According to the American Chiropractic Association 80% of the population experiences a sore back at some point in their lives. As a former NCAA Division I athlete and current golfer, I happen to fall into this category.
When I was asked to try the Hug by KOALA™ I was reluctant at first. There are a lot of gimmicks out there to "help" your back and a lot of them are marketed to golfers. I did some research before committing and asked myself "could this really be worn while playing golf or hitting golf balls?", the answer is yes.
What We Like
First, it's easy to use. There are no harnesses and you're not required to lay on the ground or sit in a chair, it's the complete opposite. The Hug is designed so you can be active while wearing it and not miss your favorite activity (golf) while helping your back pain. Simply adjust the sides so it fits you (it's very easy) and put it around your lower back until you feel a little bit of pressure, it should be comfortable on you.
Second, it corrects posture. The majority of people need help correcting their posture and I'm no different. Since I have minimal back pain, I was most excited to see how my posture could improve. The first thing I noticed was how it repositioned me. I was immediately upright and walking taller. The impact was immediate and when I took the Hug off, I was able to recognize the correct way I should be walking, sitting or standing.
Finally, it comes with a video. Pop it in your computer (or DVD player) and they walk you through a variety of exercises to help you use the Hug properly. They do note to consult your physician prior to engaging in these activities, something I did not do. It's that simple.
I Had Others Try It
So the Hug by KOALA worked for me but I wanted to be sure I wasn't falling for some marketing. I had two other golfers give it a test run while on a golf simulator. One of them was a 19 year old college student and the other was 40 year old PGA Teaching Professional. I wanted their opinion on what it was like to hit golf balls while wearing it.
Both golfers reacted similarly as I expected. When they put it on at first and took a couple of swings, they weren't impressed. I then went into detail on how to wear it and adjust it so it worked for them. After hitting golf balls for a few minutes each, they began to see an impact and notice back pain they had was not as prevalent.
I want to be clear about this, you will notice the Hug is on you. It's not a miracle device that has no weight to it, you will know you're wearing it. I did and so did these guys. We all agreed it's something we would want to wear for a full round of golf (4-5 hours is a long time) but it's certainly something to wear while at the driving range or while stretching. For the three of us, it certainly had a positive impact.
I'm not a doctor (you should obviously consult yours before taking any medical steps) but after using the Hug by KOALA™ I was pleased. Having some discomfort in my lower back, it was a simple solution to help the pain and correct posture. If you have serious back pain, it may be effective over time that's something you need to discuss with your physician.
What: Hug by KOALA
Where: Brookstone & Sharper Image (Click here for full list of where to buy the Hug)
Why: To help correct back pain and posture.
Website: hug by KOALA