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The jury's out on whether Ricola's products are sweets or cold remedies; I must admit that I find them soothing when I have a cold, but I also like to carry them in my bag for long journeys as they're refreshing to eat even when you don't have a cold.
Ricola's sweets are all based on a formula which contains a blend of 13 Swiss herbs. Some of the varieties are more medicinal in taste than others, but these ones taste more like sweets to me, although they do contain Vitamin C and are probably more beneficial than other sweets if you do have a sore throat.
Lemon Mint is one of my favourite Ricola flavours. To some people, including my partner, the combination of fruit and mint is just wrong, but I admit I really like these and find them very refreshing. I also like the Orange Mint variety, but if these aren't to your taste there are plenty of other flavours to choose from, including Elderflower, Cranberry and Mixed Berry flavours.
Ricola sweets come in a flip-top cardboard box, which contains 45g of the sweets. The box currently sells for 1.79GBP at Holland and Barrett, but I always pick these up on 'buy one get one free' type promotions. Some of the varieties, particularly the original herbal lozenges, also come in a smaller tube. I find that a box of these lasts a while, not least because like many sugar-free sweets, too many of these can have a laxative effect, so I tend to stick to one or two at a time!
When I have a cold, I'd rather take these Ricola sweets than alternative, sugary lozenges. The ingredients are fairly natural and the flavours are soothing. Because these rely on a blend of herbs for their effects, they're suitable to take any time you want to protect your voice or just want a more natural sweet for a car journey. I'm not generally a big fan of fruit-flavoured sweets but these flavours have got me hooked.
Anyone who has cats will know that if you decide to go down the road of giving them treats, you'll have a hard time persuading them to look at ordinary food afterwards. Despite knowing this, we started picking up tubs of these Whiskas Temptations along with our shopping, and now they're a weekly staple.
Whiskas Temptations come in several varieties - salmon, chicken and cheese and beef - as well as similar sized pots of Whiskas treats aimed at dental health (Dentabits) and Whiskas hairball control treats. These treats come in 60g pots shaped like a cat's head, and they are often found on special offer priced around 1GBP, although small local supermarkets will charge a good bit more for them.
These are small, oblong-shaped crunchy treats, which are apparently soft in the middle, although I'll take Whiskas' word for that. The recommendation is to give no more than ten pieces each day to your cat as a supplement to their usual food. However, good luck to anyone who tries to stick to the recommended number - two of our cats in particular have become addicted to these and will cry for Temptations even when there's alternative food put out for them. In fact, one of them has become so spoiled that she likes us to vary the flavour of Temptations she gets, and will reject a flavour if she's already been given it earlier in the day - sure sign of an over-fed cat!
We tend to stock up on these when they are on special offer and we usually have the full range of flavours in our house. If you do manage to keep these as an occasional treat for your cat, the plastic lid fits snugly on to the tub and I would imagine that these would stay fresh for a while.
I'm giving Whiskas Temptations four stars because our cats do absolutely love them. They're not getting five stars, though, because they are supposed to be treats and whatever Whiskas puts in them, it's difficult persuading cats to eat anything else once they've got a taste for these. If you do decide to buy these for your cats, I'd advise storing them on a shelf the cats can't reach, as we've had cats bite their way through the plastic container to get these treats.
Vitamin D, often dubbed the sunshine vitamin because we produce it in response to exposure to sunlight, is one of those vitamins that has been tentatively linked to lots of things. Vitamin D deficiency has been suggested to have a role in conditions such as osteoporosis, depression, Alzheimer Disease and cancer, but there is very little evidence to back this up. I became concerned about my Vitamin D levels when I heard that deficiency may be linked to multiple sclerosis, which has a high incidence in Scotland.
I've no reason to suppose that I get as much Vitamin D naturally as I should. Living in Scotland, there's rarely the chance to be out in the midday sunny conditions that are important for the production of Vitamin D. The foods that contain Vitamin D are mostly things I don't eat - being vegetarian, I'm not going to get this vitamin from things like oily fish or liver, and although eggs and certain mushrooms also contain Vitamin D, I coincidentally don't like those things. Some foods (such as breakfast cereals) are fortified with Vitamin D among other things, but as a fussy Scottish vegetarian I decided supplements were the way to go.
