An Ultimate Guide To Electric Massager: Here Are All You Need To Know 2023


Once considered as muscle recovery tools for pro athletes, electric massagers have since become a must-have alternative for anyone seeking pain relief from tight, sore muscles. The best part is that they deliver more powerful massages and are way less expensive than frequent trips to the spa for physical therapy.

While anyone stands to benefit from them, it would pay to look into your options before buying one. When investing in an electric massager, many often pick up whichever model is on sale when they should first examine their needs. 

After all, electric massagers tend to perform similar essential functions from one model to the other but differ in price, quality, and features. So, whether you are an athlete looking to relieve sore muscles after an intensive workout or a remote worker suffering from a stiff neck from sitting for long hours, you might want to consider your needs before buying an electric massager.

Remember that finding the best electric massager for you will depend on your ailments and what you want to achieve. A compact high-end electric massager option will make sense if you want daily, targeted therapy. But a more budget-friendly model should do the trick if you want something you can occasionally use. 

For those who want to focus on specific areas of their body, it would help if you consider specialized features like types of head attachments and available massage settings for customized use. While we have covered tons of buying options in our reviews, there is still more to electric massagers that you should know about.

This article will take you through everything you need about electric massagers. We will discuss the art of massagers, how to choose the best electric massager for you, the pros and cons of electric massagers, how to safely use electric massagers, and a quick list of our highly-recommended electric massagers.

Let us dig in, shall we?

I. The Art Of Massager

While there is a debate on whether massage is an art or science, we believe it is a blend of both. It is one of the oldest practical arts that science recently picked on. 

Ideally, massage involves numerous different styles, approaches, and philosophies. In certain places, people classify it as part of healing arts, while others in other areas use scientific methods to regulate and standardize the practice.

Massage has been based on the movement of chi or life force in the body for years—something science is beginning to explore.

Yes, massage therapy is a modern trend with a long history of conventional, holistic natural healing systems dating up to 5,000 years ago. Its history begins in 3,000 BCE in India as a sacred system, practice, or art passed down through generations to relieve pain, heal injuries, and cure/prevent illnesses.

It is an art believed to restore natural physical balance in the body naturally. It later found its way to China and South East Asia in 2,700 BCE, combining with a blend of skills and practices of ancient Chinese medicine like spiritual yoga and martial arts. This further developed massage therapy, resulting in techniques like acupressure, acupuncture, and herbal medicine, which helped balance chi in various pathways.

The art later proceeded to Egypt in 2,500 BCE, further developed using bodywork techniques, giving birth to reflexology. In 1,000 BCE, Chinese monks brought the art to Japan, where the famous Shiatsu technique was born.

Due to association, Greeks and Romans picked it from the Egyptians between 800 and 700 BCE. Athletes then used the art to condition their bodies before competitions, whereas doctors combined it with herbs and oils for treatments.

In the 5th century BCE, Hippocrates touted as the father of medicine, used massage techniques with friction to treat physical injuries. Something that Galen, a Roman Physician, borrowed and used to treat emperors and other wealthy individuals in their homes in the 1st century BCE while the masses flocked in spa-like baths for full body massages.

Its popularity continued to the 17th century when pharmacology and technology influenced medicine until the early 1800s, when Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish doctor, created the Swedish massage technique. This technique was later improved in the 19th century by Johan George Mezger, a Dutch practitioner, incorporating today's designs and styles.

It was only in the 1950s when the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) was established to lay the necessary groundwork for the art of massage as we know it today.

The brief history shows that massage has undergone numerous phases of continuous transformation. It started as a pure art of natural healing until its incorporation into modern medicine as a science.

01. What Is Massager

A massager is a person or automated device that uses massage to relieve pain and relax. Given the long history of massage therapy and its evolution as an art and science until Joseph Mortimer Granville (an English physician and inventor) first patented an electromechanical vibrator for muscle pain relief in the late 1880s.

His invention, the electric vibrator, was a handheld electric-powered gadget initially known as a percusser or "Granville's hammer". In other words, it would be safe to say that this is the cradle of electric massagers.

Unlike conventional massage therapy, electric massagers were created to provide uniformity in stimulations and support higher frequencies and intensity of usage. Powered by electrical energy, these devices mainly provide rotations (friction), strokes (percussion), and heat (thermotherapy). This is how they keep muscle fibres active and regulate circulatory and lymphatic systems.

02. 7 Massage Types: Which Is Right For You? 

Whether you are researching for your first massage experience or have already had dozens before, you might be unaware of the many different massage types available today. Knowing their differences and unique speciality is the best way to find the right electric massager.

