The 10 Best Self Massagers
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Nothing beats a good rubdown after a workout or when you have chronic aches and pains but, unfortunately, seeing a masseuse regularly gets expensive quickly. One of these self massagers can help you obtain cost-effective relief without having to leave your home or office -- or badger your significant other on a daily basis. We included both manual and powered options to suit every need. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 06, 2020:
We feel the term self massager can encompass both powered and manual options. As long as you don't need to rely on another person to get relief from soreness and muscle aches, we consider it a self massager. With that in mind, we decided to remove a few of the manual options and replace them with powered ones like the Renpho EM-2016C, which is a rechargeable handheld massager that is reasonably priced and comes with five heads to tackle various problems and areas. We also added the Opove M3 Pro, which is a massage gun like those often found in physical therapists' office these days.
On this update we eliminated the Stick Roller in favor of the Idson Muscle Roller Stick. As you probably guessed, both are stick rollers, but the latter has pronounced therapeutic spindles that we feel make it more effective than the former. We also removed the Happy Trigger because we felt it didn't offer as much versatility in treatment options as the TriggerPoint AcuCurve, and since they are both similarly compact for the type of product, we no longer thought it deserved a place. Plus, they are both available for roughly the same price.
If you are looking for something that allows you to reach practically every point of your back and shoulders without having to twist yourself into a pretzel, while also providing you with the leverage needed to keep deep into those problem areas, we recommend the Body Back Buddy and Nayoya Hook. Both have multiple nodules and handles for effective and easy use.
Those looking for something very passive will want to turn to the InvoSpa JC-668, which is a powered model you simply drape over your neck, or the Dr. Berg's Massage Tool and Einyou Myofascial Release, both of which you can place underneath or behind various parts of your body, allowing your weight to create the necessary pressure rather than the strength of your arms.
October 15, 2018:
We removed the Body Back Roller as we felt it was too difficult to use on many of your body parts without the help of another person. However, on offer from the same company, the Body Back Buddy dethroned our previously ranked number one item, the Nayoya Hook, because it provides you a bit more leverage, allowing you to dig deeper into your pressure points. Making its first appearance on our list, the TriggerPoint AcuCurve is both an effective and affordable option that most buyers would be more than happy with.
Sharper Image Heated Physiotherapy Massager Combing the benefits of heat and vibration massage, the Sharper Image Heated Physiotherapy Massager can be very effective at treating stiff muscles and joints. It is designed for use on the elbows, shoulders, and knees, and it can be strapped in place so you can go about other activities during use. sharperimage.com
The Many Health Benefits Of Massage
That’s good to hear, especially considering how healthy for you even the lamest massage can be.
If you’ve ever gotten a massage of any kind, even from someone who wasn’t very talented at it, it probably felt pretty good. It reminds me of an old saying: “Even bad pizza is still pizza.” There’s an adult version of that saying, as well, but whatever version you go by, the same can usually be said about massage.
There is a slight danger in getting a non-professional massage, however, especially if the amateur decides to incorporate some extreme techniques. Back walking, for example, is a significantly dangerous method of massage that can result in serious spinal injury if not performed by a certified professional. As long as your inexperienced masseuse doesn't try anything so ambitious, though, you should be just fine.
That’s good to hear, especially considering how healthy for you even the lamest massage can be. Massage does wonders to loosen up sore, tight, and aching muscles by working out knots and increasing blood flow to the massaged area. The human musculoskeletal system is incredibly complex, and applying massage in one part of the body can often reduce pain in another.
For example, I suffer from an old hockey injury that causes two of the bones in my right wrist to try to switch places. The muscles and tendons that help to keep those bones in place stretch all the way up the forearm to the area around the elbow, so when my wrist starts acting up, I hit the forearm with a little self-massage and relief is almost immediate.
Massage also relaxes the body as a whole, releasing a host of chemicals in the brain that promote tranquility. Anyone suffering from depression or anxiety can see their symptoms reduced by applying just a few minutes of massage each day.
Of course, depression and anxiety might make it hard for some people to maintain relationships that could grant them a free massage. These people could seek the help of professionals, but even inexpensive spas can get prohibitively expensive if you attend them on a regular basis. And if you’re new to the spa world, and you find yourself in the wrong spa at the wrong time, you could end up in a police bust.
That’s why it’s smart to employ a self massager. These handy devices make it so that you don’t have to beg your friends and family to rub your body down, reducing the risk of embarrassment and awkwardness on all sides.
How To Choose The Right Self Massager
A lot of the self massagers on our list must look pretty strange. Many look like nothing else in the world outside the pages of a Dr. Seuss book, and if you were to pick one up without knowing how to use it, you might put out an eye before you worked out any knots. You’ll also notice than none of these devices is electrical. There are plenty of excellent handheld massagers out there that plug into a wall or run on batteries, but the models on this list are decidedly analog. That means you can take them anywhere, and you never have to worry about them running out of juice.
You’ll also notice than none of these devices is electrical.
In an environment of such weird devices, it can be difficult to know which model or models would bring you the most relief. There are a few things you can come to know about these devices that will help you find the perfect tool for you.
For starters, those strangely curved pieces of plastic with all the little nodes on them are, despite their foreign appearance, among the easiest devices to use. Most are designed to give you access to your back the way many back scratchers do. The variety of node placement gives you the ability to reach more spots on the back with more leverage. Essentially, you line any one of the nodes up with an area you want to massage and push against the portion of the massager that’s in your hand on the front side of your body. You can work the unit in small circles and feel your cares melt away as the nodes invade your muscles.
The main takeaway from understanding these massagers in particular is that each item on our list is designed to target a specific area or areas on the body, with some providing much more reach than others. Consider where you need the most relief and make your selection accordingly.
Other Ways To Relax At Home Alone
After you’ve given yourself a few great massages, you might want to treat yourself to a whole home spa day. Given the availability of great relaxation tools on the market, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take some time to pamper yourself.
Of course, if you’re more interested in soaking the entire body than just your feet, you’re going to want to run a bath.
One of the most powerful ways you can induce a relaxed state is through the nose. We often take for granted what a sensitive part of our anatomy is the olfactory system, but science has shown us that it’s as deeply linked to our emotional centers as our eyes and ears, if not moreso. Investing in high-quality scented candles or an aromatherapy diffuser with top-tier oils will transform any space into a haven of relaxation.
Your feet are also among the most influential parts of the body, and sore feet can lead to everything from decreased energy to increased risk of some diseases. A simple foot spa can reverse these effects in seconds.
Of course, if you’re more interested in soaking the entire body than just your feet, you’re going to want to run a bath. Bubble bath has been popular for decades, but bath bombs have recently come along to replace it as the ideal way to deliver both soapy suds and healthy minerals to your bath water. As you soak in a hot tub, the warmth and moisture increase the permeability of your skin, allowing healthy minerals to pass into your bloodstream and make you feel fantastic.
When your spa day is done, you’re going to fall asleep rather easily. If you have the right mattress at your disposal, that relaxation will carry through the night and into the following day, making you feel a lot better about whatever lies ahead.