These Holland and Barrett Vitamin D3 tablets are available in two strengths (25 and 10 micrograms) and each is available in a bottle of 100 or 250 tablets. The bottle shown in the picture contains 100 tablets of 25 micrograms, and this retails at just over 8GBP. Current NHS advice is not to exceed 25 micrograms per day.
I've been buying these tablets for a while now, and for some curious reason the size of them varies from time to time. For a while they were absolutely tiny, but are now larger, although they are still small enough to be very easy to swallow - they are only a fraction of the size of a painkiller. The tablets are white and start to dissolve quickly in your mouth, but they have no discernible taste and I sometimes just let them dissolve.
Vitamins are tricky to review because unless you're using them for some specific health improvement, it's hard to say exactly what benefit you're getting. If you're using them in a preventative way like I do, then it's 'no news is good news'. I find these easy to take, relatively inexpensive and they may have a role in stopping me from developing ill-health. Until more concrete evidence comes in about the role of this vitamin in the many illnesses it has been connected with, my choice is to make sure I get a decent daily dosage of Vitamin D. These tablets are suitable for vegetarians.
I first tried Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray when I had a heavy head cold and was looking for a decongestant. Apart from things like Lemsip, which have some decongestant in them, I could only find medication in capsule form, and as a vegetarian I try to avoid having to take gelatine capsules. The only other option seemed to be to try a nasal spray, so I bought this one from Sudafed.
The active ingredient in Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray has the catchy name xylometazoline hydrochloride. It works as an on-the-spot decongestant. As with all medications, there are some people who shouldn't take this, including those with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart problems, so it's best to read the packaging first.
To use the spray, you insert the long nozzle into your nostril and press down on the plunger, breathing the spray into your nose as it is released. I found this a weird sensation when first using the spray, almost as if I was firing the spray into my head. To get the spray right into the nostril, I found it best to sniff when using it, rather than just breathing gently (otherwise the spray doesn't quite go into your nostril but runs back out on to your face, which is not pleasant).
This spray does work very quickly and relieves blocked noses. The downside is that you can feel some of the spray running down the back of your throat, and it does leave a bit of a chemical taste. This is definitely not a product I'd go on using for any longer than I needed to, but when you're at the worst stages of a head cold and feel you can hardly breathe through your nose, it's worth considering this spray just to get a bit of relief. When my symptoms are less severe, I go back to using Olbas Oil, which is a much more pleasant, natural decongestant.
Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray is currently available from Boots for 3.99GBP for a 15ml bottle. Although this is only a small bottle, I've only needed to buy the spray once, as this is not a product you're going to use in large amounts.
Felix As Good As It Looks is the 'premium' end of the Felix range of cat foods, and tends to cost a bit more than their other selections. It's usually in the region of 4-5GBP for a pack of 12 pouches of this food, with each pouch containing 100g of food, which is a large single-meal portion for a cat. It's quite often on multi-buy offers in the supermarkets.
We buy this food along with many other varieties, having six cats in the house and one who is 20 years old and particularly difficult to feed. Any cat parent will know that their tastes can change from day to day, and as soon as you buy a load of their favourite food, they will no longer want it. We tend to buy multiple packs of food to keep the variety going for our cats.
As Good As It Looks is an odd choice of name for food which doesn't look very good at all. I'm biased, being a vegetarian, but this food has been made to look like big chunks of meat or fish in jelly, and has a less processed appearance than other cat foods. Unfortunately, the chunks of meat in this just look rather rubbery and inedible to me.
We always mash cat food before giving it to the cats, to make it easier and more palatable for them to eat. With this stuff, though, it's impossible to do more than give it a quick mix to distribute the jelly evenly, as the chunks won't mash down at all. The food comes in metallic/plastic pouches which are easy to tear open, so we just put this in a cat bowl, give it a mix and give it to the cats.
I'm always in two minds about this food. On the one hand, our cats absolutely love the flavours - in this selection there are two meat flavours and two fish, but you can also get all-meat and all-fish selections. They always start licking the jelly enthusiastically. On the other hand, this is really all they do with this food, so we tend to end up with a plate of dry chunks of the meat/fish left. Occasionally one of our younger and greedier cats will polish off the lot, but overall we get some wastage with this food.
The main reason we keep buying As Good As It Looks is our 20-year old cat. It can be a struggle to get him to eat at all, and if he licks the jelly from this food, at least it's a start and he does enjoy the flavours. However, due to the wastage of the actual chunks of food, this isn't the best value cat food we get.