While many massage types can be referenced, there are seven main and most common options that you are likely to choose from. To help you find the best massage type that is likely to benefit you the most, here is a quick look into the 7 massage types:

i. Swedish massage

While you might already be familiar with the term, you might be unsure of what it entails. Swedish massage is a specialized technique popular for its soft, long, kneading strokes, usually combined with shorter, rhythmic tapping strokes. This massage type uses light to moderate pressure to release body tension and is ideal for first-timers.

Swedish massage

ii. Thai Massage

This Indian-based massage type dates back to 2,500 BCE and is best known for deep stretching. Otherwise referred to as "assisted yoga", it is an active massage type that focuses on rhythmic compression of muscles and acupressure to improve flexibility and reduce stress. It is a typical massage type for those looking to boost blood flow, relieve back pain, and boost energy levels.

iii. Sports Massage

Although the name leans more towards sports and athletics, this massage type is not only reserved for athletes or professional sportsmen and women. It mainly involves faster strokes with pressure point therapy, compression, or joint mobilization for targeted muscle pain relief. It is ideal for anyone looking to fasten recovery from sports injuries, relieve pain from repetitive motion injuries, and correct imbalances after a hard workout at the gym.

sports massage

iv. Reflexology

Reflexology is a massage type that aims to help restore natural energy levels. It is a well less known massage type that uses gentle to firm pressure on various pressure points on the hands and feet, thought to be interconnected with other body parts. It is probably the most effective type to help your body relax and sleep better.

Reflexology massage

v. Deep Tissue Massage

To be clear, deep tissue massage is neither painful nor uncomfortable. This massage type usually focuses on particularly troubled areas with knotted muscle groups. It mainly involves using slow, firm, more intense strokes with friction to relieve pain. So, if you have muscle imbalances, chronic muscle pain, or body muscle soreness, this could be the best massage type for you.

vi. Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage refers to finger pressure massage and is one of several centuries-old Japanese techniques which applies pressure to specific parts of the body to alleviate pain or loosen tight muscles. It is a more therapeutic massage type, and it would be best to seek medical advice in advance.

Shiatsu Massage

vii. Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Biologically, the human body builds up unwanted toxins and waste substances daily. Luckily, we have a lymphatic system to help flush these unwanted substances out and strengthen our immune system. The lymphatic drainage massage is a specialized technique that aims to help stimulate lymph flow in the body. It involves long strokes that move lymph fluids for organs to process and filter them, removing toxins and keeping you healthy.

03. Top 7 Type Of Electric Massage Devices

Like many other devices, electric massagers come in different forms, each designed to deliver specific massage types for certain conditions. Electric massager types can broadly be categorized either by feature or design and here are some of the main types you would probably find at your local shop or online today:

i. Heated Electric Massagers

Heated electric massagers mainly feature a heating function (customizable or not) to help soothe tired, tight muscles. Think of it as an electric hot compress with moving or vibrating parts for massage.

ii. Vibrating Electric Massagers

While some electric massagers come with heat, others don't. Instead, they feature vibrating nodes and offer various pulse options to soothe different levels of muscle pain or match different individual needs and preferences.

iii. Infrared Electric Massagers

Like the heated electric massager, infrared massagers heat tight muscles using varying red and infrared light wavelengths. This technology is usually best for targeted massage therapy because it penetrates better into the target area than any other massager. This way, it gets to help reduce cellulite and promotes better blood flow.

iv. Handheld Electric Massagers

By design, handheld electric massagers give you direct control of your hands. They mostly come in a wand form featuring numerous interchangeable attachments for different needs and moods.

v. Wearable Electric Massagers

This type of electric massager refers to massage devices you can wear or strap on yourself. The most common one is the massage belt. While they might sound right for your needs, you should not buy one to nap in. This is particularly dangerous, especially if it comes with a heating function.

vi. Cushion Electric Massagers

Cushion electric massagers are those that you can sit, stand, and lie on. Of course, they vary in shapes and sizes, mainly in the form of pillows and mats that you can easily carry around with you for some quick muscle pain relief.

vii. Stand-alone Electric Massagers

This type of electric massager refers to specialized massaging tools like foot baths and fully-equipped electric massage chairs, which you can lounge on for some time to relieve muscle pain. Although these options are not usually very portable, they are more effective. 

Now that you are fully conversant with the main types of electric massage devices, how do you choose the right one?

II. How To Choose A Perfect Electric Massager? 

It would be best to consider several pre-existing factors when choosing the best electric massager for you. Lucky for you, we have researched and compiled some main pointers to help you identify the perfect buying option for your needs. Read on!

01. Power

Electric massagers either come with rechargeable batteries or must be plugged into a socket. As a result, this influences its design making rechargeable or battery-powered electric massagers more portable and efficient than their plug-and-play counterparts.

