What It Is: Designed to relieve muscle tension in the back, and endorsed by massage therapists and chiropractors, The Beam™ is an elongated, bendable wellness tool made of latex-free, waterproof foam/rubber material. You can lie on it or lean against it while sitting or standing.
What You Might Not Know: The Canadian creators of The Beam are two best friends who’d both been living with back pain for decades by the time The Beam was born.
Inspired by a foam roller and props used in yoga class, they saw an opportunity for something new: A device that allows you to fully relax your body if you want to versus having to actively engage muscles for leverage or exercise.
Feelin’ The Love: Thankfully, I don’t deal with chronic back pain, but I do notice my back tenses up almost on cue from writing all day, Instagamming on my phone, high-impact exercise and, especially, cramped airline travel. When I arrived home from a recent trip to Palm Springs, I was stoked at how quickly The Beam helped me melt away muscle tightness.
Although The Beam is complementary to a foam roller, it’s different in that you’re supposed to just lie down, or sit with it, and let The Beam do its thing. It’s designed to make you more aware of your posture.
There’s a trick to getting it right, though, and that’s to align your spine vertically along the foam part but keep your tailbone/butt on the floor. From there, you can bend your legs or extend them out flat.
For tight hips, there’s also the option to flip The Beam around horizontally and lie on it that way.
The Beam comes with recommended exercises for back tension like stretching your arms overhead to limber up shoulders and upper back. Or lifting your hips off the floor into a bridge for strength and stability in the lower body. (Check The Beam website for how-to videos.)
I’ve tried all the positions, but I keep going back to resting on it vertically (called “The Back Booster”). This one opens up my chest muscles and extends my thoracic spine, which does wonders for being able to breathe more deeply compared to just lying there without The Beam. That, alone, improves my relaxation!
I usually chill on The Beam for about 10 minutes at a time. Immediately afterward, my back feels as if I’ve just had an invigorating massage or come out of a deep, back-opening yoga stretch. This has quickly become part of my wellness routine.
If I Could Change One Thing: Comfort. When I first laid down on it, the foam felt harder than I expected it would. But after using this back-saving device for about a week, it started to feel softer. I also read on The Beam website that it does soften over time, which I think will further increase its comfort. UPDATE: Now there’s a softer version available called The Beam Gentle made for especially sensitive or tender backs.
Should You Buy It? Everyone deals with back discomfort sometimes; for that reason, The Beam is a good wellness tool to keep at close range for yourself or as part of a personal training toolkit. Plus it’s slender enough to easily store away when you’re not using it or even fold up in a suitcase for travel. Cost: $39.99 CND at Nimbleback.com.