While traditional hand massage is a good and effective way to relieve pain, it’s not a good and sustainable option for your wallet. Which is why, physical therapists as well as fitness experts have teamed up to produce this thing called: a back massager. Still, many folks wonder whether they should really get one. In this post, you’ll see the exact answers. So now, let’s jump right in!
- 1 What is a Back Massager?
- 2 Should You Get a Back Massager?
- 3 The Benefits of a Back Massager
- 4 Different Types of Back Massager
- 5 Other Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Conclusion
What is a Back Massager?
First off, the back massager we’re talking about here is not the massage therapist who’d give you deep tissue or hot stone massage services. A back massager here is a device—both electrical and non-electrical—that’s specifically designed to deliver the similar effects a massage therapist can give you.
On the market today, you could expect to pay somewhere from a few bucks to a couple of hundred bucks for a back massager. The differences in price come with the differences in the device’s styles, functionalities, or sizes. Which all comes down to your specific budget and needs.
But you may be wondering at this point: While there’s good traditional hand massage available, should I get a back massager? Let’s see the answer in our next section.
Should You Get a Back Massager?
Massage, in general, is usually lumped in with other alternative medicine therapies like acupuncture, chakra, or reiki healing. While the evidence on the effectiveness of these therapies varied, there’s one thing we can say with greater confidence: Massage works.
In fact, many science-backed studies have shown that the right amount of pressure and heat generated from a massage onto the correct location or muscle group can bring a whole lot of benefits. But, we’ll leave that for the next section. So, stay tuned. Right now, let’s answer should you or should you not get a back massager.
While traditional hand massage is available and it works to a great extent, the hefty service price is what put many folks off. Let’s take, for example, a massage service in Miami. For a 90-minute relaxation massage that helps you de-stress and soothe your body and mind, the cost is $120.
Yes, and you guessed it, that’s $80 an hour. Considering the average wage in many states now, that’s 10 times the amount. Which possibly means, a typical worker would have to work 10 hours to get enough money for one hour of massage.
Hot stone massage and other focus sports massage are even more expensive. Plus, travelling to these massage centers takes time and costs gas money (if you’re not driving an electric care, of course). You may use these services on some occasions. However, traditional massage is not a very viable option to use on a daily basis.
What if you could get the similar effects of a traditional massage while don’t have to travel anywhere and could use it every day?
This is why back massagers are invented. They are a much cheaper and more sustainable option compared to traditional massage. They work better than self-massage as well. In fact, the team behind these inventions have the knowledge and experience about the body muscle groups and how pressure works on them. They have helped thousands of customers with back or neck pain issues.
One drawback, though:
While back massagers deliver great effects, they are not as good as traditional massage (which is why it’s so highly priced, you see). But they are very close.
Which is why, you should get a back massager if you:
- Want a cheaper option than traditional hand massage
- Need a more effective option than self-massage
- Can’t afford the time to visit massage centers regularly
- Need massage on a daily or weekly basis
The Benefits of a Back Massager
A while ago, we promised you a section on the benefits of a back massager. So, here goes.
It helps reduce stress
Nobody loves stress. It damages your overall physical and mental health over time. In fact, Mayo Clinic says that stress can cause headaches, upset stomach problems, and numerous other sleep problems.
Using a back massager, you can feel less stressed because massage helps relax deep tissue and muscle. In addition to that, your body will naturally release a whole lot of those “feel-good” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, or endorphin. In plain language, it’s that feeling you get when you help someone or when your kids wish you a happy birthday.
It reduces pain
In fact, many folks turn to back massagers because they want to reduce their back, neck, or shoulder pain without needing to pay expensive prices. Pain, usually, is caused when there’s too much tension in your muscle group. This, eventually, may block regular blood circulating through those areas.
A back massager can help you ease those tense areas, while improving blood flow in your overall body. With improved blood circulation, you will also reduce the problems of inflammations or swelling. A study published in International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork shows that an average 30-minute massage helped 53 participants reduce overall pain level and improved their well-being, relaxation and sleep quality.
It improves your sleep quality
Sleep is so important as you’ve probably already known. Deprivation of sleep can cause fatigue, a loss of appetite, a weaker immune system, and even depression. When your muscles and body are fully relaxed, using a back massager, you will fall asleep more naturally. Because the tension is taken away and your body circadian rhythm will naturally kick in, helping you sleep much better.
It helps your body heal
Because back massagers work by vibrating and using some sort of heat application, this in turn will help stimulate your muscle and blood vessels. If you’ve had a prior injury, using a back massage can help your body heal faster and safely at the same time.
Different Types of Back Massager
On the market today, there are basically two types of back massagers: electrical and non-electrical types. Let’s start with the non-electrical back massagers, which are also the cheaper option.
Non-electrical back massagers
This is a cane massager, or many call the thera cane. It’s great for shoulder, neck, or even back massage. There are treatment balls on the cane, as you can see in the image above. This helps ease muscle knots and oxygenate your blood flow. The price of a cane is somewhere around $20 to over $30. Some manufacturers even offer a lifetime guarantee on these canes.