Depending on where and how frequently you intend to use your massager, you should always keep this in mind. If the rechargeable one is your best pick, consider how long the charge lasts before purchasing.

02. Noise Control

Given how popular electric massagers are becoming, with people using them more often between work and home, it is always best to consider your daily environment. Since most electric massagers are motorized, they probably make noise and are usually best for home use. 

But suppose you are interested in something you can use interchangeably between different environments. In that case, you can go for those with modern-day quiet-technology to avoid being a nuisance at the workplace or gym. Also, these are best for you if you are looking to target areas near your ears.

03. Accessories

Electric massagers often strive to be as customizable as possible, and to see that it meets most of your personal needs, many tend to come with additional accessories. Look for a carry bag, instruction manual, and interchangeable attachments to complement your desired massage.

04. Adjustability

Given our changing preferences, the ideal electric massager can be adjusted accordingly. This can range in speed and other massage settings for a more versatile massage. This way, you should be able to maintain and improve your flexibility along the way.

05. Size

Electric massagers often come in different forms and sizes, offering endless accessibility. Whether you want something that you can quickly tuck into a corner, a travel bag, or beneath your couch, there are many options for you. Just consider how frequently you would want to use it and how much space you need to store it before making a buying decision.

06. Type Of Massage

Electric massagers can help you in many ways, including vibration, percussion, heat, and rollers. With so many options, it is always best to consider why and what you need the massager for, as there are specialized picks for different needs.

If you have doubts about your best pick, it will help to consult a qualified professional like your physiotherapist for medical advice, as this might not be reflected in this guide.

07. Materials

Different electric massagers are made with other materials, another important consideration before purchasing. To be safe, it would be best to choose one made with hypoallergenic protection to prevent allergic reactions when using it. 

Also, consider choosing one made with lightweight but durable materials like rubber, synthetic fabrics, or foam for longevity. Keep in mind that the best buying options usually have materials that are easy to clean, as this helps in keeping them in optimal conditions at all times 

08. Uses

Depending on your preferred frequency and intensity of use, you should be able to determine which options are best for you. A percussion gun with interchangeable heads is ideal for recurring ailments and intensive use. But electric massage balls might be more convenient for your case if you are adapted to different use intervals with varying stimulators.

09. Autonomy

Autonomy mainly refers to the ability to use something without any external help. While most electric massagers offer sturdy durability when massaging, even for long hours, reaching areas like the lower back or hamstring can be pretty tricky. 

However, with options that feature an ergonomic design and support multiple uses, you should be able to easily massage even those hard-to-reach areas on your body without any help.

III. Electric Massager: The Bad, The Good, and Everything in Between

Unlike traditional massagers, electric massager usually offers higher frequencies, varying intensities, and better uniformity that tissues need to loosen up. In this section, we will inform you about electric massagers, including their benefits, demerits, and possible consequences of misusing them.

electric massager

01. The Good

These are the main benefits of an electric massager:

  • Increases sporting performance: while it is said that practice makes perfect, muscles often get injured with too much workout. Electric massagers offer this possibility to help you condition your body before a competition or fasten muscle injury before a tournament, which gives you a better competitive edge.
  • Improves blood flow: massage therapy typically opens up blood vessels, allowing more oxygen, nutrients, and blood to circulate well through different tissues, enriching your muscle fibres.
  • Reduces tension: whether sitting for long hours at your office desk or sleeping in an awkward position, it is common for the body to build tension and get irregular muscle stiffness—something an electric massager can quickly help fix.  
  • Reduces pain: electric massagers tend to activate trigger points, making them ideal for soothing contractures and relieving pain around the associated areas, i.e., migraine relief by stimulating the neck and shoulders
  • Releases endorphins: like athletes, people who are always active throughout the day tend to get minor physical issues like cramps and contractures. But using electric massagers helps promote the secretion of feel-good hormones like endorphins, which further helps soothe the pain and relieve muscle fatigue.
  • Lowers stress levels: given our busy schedules throughout the day, our bodies tend to react to different situations with frequent muscle tension. But by using an electric massager, you relax tensed muscle fibres, increase feel-good hormones, and reduce stress-causing chemicals simultaneously.

