Who will love it:
Anyone with mid to upper back tightness looking for a way to stretch and loosen the tension that builds up after hours of being hunched over working on a computer or on their phone will be amazed at the effectiveness of the focal pressure delivered by the Chirp Wheel+ to their mid and upper back.
What I think:
My wrong first impressions
I’m not going to lie. When my physical therapist family member first showed me the Chirp at his home, my gimmick alarm started going off, especially when I saw how much it would cost for what looked to me like fancy teal PVC pipes.
But a few weeks later, a package from Chirp showed up at my door. Apparently my wife thought the Chirp Wheels could help with her lower back pain.
I shook my head and let her do her thing. When she started telling me how effective the Chirp wheels were, I decided to give it a try for my mid and upper back pain that I get from working in front of a computer of after long rides on my Onewheel and electric unicycles.
On a typical day I work at a computer for 9 hours straight, often even eating my meals while working at the computer. When my workday is through, a lot of my off time is spent on my laptop working on my website, writing blogs, and making YouTube videos.
All this time spent in front of a computer can slowly wreak havok on a person’s body. We did not evolve to sit hours and hours hunched over a glowing screen.
In order to preserve my body from the chronic pains of a life spent in front of a computer, I’ve employed numerous ergonomic changes and gadgets such as ergonomic furniture like fancy chairs and stand up desks.
I use this balance board when standing in front of my desk to keep me from becoming too stagnant for long periods of time. I even have a standing desk cycle which I use to keep active at times.
Despite all my efforts, my back often tightens up over time which accentuates my poor posture.
The Types of Chirp Wheels
The 3 pack comes with the 3 wheels: big, medium, and small.
Gentle: The biggest wheel is called “gentle” as the pressure is dispersed the most along the larger surface area that makes contact with your back.
Medium: The medium sized wheel focuses medium pressure on your spine. This is my favorite size and I find myself using this one the most.
Deep Tissue: The smallest wheel focuses the most pressure on where you need it to provide what the company calls a deep tissue massage.
How I use the Chirp Wheel+
One day I decided to give the Chirp a try. What is there to lose. I’ve tried different rollers, balls, inversion tables and none of them ever impressed me enough to get me to use them consistently.
- First, I sat on the ground and started with the middle sized Chirp Wheel and easily lined up the wheel with my spine.
- Then I leaned my back on to the wheel, eventually lifting my pelvis off the ground so that my only points of contact with the ground were my two fee.
- I gently bent and straightened my knees to roll the Chip Wheel along my spine.
- I spend only 3-5 minutes stretching out my back. That’s all it takes! No long time commitment. No complex setup.
How the Chirp Wheel+ feels
Initially the sensation felt awkward and unstable as I tried to balance on the narrow wheel. The pressure on my back was stronger than anything I had been able to generate with a foam roller which felt nice and I could feel my upper back open up as I extend my back.
There were several pops of the spine which is always satisfying and only after a few minutes my upper back felt rejuvenated.
Now it’s been a few months since the package of the three Chirp Wheels showed up on our porch. I regularly find myself using the wheels on a weekly basis to stretch out my upper back. I love how it fits right between my shoulder blades and is able to focus pressure directly on my mid and upper back.
The foam that covers the wheel adds comfort and the channel down the middle of the foam is a nice touch to take a little pressure off the spinous processes of the spine.
I’ve tried other things like balls and rollers to simulate the experience, but it’s not quite the same. I just can’t get that same targeted pressure with the other devices like I can with the Chirp wheels.
What else comes in the 3 pack?
Carry Pack: The wheels come in a carrying pack that zips closed and has convenient carry straps. Unlike many garbage storage packs that I often discard because of poor quality and limited utility, this black pack is good quality and comes in handy.
The Upper Back Posture Corrector: This felt a little gimmicky to me. I tried wearing it for a day and have not tried again. Some may find it helpful. I never really gave it a shot.
One Trick Pony or Specialist?
The Chirp Wheel+ is a specialist that does a wonderful job on my mid and upper back. The problem with being a specialist is the lack of versatility.
With other rollers and balls I can do a number of stretches and massages on different areas of my body whereas with the Chirp, I have not found any other effective uses for it than to stretch out my mid and upper back.
However, being a specialist isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I have bone and joint problems, I’d rather see an orthopedic doctor who specialized in bones and joints than say a general practitioner who does a little bit of everything but without an expertise in anything.
If my main problem is in the mid and upper back, then a mid and upper back specialist that’s designed to help specifically for that problem is what I need. While the Chirp may not be very effective with my IT band and hip issues, I have other devices for that.
Cost is another flaw. The wheels are expensive. The injection molded wheels feel like extra durable and thick PVC piping which makes it hard to justify the cost but the foam exterior is nice and durable and the spinal canal groove is comfortable.
Because of the high cost I initially rejected the idea of buying some plastic wheels, even after the recommendation of my physical therapist family member.
Luckily, I have a wife who’s always willing to buy and try new things and it is because of her that we were able to discover just how effect these specialist Chirp Wheels can be.
Is the Chirp worth it? YES!
I’m happy my wife got the Chirp and I would recommend it to anyone who feels the need to stretch out their back. This really provides a satisfying way to do so.
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My baby niece loves Chirp too!