The 10 Best Handheld Massagers
10. Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax
9. Tapping Pro
8. Voyor Cordless
7. Renpho Rechargeable
6. Nursal HPC
5. Brookstone Active Sport
4. Homedics Action Plus
3. Thumper E501 Sport
2. Oregon Scientific Percussion
1. Pure-Wave CM7
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.