02. The Bad

Electric massagers are truly divine. But there are instances when you should not use them or otherwise suffer significant consequences. Here are some cases where the use of an electric massager poses a substantial danger to your health and well-being:

  • Chronic illnesses: people suffering from chronic diseases like osteoporosis, chronic vascular problems, and arthritis should seek medical advice and approval from a specialist before using any massage device.
  • Acute inflammations: using an electric massager with such a condition can cause severe or chronic injuries to the affected parts. It can even hinder natural anti-inflammatory processes from containing the problem.
  • Traumatisms: applying massage directly to traumatized parts, especially from an accident and a fall from the stairs, is not good. Such ailments must be treated entirely before massaging.
  • Open wounds: pain from any cut (whether deep or not) should not be relieved by muscle stimulation or massage because this might complicate the injury.
  • Infected areas:  massage is not recommended for areas with allergic reactions or infection, as this might worsen as you stimulate the dermis.
  • General malaise and fever: massage therapy usually tends to increase body temperature. Therefore, using an electric massager when you have a fever is not advisable because this can complicate the condition and generate dangerous convulsions for neuronal functions.

IV. How to Use Electric Massager Safely

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to use an electric massager safely, from unpacking to operating it:

01. Read the Instruction Manual 

The first thing you should do right after unboxing your new electric massager is to read the instruction manual. This will help you familiarize yourself with the device much faster, providing a quick list of all available massage settings and features.

Besides giving you a quick head start, most manufacturers often include a list of precautions in the manual too. Also, remember that different models do not necessarily work similarly. That is why we highly recommend reading every individual manual separately for safe use.

02. Do Not Use the Massager Just Yet

As eager and excited as you might be, you should not use the massager just yet. After reading the manual and familiarizing yourself with the different settings and features, you should determine if you need to assemble other parts, charge it, or wait for it to warm up before using them. Once you establish these, then you can proceed to the next step.

03. Identify Your Target Area

Just like you considered your target area when choosing the right electric massager, you still need to reassess it. With knowledge of your massager's different features and settings, reevaluate where you want to use the device and how long you can apply it there safely. Any usage limits should have been highlighted in the manual.

04. Turn the Device on and Start with the Lowest Setting

No matter how much pain you might be in, starting with the lowest setting available is always best. This way, your body slowly gets used to the new sensation, allowing your muscles to warm up gradually, reducing the chances of injuring your muscles.

05. Proceed With Your Session

Now that your body is fully acclimatized to the sensation, you can adjust the massage settings however you like. But remember to observe the outlined time limits in the manual in case the massager does not have a safety mechanism. Doing so will help prevent overheating the massager (if it has a heating function) and over-massaging the target area.

06. Store the Massager in a Cool, Dry Place

If your electric massager heats up when in use, it would be best to let it cool down before storing it. Otherwise, put it back in the storage bag and keep it in a cool, dry place where children cannot reach it. Also, remember to clean it once in a while, as directed in the manual. This way, you are sure that the massager will always remain in optimum condition. 

V. Electric Massager 101: Our Highly-Recommended List 

01. Best Back Massagers

Back pain is a common worldwide problem resulting from inactivity to assuming bad postures in your daily endeavours. Whether acute or chronic, almost everyone suffers from it in their adult life. But the good news is that you can use any of these 8 best back massagers to relieve pain.

02. Best Hand Massagers

The hand is one of the most versatile parts of the body, and it consists of delicate, intricate systems that are prone to wear and tear due to its wide range of motion. Over time, this often leads to autoimmune ailments like arthritis that cause pain and stiffness. Try any of these 10 best hand massagers today for pain relief.

03. Best Neck Massagers

The neck is a crucial part of the body, offering support and movement functions to the skull. It is super flexible and allows for a wide range of motion. But this kind of mobility makes it prone to stiffness and soreness. Here are our 9 best neck massager products for quick neck pain relief. 

04. Best Knee Massagers

The knee is the largest joint in the body that connects the lower leg to the upper one. It is an integral body part that we all need for almost any movement. But given its support function, the knee tends to bear much stress and pressure from various everyday activities. As a result, the knee is highly susceptible to injuries and friction, which can result in painful chronic conditions such as arthritis. Lucky for you, here are our 10 best knee massagers for arthritis in today's market.  

05. Best Foot Massagers

The foot is one of the foundational parts of the body. They are flexible structures of soft tissues, muscles, joints, and bones that allow us to stand and perform activities like jumping and running. With such responsibilities, our feet also become stiff and sore with time. Whether you are training for the London marathon or commuting to work on foot, adding any of our best foot massagers to your self-care routine can help improve your life.

06. Best Body Massagers

Millions of people suffer from chronic pain and recurring body muscle problems worldwide. Whether from a regular workout, general burnout, or long working hours, you must be craving body pain relief. If so, here are our 20+ best body massagers for you.

Improve Your Life With The Help Of Electric Massager

Whether you’re dealing with sore muscles after a challenging workout or want to relax at the end of the day, an electric massager is perfect for you. A happy body is a healthy brain! When you receive an electric massager, it can take your worries away. It also helps promote serotonin production, which will make you feel good and sleep better at night.

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