10 Best Handheld Massagers | April 2017

10 Best Handheld Massagers | April 2017
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We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. While you're waiting for your next birthday or Christmas to get a gift certificate to a spa, you can try one of these handheld massagers in the comfort of your own home. Whether electric or manual, heated or cordless, they will help you work out those aches and pains any day of the week. Skip to the best handheld massager on Amazon.
The Gaiam Pressure Point is a manual model that targets sensitive areas on the arms and back. Its uniquely molded design is especially suited to increasing blood circulation, making it great for injuries or sprains incurred while playing sports.
  • fits in most carry-on bags
  • includes comprehensive user guide
  • not as powerful as other options
Brand Gaiam
Model 05-58255
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
The Panasonic Easy Reach Rolling Massager has three vibration settings, an elbow-angled design for reaching the lower back, and a "point" feature that targets shoulders specifically. It's a good value option given its price.
  • acupressure style massage
  • wide surface for arms and legs
  • large design not suitable for travel
Brand Panasonic
Model EV2510K
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
The TheraRub Percussion Double is a professional-strength model that comes complete with a dual head massaging action and a super long 14-foot power cord for optimal flexibility in any setting, from the therapist's clinic to your own living room.
  • variable slide speed control
  • massage heads are replaceable
  • wide handle may hamper grip
Brand Clinical Health Service
Model TT Percussion Massager
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The waterproof design of the Zyllion ZMA-17 make it a very versatile unit. It can be used in the shower while shampooing to massage the scalp and it also works great for both chronic and acute soreness brought on by working out or general fatigue.
  • perfect for a morning pick-me-up
  • fits comfortably in the hand
  • battery life is short
Brand Zyllion
Model pending
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
The Wahl 4196-1001 Heat Therapy comes with eight attachments and multiple vibration options that can help to provide deep heat penetration and target sore muscles. It's lightweight, so back and shoulder relief won't come at the cost of cramped hands.
  • facial and scalp massagers included
  • compact enough to travel with
  • lots of parts to keep track of
Brand Wahl
Model 4196-1001
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
Complete with dual-pivoting heads, the HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action is designed for use from head to toe with gentle, firm, and heated settings. However, the shape and position of its two nodes make it specifically ideal for neck rubs.
  • ergonomic handle for easy operation
  • sleek look and feel
  • great for muscle stiffness
Brand Homedics
Model HHP-350
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Styles II Deep Tissue is a cordless model that does away with the headache of having to be close enough to an outlet to use the unit. Just charge it up, hold it against any muscle knots or aches you may be suffering from, and enjoy hours of relaxation.
  • includes ac charging adapter
  • helps increase circulation
  • suitable for men and women
Brand Styles II
Model pending
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
With a 30 year track record of customer satisfaction, the Magic Wand is a basic option for anyone looking for fast, simple relief from muscle aches and pains. The newly-upgraded unit includes a speed remote for controlling the strength of vibrations.
  • 6 feet of cord for added mobility
  • lightweight and easy to hold
  • good for focusing on small areas
Brand Magic Wand
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
The Brookstone Sport Handheld features three interchangeable massage heads and a wide range of variable speed options to meet specific muscle pain management needs and personal preferences. It's ruggedly built, so you don't have to worry about it breaking any time soon.
  • long handle for flexible use
  • nodes are easy to attach
  • zippered storage bag included
Brand Brookstone
Model 672469
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
The Pure-Wave CM7 relieves tension in the neck, shoulders, hips, and knees, and comes with a number of specially-made tips, including ones for Shiatsu and Swedish-style massages. Its elongated handle means that no spot is hard to reach.
  • cordless design
  • features percussion and vibration
  • effectively releases knots
Brand Pure-Wave
Model pending
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Lesser Known Health Benefits of Massage

Everyone knows that a massage is the perfect solution for tight, tense muscles after a stressful day at work, or when you've overdone it in the yard again. If you seek out the chiropractor for lower back pain, often your treatment regimen will include some form of massage therapy.

But the benefits of massage go beyond soothing over-worked or injured muscles. Regular massage can be a vital part of maintaining your overall health.

A good night's sleep is as important to your total well-being as nutrition and exercise. A relaxing massage encourages more restful sleep. This total relaxation can help sufferers of insomnia and others who have trouble getting rest due to medical conditions such as anxiety, fibromyalgia, and depression.

A combination of massage and pressure point therapy is an increasingly common treatment to help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

Researchers have determined that just one massage produces measurable changes in the immune systems of healthy adults by increasing the white blood cell count, which plays a large role in defending the body from disease. This same study also found a decrease in stress-induced cortisol.

Regular massage can keep your skin looking younger. Before you spend money on expensive creams and serums, see what a facial massage can do to improve your complexion. The massaging action stimulates blood flow and encourages lymphatic drainage, allowing toxins to move out and nutrients to move in.

The next time you're looking for an excuse to get a massage, you no longer need to wait for a doctor's prescription or a gift card to a luxury spa. Just say you're doing it for your health.

Choosing the Right Handheld Massager

Truth be told, there's no substitute for a relaxing, full-body massage in a tranquil setting. However, few among us have the time or money to visit the chiropractor or get away to a luxury spa on a regular basis. A high quality handheld massager can be the next best thing.

These portable massagers deliver relief using either soothing vibrations or penetrating percussion. Percussive massagers are designed to mimic the experience of a Shiatsu massage. These units are most effective for those who want to treat sore muscles and back pain; however, some will find the pounding movement painful, especially on the highest setting. If you're just looking for a way to relax before going to bed, a simple massager with multiple vibration settings and a heat option is ideal.

The most important consideration when choosing your massager is what body part you intend to use it on. For a back massage, make sure the unit is long enough to access your entire back so you don't have any frustrating out-of-reach spots. If you want to concentrate on just your neck and shoulders, you can choose a smaller, lighter weight option.

For full body coverage or a customized experience, you can find massagers that come with interchangeable massage nodes in different sizes or a variety of other attachments.

Regardless of which model you choose, check with your doctor to make sure you don't have any underlying health problems that are a contraindication to using your massager. It's also important to follow the instructions carefully to make sure you don't use the unit in one spot for longer than what is recommended.

A Brief History of Massage Therapy

The practice of massage therapy can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Chinese texts and Egyptian tomb paintings.

The original Chinese text, "The Yellow Emperor's Classic Book of Internal Medicine" is said to have been written by the famous Chinese emperor Huangdi around 2600 BCE. This venerable text became a staple in Western massage therapy and other alternative medical training when it was first published in English in 1949.

The occupation of the modern day masseuse in America has its roots in the 1700s. In colonial times they were called rubbers. They assisted doctors in treating orthopedic problems and rehabilitating patients after surgery with manual rubbing and friction. At this time rubbers were uneducated and unlicensed, but many made a good living working with doctors, or as entrepreneurs until the introduction of medical licensing laws and more formal training requirements in the early 20th century.

In the early 1800s, Swedish doctor and gymnast Per Henril Ling developed the "Swedish Movement System," which laid the foundation for the style of Swedish massage commonly used today.

The other most common form of massage practiced in America today is the Japanese Shiatsu method. This modern day practice evolved as a combination of the Japanese practice of Amna and Chinese acupuncture. In 1964 the Japanese government officially recognized Shiatsu massage as a form of medical therapy.

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Last updated on April 25 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.