A wooden polygonal massage tool.
Courtesy The Wax Apple

Be Your Own Masseuse With These Handcrafted Massage Tools

By Aileen Kwun
February 15, 2020
2 minute read

Designer Juliana Huang spent much of her childhood in Taiwan, before moving to Los Angeles after high school. Living halfway around the world fostered an appreciation for everyday objects found back home, and with her project, The Wax Apple—affectionately named after her favorite fruit native to Taiwan—she’s able to share a little piece of her culture with a stateside audience. A catchall moniker for her roving series of pop-ups, events, and food workshops, The Wax Apple was “never intended to compete with the mass market,” Huang says (especially in the age of Amazon), though she does keep an online shop. “I find that the objects are most powerful when you can physically touch and see them.”

Often scouted with the assistance of her grandmother, many of Huang’s picks support the work of artisans whose generations-old crafts traditions are slowly fading, along with their local dialects. Among the wares are home goods and accessories, monk-wear clothing, and shoes—as well as a collection of handheld massage tools, which caught our attention in particular. Crafted from natural materials such as ebony wood, cedar, and oxhorn, the little pocket-size tools for self-care take on a few different forms, each designed to stimulate specific pressure points. A massage tool meant to be squeezed in your palm resembles an eight-sided die; another, intended to relax the eyebrow, comes with two snail-like tentacles to run alongside either end. Soothing to body and mind, the abstracted sculptural forms make for beautifully crafted objects themselves—and the perfect thing to have on hand for a long flight.