have started using it. The caddy has even crossed international waters and has made it to France, Canada, South Africa, Australia and many others. Even four-legged clients are pleased, according to their human trainers. “I’ve heard that horses love receiving the golf ball massage,” said Karr.
The health benefits are a given but especially so on clients suffering from chronically tight muscle knots or Parkinson’s disease.
Karr’s challenge these days is the packaging. A couple of weeks ago, she launched her project on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding site for inventors, creators, techies, authors and the like. “I need help funding the mold and initial production of the new plastic clam shell packaging,” she said. “The boxed packaging isn’t giving me the ability to customize for different markets.”
Made from recycled plastic, the new packaging will also make customization easier for companies who may want to use it as give-aways or for spas who want to “brand” the SPAball Kaddies with their company logo.
Plus, it’s easier on the eye, said Karr. “It’s [more accessible] for consumers to understand what it is when they can see what’s inside and can imagine using it on themselves at home,” she said.
For more info or to back the SPAball Kaddy project, click here.