Bodywork To-Go: Wave Tools Therapy All-in-One Massage Tool and Arete Scraper Review


Bodywork To-Go: Wave Tools Therapy All-in-One Massage Tool and Arete Scraper Review

Created by two climbers turned Physical Therapists, Wave Tools Therapy offers two portable soft tissue massage and myofascial release tools that lower the barrier to entry for routine bodywork. Hailey Moore has been using the original Wave Tool for years and, below, shares a brief review on why it and its successor, the Arete Scraper, should be essential for every cyclist.

I generally consider myself to be pretty disciplined when it comes to maintaining preventative and recovery regimens. I’m an eight-hours-a-night kind of gal. I eat my veggies, and I do PT and strength exercises weekly to ward off compensatory biomechanical patterns.

It feels good to feel good, so I don’t really consider any of the above a chore. But the one recovery practice I’ve just never been able to make a habit of is foam rolling.

I have a foam roller—one of those mean, knobby things—that I keep in the living room right beside a yoga mat, optimistically thinking that this convenient placement will make me more likely to roll out my legs in the evenings before bed. Wishful thinking indeed!

On the rare occasion that I do pull it out, I try to ease into things by working on my calves (always tight) before moving up to my IT bands and quads (always tighter), but the whole process feels negatively reinforcing. On top of the actual discomfort of putting some large percentage of my body weight’s pressure onto the muscle, it takes a lot of effort to modulate pressure on those big muscle groups, and every quad-rolling session ends up feeling like a mini core workout, and I end up giving up pretty fast.

So finding the Wave Tool was a revelation.

About the Wave Tool

Partners and climbers Laura Schmonsees and Jeff Giddings first started developing the Wave Tool in 2016 and launched the product in 2017. Based in Boulder, CO, both are long-term climbers and Physical Therapists—and Laura’s first career was as an AMGA-certified Rock Guide—so the pair have seen and had their fair share of outdoor recreation-related injury. The concept for the tool was really driven by their patients, though, who would often ask for ways to help treat their own injuries, or engage in more active recovery, between bodywork (i.e. massage, dry needling, etc.) sessions.

As Laura tells it, when the couple brought home clay to start molding prototypes they weren’t angling to start a business, they were trying to provide their patients with a more accessible and affordable, solution to effective recovery practices. The end result of those early clay models is the blue fiberglass/nylon composite tool shown here. It features four “corners” (two more rounded for massage and two with thinner edges geared toward scraping) with four additional curved edges in between.

The tool loosely resembles a gua sha stone, but the round edges are rounder, and the thinner edges are a bit more acute. Laura explained to me that while the Wave Tool shares certain functional principles with a gua sha stone—like increasing blood flow to the targeted area—she and Jeff intentionally tapered the tool’s thin edges at a sharper angle to target adhesions and scar tissue.

Held at a 45° and scraped across soft tissue, the sharp edge of the tool acts like a comb through hair, leaving the untangled locks (or healthy fibers) unharmed while, with a little patience and repetition, working out the knots from damage. Although many of their early clientele were climbers, the versatility of the tool makes it appropriate for a wide range of active user groups seeking to give their bod a little TLC every day, or specifically work on damaged tissue.

As a follow-up to the original concept, Wave Tools launched the Arete Scraper, which utilizes a simplified, slimmer shape and is made from medical grade 304 stainless steel. Whereas the original composite tool is best used with a balm or salve, the stainless steel construction lends the Arete a slightly smoother feel when used on skin alone.

Applications for Cyclists

As an inherently repetitive motion, cycling is a great catalyst for overuse injuries and the older I get, the more I am forced to be aware of the importance of routine bodywork to try to ward these off. Tight quads can cause problems down the chain by tugging on knee ligaments, as tight calves can put similar strain on the Achilles. But professional bodywork is expensive, and I certainly don’t have the extra cash to go for a regular massage.

While I routinely neglect the foam roller stationed in my living room, I keep the Wave Tool and Arete Scraper on my bedside table and readily reach for them at the end of the day. For more targeted work, like Achilles tendon or IT band work, I prefer the variations of the original Wave Tool. If I just want to get some blood flow to my quads of calves, the Arete Scraper is a nice option.

I’ve mentioned the obvious cycling applications already—quads, calves, Achilles—but it’s worth calling out its effectiveness in the more overlooked areas, too. It’s great for smoothing out crunchy arches, hamstring work, and even getting into the small stabilizing muscles on the sides of the calf/shin.

And, if you can rope in a partner, the most rounded edge is wonderful at working on tight trapezius muscles if you’ve been logging long days in the saddle or riding rough stuff (or, if you’re a human with a pulse and like neck massages).

The original Wave Tool retails for $49.99, and the Arete Scraper goes for $69.00. For context, the last 45-minute dry needling session I got set me back $95, so it shouldn’t be a stretch to say the tool will—literally—pay for itself. Wave Tool Therapy is a small operation—just Laura and Jeff—so they’re still battling the headwind that is economy of scale.

And, on my last visit to her practice, Laura told me that she’s yet to find a factory whose mold results in their ideal sharpness for that bottom edge, so she and Jeff hand sand each Wave Tool before shipping to get the edge exactly right.

In addition to affordability, the other most compelling perk of either tool is sheer portability. Of the two, the composite Wave Tool is the lighter option (116g vs. 178 for the Arete Scraper), and I’ve packed it (and a small tin of balm) in my frame bag on vert-heavy bike tours or when I was worried about a chronic injury flaring up.

It feels good to carve out five minutes before crawling in my sleeping bag to give a little bit back to the legs after a hard day (though I will recommend using a wipe to clean off your legs, etc., before applying any balm and scraping, otherwise you end up scraping off all the grim from the day and it’s kinda gross).

Unlike making bodywork appointments fit into your life (much less paying for them) or willfully ignoring that foam roller in the corner of the room, the Wave Tool and Arete Scraper are a pretty low lift to taking better care of your body. They literally put recovery in your hands, whether you’re sitting on your couch or the side of the Colorado Trail.

For more instructions on how to use the tool, visit Wave Tools Therapy’s Vimeo or Instagram.


  • Lightweight and portable—throw it in your bike bag on your next tour!
  • Less expensive (by far) than regular body work.


  • Perhaps not as effective the “hard reset” you might get from dry needling, but effective at mitigating the need for PT/body work in the first place.

Check out more at Wave Tools Therapy