We have four guinea pigs, named Blanche, Betty, Audrey and Mavis (spot the connection!). My partner first fell in love with these little creatures when she rescued two male guinea pigs a few years ago.
For anyone thinking of adopting guinea pigs, you'll notice that places like Pets at Home would much rather sell you two pigs than one. There's a reason for this. Guinea pigs are sociable creatures and they don't generally like being on their own. Rabbits are not ideal companions for a guinea pig - they like the company of other piggies.
Having guinea pigs is a big investment and a commitment. They are fairly active little creatures and like plenty of space to run around, so a large enclosure is a must. Many of the cages on sale in pet shops are too small for guinea pigs. We initially had ours in a cage with wood shavings and hay on the bottom, but have recently introduced a fleece blanket for them to lie on, having read that they enjoy this surface. Our cage is huge and the blanket takes up half the surface, with hay on the other half. The cage needs cleaned every two to three days. Guinea pigs also need their claws trimmed every so often, either by a vet or by a careful owner!
Guinea pigs should be given plenty of fresh hay each day, equivalent to their body mass. We also give ours a bowl of guinea pig kibble, and at night they get 'supper', usually a bag of salad, carrots or some cucumber (with the seeds removed because they can stick in their teeth). Guinea pigs are not slow to let you know if they don't like something. They also need a supply of fresh drinking water, which we ensure by fixing drinking bottles to the bars of their cage.
One of the best things about keeping guinea pigs is that they let you know when they're happy. They do a combination of running and jumping which is known as 'popcorning' and is extremely cute. They are also well able to interact with humans, making 'wheeking' noises to let us know when they're hungry.
If introducing a new pig, it's important to be careful - both in terms of making sure you don't have a potential breeding pair, and making sure they're going to get on. Guinea pigs can become a little aggressive towards each other when they're stressed.
All in all, guinea pigs make adorable pets, but I'd encourage anyone to invest in a good guinea pig care book before taking on these little creatures, because you do need to know what you're doing with them.
Felix Fish Selection in Jelly is one of the cat foods we buy most frequently in our house. With six adult cats, we like to find foods that most of them will eat (while still buying them individual treats according to their tastes), and this one is a staple.
This food comes in a box of twelve pouches, each containing 100g of the food. This is quite a big portion for a cat to eat (lots of cat food comes in portions of around 85g) and we usually find that one of our cats will start eating a pouch and others will take over.
The plastic pouches are easy to tear open, and we empty the food into a bowl and mash it with a fork before serving it to the cats. Compared to other pouch foods, Fish Selections in Jelly is quite easy to mash, as the fishy chunks are surrounded by lots of jelly, so the food stays moist and fresh-looking for a while after opening (although a couple of our cats love to lick the jelly and leave the actual food).
This selection comes in four fishy flavours: Saithe and Sardine, Tuna and Cod, Salmon and Trout and Shrimp and Plaice. The flavour selection is the only drawback with this cat food: while ours love three of the flavours, they don't like the Salmon and Trout, which comes in a pale pink pouch. We absolutely dread the time when we look in the box and only pale pink pouches are left, as our cat Gonzo gets downright grumpy at this stage and clearly holds us responsible.
Flavour issues aside, this selection from Felix is quite good value - we normally pay around 3GBP for a box, and this food is quite often on special offer in the supermarkets. It isn't as specialised as some of the foods we buy for our cats, which are geared more towards specific health benefits, but as an every day food, it's one they enjoy - apart from the dreaded Salmon and Trout.
We have four guinea pigs (Betty, Blanche, Audrey and Mavis) and they get through plenty of fresh water. It's vital to remember a supply of drinking water when you have small pets, and we have three of these water bottles on the go at any given time to ensure that the piggies can always get a drink when they need one.
Classic Crystal Deluxe water bottles come in two sizes - 600ml and 320ml. We have two of the bigger ones and one of the smaller ones just now. The bottles are made of a strong plastic, with a red plastic screw-on top and a stainless steel nozzle. At the end of the nozzle is a metal ball which prevents the bottle from leaking too much and allows water to come out when the pet's mouth comes into contact with the end of the nozzle.
Our guinea pigs have no trouble at all in drinking from these bottles, and we often hear the sound of the metal ball moving around as they're drinking, reassuring us that the bottle is working. The design of these bottles means that pets can drink as much or as little as they want and whenever they want.