S Shaped Massager
S shaped massagers, as you can see, look very similar to cane massagers. They are made from a mix of fiberglass and plastic, which are very durable materials. The main difference is that the S shaped has a bit more curve to it. Which makes it a little easier to use for a full back massage. The price for these is typically around $30.
Many fitness experts, physical therapists, and athletes love these foam rollers. The best thing about these is they are so light. Yes, holding it feels like there’s almost no weight at all. You can place them under your back while rolling up and down following the instructions to relieve muscle tension.
It really works. You’ll feel a bit tingling when rolling on the knots, and sometimes a bit painful (but that’s good pain as you’re healing). You may also feel some warmth around the area you’re targeting. But all in all, it helps.
Be aware of fake foam rollers. And the price for these are typically around $40; there are cheaper options. But be sure to check the weight limit as well.
Check out below for the 5 simple exercises you can do with your foam roller.
Video: 5 Foam Roller Exercises
Wooden Ball Massager
This is probably one of the cheapest options out there. It’s made of wood, so there’s no plastic smell or unpleasant chemical smell at all. Compared to the foam roller, these are quite heavier. These are not as long as the cane massagers, so it may be a bit difficult to reach certain parts of your back. These massagers may cost you $10, which is quite a good deal.
Electrical back massagers
Chair Back Massager
As you may have guessed, these chair massagers are much more expensive than the non-electrical massagers we’ve seen above. The best thing about these is that they require no effort from you. That means, you can just sit back, hit the button, and relax. The machine does all the heavy work for you. Some models even have heat pads that work kind of like those hot stone massage you’d get in traditional massage centers.
Sitting on these chairs and getting a massage, you’d feel like there’s a real massage therapist behind you masterfully kneading your shoulders, neck and full back. Ohh man, it feels really good. But with such great features, you’d expect to spend around $100 to over $200 for a chair back massager. It takes up space too, so be sure to plan out ahead.
Handheld Back Massager
You can hold these handheld electrical massagers just like those non-electrical ones. The only difference is these massagers vibrate and some add a bit of heat to the massage. Some models have wires which you need to connect to an electric source for every use. Some models run on battery like the 3-prong massager, which is wireless and very small and portable.
These handheld massagers are cheaper than the chair massagers you’ve seen above. Their price is usually around $20 or above, which comparatively is quite similar to the foam roller or cane massagers.
Belt Back Massager
This particular type of back massager is suitable if you or your loved ones suffer from lower back pain. Some models have rechargeable battery which is very convenient. You don’t have to deal with tangled wires or such.
What’s great about these is that they have heating feature. This is main feature of this belt massage. You wouldn’t get much kneading with the belt though. With some specific type, you can place the belt over your shoulders for a focus neck and shoulder massage.
Pricing for this massager type is around the mid-range of $40 and above.
Pillow Back Massagers
At this point, you may feel that: Why are there so many types of massagers? Okay, we totally get it. There are in fact many choices. But bear with us, we’re coming to the end of the list. And this type is called the pillow massager as you can see. Yes, it shapes just like your regular pillow. You can place it behind your back, neck, or shoulders. In other words, you can lay your head over it to enjoy a good massage.
With this type, you’ll get the kneading and heating effects. The price for the average model is around $50, pretty reasonable for the value and quality.
Okay, this is the last item on our list. It’s called the TENS unit or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. What does that mean? Word by word, “transcutaneous” means through the skin, and “electrical nerve simulation” is mimicking brain electrical signal. Together, this device helps send out low frequency and gentle electrical signal directly through your skin.
This is a choice many athletes and fitness experts choose because of its effectiveness and ease of use. Check out this post if you want to read more about TENS unit. Another great thing is, these TENS units are not overly expensive at all. On average, it may cost you some $20 to over $100 depending on the models and features.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Many people look for a back massager with different needs and budgets. Here are some frequently asked questions which you may find helpful for you or your family members:
Can I use a back massager on a pregnant woman?
Our best advice is to check with a professional or doctor first before using the massager on mom and the baby. The pressure, the heat, and frequency may affect the baby and mom with varying conditions. So, it’s best that you consult your doctor first.
How long can I use a back massager for?
Depending on the level of your pain, you may need shorter or longer sessions. An average session is around 15 minutes. A traditional back massage as you may have seen is 60 to 90 minutes. With a back massager, you can set an “auto-off” setting so the machine turns off automatically after the session is done.
Can I sleep on a back massager?
No. This is not something you would do. Prolonged periods of muscle kneading may damage or even cause bruising.
Can I drive while using the back massager?
No. Although we understand how long trips can be very tiring—especially for your back—it’s not a good idea to run the back massager while driving. Because the motion of the massage will be affected by the motion of your car on the road. So, it’s best to used it in stationery condition.
And that concludes our back-massager guide for this post. Hopefully you’ve been able to take away some good ideas about what a back massager is, what its benefits are, and what the different types of back massagers are available.
Remember: do not sleep on your back massager or use it while driving. Other than that, we wish you a safe and enjoyable use with these back massagers. Take care!