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Your back is an extremely intricate structure composed of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, so it’s really no wonder that up to 80% of people will experience some form of back pain during their lives.
It’s often assumed that back pain predominantly affects older people, but the truth is that it can affect anyone at any age – even young people. For this reason, keeping the muscle tissue in good health around this area is vital. So how can you do that? Well, one of the best ways is getting a back massage.
Modern technology means that it’s no longer necessary to seek out a masseuse to get to those hard-to-reach areas like your back – there are products on the market which allow you to have a back massage in the comfort of your own home.
In addition to back massage tools, foam rollers also provide a quick and easy way of relieving pain and healing injuries, and they can be used on multiple parts of your body.
However, if you’re looking for a luxurious all-over massage and you’re working with a bigger budget, zero gravity massage chairs are also well worth checking out.
So, if you’re ready to sit back, relax, and feel all the tension leave your body thanks to the best back massager on the market, this article is for you. How do you find which one is the best? Simply read on!
The History of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is an ancient technique dating back as early as 3000 BCE and is a key pillar of holistic medicine. It is extremely powerful because it can help heal a range of medical and physical illnesses – some people even liken it to a spiritual experience in the right settings!
It all started in India, where massages were considered to be a sacred system of natural healing. Massage therapy was passed down through generations to relieve pain, heal injuries, and prevent and cure illnesses.
In roughly 2700 BCE, massage therapy traveled to China. It began with the art of acupuncture – which involved applying needles to the body’s meridian points – and evolved into a pressure treatment using hands rather than needles.
Next, reflexology found its origins in Egypt at around 2500 BCE. Following this, Buddhist monks in China brought massage therapy to Japan in 1000 BCE, and their unique approach became known as Shiatsu.
In Ancient Greece, massage techniques were used by athletes to condition their bodies, and the use of herbs and oils in addition to this led to aromatherapy.
Since then, massages have become a popular holistic treatment for a range of ailments. Back massages, in particular, can have wonderful results for certain injuries such as slipped discs and are often used by professional physiotherapists.
The Benefits of Massage Therapy
There are so many benefits of massage therapy, some physical and some mental.
Reduced Muscle Tension
Your spine is partly responsible for keeping your body upright, so, commonly, your muscles in this area will become tense and sore. Also, if you have an injury in another area, your back will often have to compensate for it, causing additional pain, which can be eased through massage.
The pressure created by the massage moves blood through congested areas. Therefore it can be beneficial for healing damaged muscles.
A lesser-known benefit of massage therapy is that it can actually make you feel less stressed.
Reduced muscle tension leads to increased mobility.
Improved Skin Tone
Massages reduce tension within the skin and connecting tissues. This causes surface capillaries to dilate, giving your skin an additional healthy glow.
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Massage therapy has mental benefits too! It can leave you feeling refreshed and positive, reducing anxiety levels and boosting your mood due to the release of hormones.
Different Uses of Back Massagers
There are several different purposes that back massagers can be used for:
- Relieving stress.
- Relieving pain.
- Relieving tension.
Different Types of Back Massagers
Manual back massage tools are handheld, and due to the difficult-to-reach nature of your back, they usually require a second person to do the massaging. However, they offer a portable and cost-effective way of relieving stress.
However, some have been designed with extra-long handles so that you can use them anytime, anywhere, all on your own. Others are floor-based, massaging your back as you stretch across them.
Often, manual massage tools are made from wood or plastic and are shaped to put gentle pressure on the area they are targeting. This pressure can be created via a moving ball that rolls across the skin or a textured surface (for example, soft rubbery spikes).
Electric massagers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and intensities. Some function via a gun-like mechanism that digs deep into the muscle tissue (it sounds painful but relieves tension like nothing else!), while others take a more gentle approach, with gently heated or cooling massage nodes.
Many electric massage tools come with different settings to decide how intense you want the experience to be. While some have to be plugged into a socket, others are rechargeable, meaning you can take them with you wherever you go.
You can even get electric massage chairs that focus on all areas of the body!
Manual vs. Electric Back Massagers
Manual and electric back massagers have pros and cons, making them suitable for certain situations more than others. To get a full picture of the differences between them, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, keep reading.
Advantages of manual back massagers
- Portable – Because they don’t require a power source to function, manual back massagers can be taken anywhere and used at any time without ever having to worry about finding a socket or running out of charge!
- Affordable – Portable back massagers are often much more affordable than their electric counterparts, so they’re ideal if you’re on a tight budget.
- Control – You are 100% in control of your own massage experience. If you feel tender or have sore muscles, this is beneficial as you can set the intensity.
Disadvantages of manual back massagers
- Hard work – Having a massage is supposed to be a relaxing experience, but with manual back massagers, you have to put in the work!