I have noticed that these bottles can leak small amounts into the cage. This isn't a big issue for us as our guinea pig cage gets cleaned every couple of days. However, these bottles will definitely leak when used in transit, as I once discovered when taking small pets on a family holiday - the bottle had been leaking for the entire journey and the cage was soaked!
We fix these water bottles to the guinea pig cage using string or laces, which we tie through the bars of the cage and around the bottle to secure it (placing the string at a height which is out of chewing reach of the pigs).
I have noticed that coloured versions of the water bottles are available; however, I like the clear ones as you can tell at a glance when the bottle needs a clean. Over time, you do get greenish coloured deposits forming in the bottle and it needs a scrub. We tend to give our bottles a good rinse when refreshing the water and a more thorough clean when they start to look a bit dull.
These water bottles only cost a couple of pounds to buy and are a good investment, ensuring that small pets are kept hydrated and giving us peace of mind that they have access to drinking water when we're out.
Royal Canin Fit Adult Cat is a dry, biscuit-type cat food which is nutritionally balanced and designed to have certain health benefits for adult cats. The food is described as being aimed mainly at cats who spend most of their time indoors, and it protects against hairballs. As we have six adult cats who live indoors, the food is suitable for them although I'm not sure our cats are particularly 'fit', leading somewhat sedentary lifestyles!
We first tried this food with our cats when it was on a special promotion and the 400g bag had 100 per cent extra free. This food is quite often on offer, particularly on the ZooPlus website which we use to order our pet supplies in bulk.
We've given this food the nickname 'doughnuts' in our house, because the biscuits are shaped like tiny dark brown doughnuts. The biscuits are a particular hit with our oldest cat, who is 20 years old and somehow manages to eat them despite having lost all his teeth! He seems to really enjoy the flavour and persists with the biscuits until he manages to eat them. We tend to sit a bowl of this food out at a time and our other cats will also graze on it, and we never have any wastage with this brand.
Unlike with other brands, it's not immediately clear what flavour these biscuits have, but the list of ingredients includes poultry, pork and fish oil, as well as various other things including minerals and fibres. The fibres are supposed to help prevent hairballs and the minerals help with urinary health, which can be a big problem in cats.
As cat owners, of course, our main priority is finding foods which are good for the cats and which they enjoy eating, and this one seems to tick both boxes. Cats aren't slow to reject food that they don't enjoy, and this one has been a definite hit.
Royal Canin Fit is usually priced around 4GBP for 400g, and is available in larger packs up to 10kg. Although the larger packs seem to offer better value, we sometimes find that the cats go off biscuits once they've been open for a while (even though we store the food in airtight containers) so large packs are a false economy for us.
Our oldest cat is 20 and his appetite is variable at best. He goes through phases of hardly wanting to eat at all, and we are constantly trying to find new flavours of food to tempt him with. We discovered the Cosma Glory range of cat food while browsing on the Zoo Plus website, and it sounded different enough to be worth a go.
Cosma Glory cat food comes in three flavours: Chicken with Quail Eggs, Chicken with Lobster and Chicken with Tuna Caviar. These flavours stand in real contrast to the usual flavours of cat food we buy; they've definitely gone for the luxury flavours with this range. The cat food comes in multi-packs in two sizes of tin - you can either buy 170g tins or 85g ones. The 85g ones are definitely more suitable for our boy with his small appetite; these tins are ideal for providing a one-meal serving.
With all pet foods the proof of the pudding lies in the pet's reaction to the food, and as a long-term vegetarian there is no way I would taste any of these foods myself! Thankfully our cat seems to love them - he never finishes a whole tin, but one of our other cats always steps in and finishes it for him. In our house, you can judge the success of a cat food by how much you need to throw away - if there's a lot of the food remaining then it's a flop with six cats in the house. We don't tend to have any wastage with Cosma Glory.
This cat food does look like it contains decent quality pieces of chicken and the other ingredients. We always mash the food with a fork to make it more palatable to the cats, and this stuff is easy to mash and serve up. It has a decent balance of meat and jelly.
The one drawback with this range is one of the flavours, Chicken and Quail Egg. Someone somewhere must have thought quail egg would be a real treat for cats, but ours won't go near it. When you open this particular flavour, there are two little half eggs sitting on the surface of the food. We initially tried mashing these in with the food, but the cats wouldn't touch it, so now we fish the quail eggs out and dispose of them and the cats will happily eat the rest.
