I've had an ArmAid for about a year now. Nice way to quickly cover the whole forearm (and much of upper arms too) after a hard workout -- to identify "trigger points" that need further digging into (either with the Armaid or one of my knuckles or some other external tool).
The design is clever and well-refined. The instructional videos are helpful.
It takes just a minute to make forearms feel 95% like new. You can massage them more precicely, if you have the time, but the ability to do it EVERY time after each session - what makes it worth spending money.
Not sure if it was intended, but it works on upper arm and calves as well - try it after a long hike.
I'm all for thera-canes for the back/neck but 100 bucks for this armaid thing seems a bit silly when stretching and a tennis/lacrosse ball produces the exact same results. It seems like one of those made for TV workout thingys that you could easily accomplish without spending money.
My sister, a non-climber but with chronic arm tendonitis issues form playing bass and piano, has the Armaid. It's pretty awesome, and it I had acute problems with my forearms, I would not hesitate to get one.
Seems to me that there's (at least) two different interpretions of the term "massage". And not just in this discussion, but in lots and lots of press reporting about recent scientific results about the effectiveness (or not) of "massage" I find great ambiguities over this.
One meaning of "massage" is sort of general rubbing of muscles, perhaps to improve circulation or in hope of reducing DOMS pain. Seems like some people practicing this sort of massage tend to want to "back off" if they encounter some especially painful spot. I'm no expert, but it makes sense that a tennis ball or foam roller would be good for this.
The other interpretation of "massage" is to first discover specific painful "trigger points", and then to apply very intense focused pressure and motion to those specific spots, really "digging into" each painful trigger point. Seems like the ArmAid (supplemented by a bony knucle or a single fingertip held rigid, or some other "blunt instrument" tool) is more suited for this kind -- that's how it works with my climbing muscles anyway. I'm not getting how a foam roller or tennis ball would be anything like as helpful for implementing this second interpretation of "massage".
I'm guessing the first meaning is what most people want for "massage", so I can see why they'd think that the ArmAid is overkill for that. But what I want for my climbing muscles (and have found pretty effective) is the second interpretation.