- Fewer options – Electric massage tools often have different settings and temperature controls, whereas these features are lacking from manual tools.
Advantages of electric back massagers
- Relaxation – You can sit back and let the massage tool do all the work.
- Adjustable – Electric massage tools often have different intensity settings to suit all body types and a range of purposes.
- Temperature Control – Some electric tools can be heated up or cooled, which can aid with healing and extra relaxation.
- Quality – These tools are specifically designed to imitate the movements of a professional masseuse, so you can be sure your massage is doing everything it should be for your body.
Disadvantages of electric back massagers
- Expensive – Many top-of-the-range electric massage tools come with a hefty, prohibitive price tag.
- Reliant on power source – To work, electric back massage tools either need to be plugged in or fully charged, the latter of which can be frustrating if you forget to recharge the product.
Manual Back Massager Best Use Tips
- Find a setting where you are totally comfortable and at ease.
- You can choose to either take your shirt off if you want a direct skin massage or keep it on if you are feeling particularly sore or sensitive.
- Use massage oil or lotion for a more luxurious experience.
- Apply gentle pressure at first to find your optimum level.
- If you are helping sore muscles recover, remember that the massage might sometimes be slightly painful or uncomfortable, but this will actually help you heal.
- If the pain in your back fails to go away over a few weeks, you should seek the help of a professional.
- Choose a massage tool that suits your specific needs.
Electric Back Massager Best Use Tips
- Choose a massage setting that feels comfortable for you.
- Avoid using your electric device near water.
- Experiment with different temperatures, which may help to ease pain/symptoms.
- If you have a rechargeable massage tool, remember to charge it after using it so it’s ready for next time.
Which are Best – Manual or Electric Back Massagers?
Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer to the question of which type of back massager is best because it entirely depends on an individual’s needs and preferences. That being said, it’s possible to make recommendations based on the different uses of back massagers, which I will do in this section.
Electric back massagers are usually best if you want a deep massage that really gets into the muscle tissue. They can help with the healing process as they aim to mimic the motions of a professional masseuse.
Moreover, they are usually built to be very durable, so if you know you are going to get a lot of use out of your massage tool, it might be worth spending a little extra money for a tool that’s of the highest quality.
On the other hand, manual back massagers are often cheaper and therefore best for inconsistent, casual use – for example, after a particularly tough day in the office. They are also usually smaller, lighter, and easier to transport, so they are great if you travel a lot.
Other types of massage tools include hand massagers and zero gravity massage chairs.
To select the best possible back massagers, I have chosen some important criteria for judging each product.
Naturally, the most important thing to consider when selecting a back massager tool is how well it actually performs the task it was designed for. Products that offer choice and control in terms of massage intensity will be awarded highly.
Safety is particularly important for electric back massagers since they use force beyond that of a human and could potentially pose the risk of electrocution if used near water. Still, safety is also something to consider when testing manual back massagers – it’s important they don’t cause more damage than they solve!
For fairness, I have selected products from across the price spectrum, weighing up their positive attributes to assess their overall value for money.
I have considered how compact and transportable each product is and how easy it is to use and store.
Top 5 Best Manual Back Massagers
LiBa Back and Neck Massager
The LiBa Back and Neck Massager is a fantastically intuitive tool with an ergonomic design and ideal weight and height. It’s by far one of the easiest massagers to get to grips with, not only because it was clearly created with the user in mind, but also because it comes with a fully illustrated, easy to follow instruction booklet.
- BPA, PBDE, and TBBPA free.
- Fiber-infused material.
- Eco friendly.
- Ergonomic design.
- Strong and durable material.
- Safe to use in the shower.
- It can be used for most areas of the body.
- Affordable price.
- Fast and free shipping.
- Unusual design can be difficult for some people to navigate.
- Harder to use than an older version of the product.
Idson Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes
Though the Idson Muscle Roller Stick is marketed towards athletes, it’s a fantastic product for almost anybody, providing a full back massage with minimum effort due to the long cylindrical design. This is certainly a tool not to miss at such an affordable price and with so many five-star reviews behind it!
- High-quality industrial materials.
- 9 therapeutic spindles.
- Thermoplastic rubber.
- Portable design.
- Lightweight – only 0.65lbs.
- Very portable.
- Fast, free shipping.
- Not ideal for the upper back due to length.
- No flex to the plastic spindles.
Melonsun Hand Held Massage Tool
The funky Melonsun Hand Held Massage Tool certainly has an eye-catching design, but it’s the product’s ergonomic quality that makes it such a great success. It fits perfectly into your hand, and the four rounded legs provide a deep massage that’s truly to die for. So whether you want to massage your soft tissue, trigger point or even have a full body massage, this tool can do it all.