Cosma Glory is not the cheapest cat food on the market. The 24-pack of 170g tins shown would cost around 20GBP, and we normally pay about 4GBP for a 6-pack of the smaller sized tins. However, our elderly boy seems to enjoy it (minus the quail eggs) and with such a difficult to feed cat, we're just pleased to find something he likes.
We have six cats who all live indoors, and hairballs can be a bit of an issue. Because cats groom by licking their fur, they end up swallowing a lot of the fur and this can result in them hacking up hairballs - it can also lead to more serious digestive problems and blockages. To try and combat this problem, we were looking for a good brush to help our cats with grooming and remove a lot of the loose fur, and everyone we spoke to recommended the Furminator.
The Furminator comes in different varieties - some are suitable for dogs and some for cats, you can get them in large or small pet varieties and can specify long or short hair. The one we have is for 'large cats', which is an appropriate description of at least four of our lot!
The Furminator is a very sturdy brushing tool, with an easy-grip rubber handle and a stainless steel comb. The Furminator has a curved design and is very easy to control when grooming the cats. The teeth on the comb are very densely spaced and this makes the comb highly effective for teasing out any loose hairs that are lurking just under the surface - I was impressed by the comb's ability to do this without seeming to pull on the hair or, more importantly, annoy the cats.
I normally use the Furminator for a few minutes at a time on each of our cats (except for our oldest one, who is too small and skinny to be brushed). Cats are notorious for only tolerating so much grooming - they mostly enjoy being brushed around their heads and along their backs, but get a bit more resistant when you move the brush towards their tummies. Miraculously, most of ours seem to quite enjoy the feel of the Furminator. The tool gathers a huge amount of loose fur in only a few minutes, and this is easily removed from the Furminator, which also has a button you can press to free up the comb and clean it more easily.
The Furminator has definitely made a difference in our house, in terms of reducing the amount of fur shed by the cats and reducing the incidence of hairballs. The fact that the cats quite enjoy being brushed with it is a real bonus. We paid around 20GBP for our Furminator, which is more than I've ever spent on a hairbrush for myself, but this is an investment which has paid off.
Olbas Oil is one of those products which has become a classic just because it works so well. It's a staple in my house, and is the first thing I reach for at the sign of any congestive cold symptoms or sinus pain.
Olbas Oil contains a mix of essential plant oils, including eucalyptus oil, juniper berry oil and mint oil. I find eucalyptus and mint especially helpful in cutting through the unpleasant congested stage of colds, and because of the natural oil scents this is really pleasant to use.
A 28ml bottle of Olbas Oil costs just over 4GBP and it lasts for ages - a bottle tends to stay in my cupboard for a good couple of years, which makes it much better value than other cold remedies.
The oil is versatile in the ways it can be used. My favourite is probably just to put a few drops on to a tissue and hold it close to my nostrils to inhale the oil. As well as being great for congestion, it is the only product I've found that gets to the heart of sinus pain - it is unique in the relief it provides when you inhale it and I can feel it easing my sinus pain almost immediately - once my eyes start to water, I know it's doing its job!
When I have a head cold, I also like to put some of the oil on a tissue and slip this inside my pillow case. It works unobtrusively through the night to relieve that horrible feeling of congestion that makes you feel as if you can't breathe. It also helps give me a break from my cats during the night, as they don't like the smell on the pillow!
Olbas Oil can also be used in a bowl of hot water as a facial steamer and can be rubbed into the skin, although I tend not to use it in these ways. I imagine it might work in the bath as well, as I used to add eucalyptus oil to a bath when I had the beginnings of a cold.
As with all medicinal products, there is information enclosed - for example, a smaller dosage is recommended for young children, and the product shouldn't be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. On the whole though, this is a natural product which in my experience beats all the expensive decongestants hands-down.
I live just round the corner from a branch of Superdrug, so I'm familiar with lots of their ranges, but only recently tried their own brand of fruity-scented shower gels. I picked up a few of these to try when they were on a '3 for the price of 2' offer, although they normally sell for 99p anyway, so it's not as if they usually break the bank!
This particular scent, Orange and Satsuma, was my favourite of the shower gels I tried. I do love citrus scents and this one was exactly right - really refreshing and orangey, and just strong enough to leave behind a nice fresh smell in the bathroom but not enough for me to walk around smelling like an orange for the rest of the day.
