Roll to Keep on Rollin’
I’m Mark, a life-long athlete and reluctant physical therapy junkie. I love cycling, skiing, rock climbing and everything the Colorado lifestyle has to offer. As a result, my body has taken a beating over the years and nowadays I really feel the effects of epic rides and powder days. But, I refuse to give up my active lifestyle!
That’s why I’ve dedicated myself to producing a new generation of foam rollers that utilize vibration—a technology that has really helped my body recover, relax and feel better. My goal is to bring this technology to others so they too can continue rolling forward in their active lifestyles.
Vibration Therapy Leads to Recovery and RollingFWD
Here’s how I discovered vibration therapy and started “rolling forward” …
Work Hard, Play Hard
I have worked in ski and mountaineering shops and somehow ended up in high tech sales with Rational, IBM and Rally Software. I was sitting in a chair hunched over a keyboard without much thought to what I was doing to my body. Then, on weekends, I pushed my body to the limits participating in endurance and adventure sports.
It was awesome, but the weekend warrior routine wreaked havoc on my back, which would go out at least once a year. At one point, a back injury trapped me in my mountain home near Boulder for six weeks.
I was in a horribly unforgiving routine and didn’t know how to change it.
Rehab & Physical Therapy
I broke my foot in a motorcycle accident and had two surgeries. This was my first experience with formal physical therapy and I spent months rehabbing so I could return to my full-throttle weekends. I also have had knee surgery to reconstruct my ACL and to repair my meniscus. More physical therapy followed.
My upper body wasn’t immune either. I hurt my shoulder climbing and spent even more time with a physical therapist rehabilitating my rotator cuff. And, did I mention my back? It continued to go out once a year. I was in a pattern of crisis-induced visits to a physical and massage therapist, which, without regular maintenance, was just a temporary fix.
Over time, I realized that if I wanted to participate in the athletic activities that are so important to me I needed to spend more time on recovery and rebuild my body. I could no longer neglect my body and expect it to perform as it did when I was younger. My active lifestyle was beginning to slip away.
So, I tried all sorts of therapy and devices: massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, pilates, egoscue, foam rollers, massage sticks and balls.
With all of these tools, I successfully rehabbed my knee to a point where I could ski again but it still wasn’t 100 percent. That’s when I found a physical therapist that introduced me to vibration plates. Vibration therapy did wonders to clear up the residual scar tissue in my knee.
A Routine for Recovery
With my knee back in business, I committed to a daily maintenance routine. I set my alarm earlier and used the first part of my day for recovery. I focused on exercises that I could do myself and much of that included the use of foam rollers.
I still follow this daily routine today and visit physical and massage therapists, but now it’s more for maintenance, rarely for a physical crisis.
Vibration Leads to Inspiration
One morning, I was using a vibration plate and then a foam roller and an idea hit me. Wouldn’t it be awesome if this foam roller could vibrate without having to invest in a $5,000 (or more) vibration plate?
So, I set out to build the first prototype of a vibrating foam roller in my basement. I drilled out a basic foam roller; inserted motors re-purposed from a hand-held massager and then glued it all together.
I instantly realized the upgrade I’d made to the ordinary foam roller.
I sought out designers to help me reinvent the foam roller from the inside out. I found and partnered with Samson Designs who has had great success with exercise and medical equipment. With their engineering expertise, we built four more prototypes with 3D printers and patented our design.
With each new prototype we received valuable feedback from friends, athletes and health practitioners. This feedback guided us on how to improve each design and refine the features for our first production run. The most common question we hear now is, “When can I buy one?”
A Message from Mark
I’m so inspired by what our vibrating foam roller has done for our testers and me that I left working in technology to put all my energy into RollingFWD. My focus is to bring vibration therapy to traditional massage tools like foam rollers providing advanced tools for athletes, weekend warriors and fitness fans to recover and keep doing what they love.
I’ve learned that life is all about recovery. Injuries, stiffness and soreness happen to athletes at every level. It’s all about how you rebound, bounce back and continue to roll forward. I’m excited that RollingFWD can be part of making you feel and perform better.
Keep rolling forward!