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It Came in the Mail

Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page P02

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Massaging pen.

AIMED AT: Travelers who knot up when signing hotel bills or doing crossword puzzles on long flights.

HOW MUCH: $20 for the pen and battery.

BUT DOES IT WORK? Nothing can cramp the muscles like filling in 6 Down on an airplane's cramped fold-out tray -- or signing a hefty lodging bill. For those times when you can't fit in -- or afford -- a massage, this nifty gadget can at least bring the stress level down a notch. The pen, which impresses with its silver-bullet shape, writes like, well, a plain old pen. But its secret side made us want to ditch our Bic. When we pressed the non-inky end into our achy areas, we heard a soft hum, sort of like a dying electric razor. As we pushed harder into our skin, we felt an odd but enjoyable vibration. Encouraged, we shifted the pen to our neck, but realized we looked like Frankenstein. Admittingly, this tool doesn't have the hands of Olga the masseuse, but remember: Olga can't sign for things or plug in the answer for "Gabor." A fair trade-off.

-- Andrea Sachs

The massage pen is available through Red Envelope, 877-733-3683, www.redenvelope.com.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


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