These shower gels do contain a fair number of chemical ingredients, but they don't contain unnecessary paraben preservatives which is a relief - I recently had a Boots shower gel which was so full of preservatives it said it would last for two years after opening - not necessary in a cheap shower gel!
One of the best things for me about Superdrug is their commitment to making their own brand cruelty-free. These shower gels are approved by BUAV and sport the 'leaping bunny' logo, which is a sign that they've stuck to stringent cruelty-free standards. The shower gels are also suitable for use by vegetarians and vegans.
I used this shower gel for daily use and found that it lathered well using a fairly small amount. The bottle is of the design that stands up on the edge of the bath, and it opens via a plastic tab on the bottom. This may be an annoying design for those who prefer shower gels to hook over the shower, but it worked fine for me.
I did try a couple of other shower gels in the same range - the jury's out on the Lime and Ginger scented one as it skated a little too close to a 'bathroom cleaner' smell for me, but I'd definitely buy the Orange and Satsuma variety again, as it was such a zesty, uplifting scent.
I normally buy the cheapest varieties of generic painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, as I've always found there wasn't much difference between those and the expensive, branded varieties. I can't remember how I first came to buy these Boots Ibuprofen Caplets, but I must have been in a small branch of Boots with a restricted choice, as these cost £1.59 for a pack of 16 caplets of 200mg each, which is a good deal more expensive than the cheaper ranges.
I tend to use ibuprofen for general pain relief purposes, including muscular aches and pains. I don't use this drug as much as I previously did, because I've become more aware that it can make me a little more likely to have an upset stomach. As with all painkillers, I tend to use the lowest dosage I can and for the shortest time. Ibuprofen should not be used by people who have certain pre-existing conditions such as stomach ulcers, and as with all medications it's important to check the enclosed information for directions and suitability.
When I do want to shift aches and pains quickly, however, this particular brand of ibuprofen has become my first choice. I don't know exactly why they work more efficiently than the other brands I had been buying, but they seem to be particularly fast-acting and effective. I'm not someone who would advocate paying through the nose for the big-name brands of painkillers as I don't generally think you get what you pay for with these products, but in my experience these Boots caplets are worth paying a little more for.
One difference I have noticed between these and other ibuprofen products is the coating on the drug. Most ibuprofen tablets come with a hard sugar shell on them, but these caplets have just got a thin film coating. I wonder if this is more quickly digested and this is why I have noticed a difference? The caplets are still smooth in texture and their small, slim shape makes them easy to swallow.
I tend to take one or two caplets with a drink of water. The water is important, because I have noticed that ibuprofen can leave me with an acidic after taste if I swallow it without a drink.
For someone who isn't usually at all brand-loyal with painkillers, these have become a staple in my house. Whatever the reason, they just work more efficiently and effectively than others I've tried.
The Omni Massage Roller comes in different varieties, and the one I am going to review is the heavier version with the metallic ball bearing, which costs a bit more than the plastic version shown. I paid around £30 for ours, and you can still buy it for this price from various outlets online. I decided to go for the pricier version as my partner and I were always suffering from knots in our shoulders and backs and I thought this one looked like a more substantial massager than the plastic ones.
The steel ball in this roller weighs in at 700g, so as you can imagine, it does a lot of the hard work in achieving a deep tissue massage. I find that I have to apply very little pressure when using this roller, as the weight of the ball means you really just have to move it over the skin and the ball turns to provide the benefits. In my experience the movement of the metal ball is very smooth and it keeps turning as you move it over the skin.
One possible disadvantage of the metallic version of this roller is that it can be very cold to the touch when you first start using it, which can add a bit of shock value if you just apply it straight to someone's back! However, I normally try to warm it a little first by holding it in the palm of my hand, and this makes for a more pleasant massage.
The roller has a plastic, easy-to-grip base and it is very simple to control. The weight of it does mean that your wrist might become tired after using the roller for a while, but this is nothing compared to the fatigue of trying to do a deep tissue massage or get rid of stubborn knots using just your hands.
The Omni Massage Roller can be used with creams or oils, although I mostly just use it as it is. It can be taken apart for cleaning and is quite an easy thing to maintain.
The metallic version of this roller is recommended for professional as well as home use. In my case, I'm just an amateur wanting to relieve painful muscles and shoulder knots, and I think this massager was a good investment as it's such an easy thing to use and really takes the hard work out of massaging.