- Four rounded legs.
- Easy to clean acrylic material.
- Ergonomic design.
- Bold blue color.
- Hygienic and washable.
- 12-month warranty and customer support.
- Highly rated product.
- It can’t be used to reach the top of back on your own.
- No color options.
- Legs are quite thin.
Zongs Massage Ball Manual Roller
These high-quality massage balls provide the perfect way to relieve those tight knots in your back without the need for another person or a professional masseuse. Their unique 360-degree spin means that you can use them while lying down flat, which is even better for your posture, and each ball even has an opening so you can put your favorite massage oil inside!
- Unbreakable high-quality resin.
- 360-degree spin design.
- Opening for massage oil.
- Full refund within 30 days for any reason.
- Carry bag.
- Easy to clean.
- Attractive design.
- Strong and durable.
- The plastic base is quite high.
- Does not allow a deep massage.
Na.c Health Wood Back Massage Roller
The Na.c Health handmade Wood Back Massage Roller is designed to make it easier than ever to give yourself a much-needed back massage, with 36 large beads attached to a sturdy nylon rope. Not only is it extremely easy to use and comes with an attractive gift box, but it is also both affordable and long-lasting. So whether you’re interested in back massaging or even contouring, this is a great all-around product.
- Durable nylon rope.
- Handmade product with natural wood beads.
- Suitable for many body areas.
- Portable size.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Fast, free shipping available.
- Does not give a deep massage.
- The user doesn’t have as much control as with some other tools due to design.
Top 5 Best Electric Back Massagers
TOLOCO Massage Gun
The TOLOCO Massage Gun is undoubtedly one of the best electric massage tools on the market today due to its ability to give deep tissue massages that satisfy like no others. In addition, it comes with an impressive total of 20 different speed levels, giving you complete control over the intensity of your massage, as well as 10 replaceable massage heads.
Crucially, this product is also cordless, meaning that you can take it with you wherever you go. The silicone handle is ergonomic, and overall the design is very light – this is a massage tool that has clearly been thoughtfully designed.
- 20 different speeds to choose from.
- 10 replaceable heads.
- Ergonomic design.
- LCD display.
- Ergonomic silicone handle.
- Lightweight design.
- Comes with a handy carry case.
- Designed to be quiet.
- 4 hour working time.
- Lack of customer support.
Resteck Massager for Neck and Back
With four different temperature settings and a luxuriously comfortable design, the Resteck Massager for Neck and Back is one of my favorite electric back massage tools. In addition, it has been designed with unique 3D kneading nodes, which give a penetrating massage much like you would receive from a trained professional!
- Luxurious travel bag.
- 3D kneading nodes.
- 4 button controls.
- Temperature control.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Affordable price.
- Requires a cord.
- Short cord.
- Larger than many other tools.
MIGHTY BLISS Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager
The MIGHTY BLISS Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager is a powerful tool perfect for relieving knots and cramps in seconds. Its long-lasting battery life and slim and lightweight design make it one of the best performing back massage tools out there.
- 6 different massage heads.
- 3,700 RPM Motor.
- Lithium-ion battery.
- Slim and lightweight design.
- Cordless, with long battery life (120 minutes) & fast recharge time.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Comes with different massage heads.
- Tiring to hold for long periods.
- Difficult to reach your own back.
Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
Overall, the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager is an excellent choice if you need to relieve sore muscles and aches and pains. It has three-dimensional massage nodes which really dig into your muscle tissue, providing much-needed relief, and its contoured shape is perfect for getting into those hard-to-reach areas of your back. The only drawback is that this massage tool needs to be plugged into a power source.
- 3D massage nodes.
- Advanced heating function.
- UL-approved power adaptor.
- Free sleeve to lessen the intensity.
- Auto shut off function.
- Ergonomic design.
- Temperature control.
- Lifetime support.
- FDA listed.
- 1-year warranty.
- Strong motor.
- Vegan leather.
- Adjustable straps.
- It has to be plugged in.
- The power button was placed inconveniently on the tool.
- Inflexible shape.
Viktor Jurgen Handheld Back Massager
If you’re looking for a budget massage tool, the Jurgen Handheld Back Massager might just be the one for you. The dog head design means you can cover a greater area, and it comes with three sets of removable massage heads, so you can find the one that suits you the most.
The overall design does reflect the price – there’s nothing flashy here – but as far as back massage tools go, it does the job and provides good value for money.
- 3 sets of massage heads.
- Powerful motor – 3,350 pulses per minute.
- 134-inch cord.
- Adjustable intensity.
- Professional strength.
- Comfortable non-slip grip.
- Quiet motor.
- Good customer service.
- Lack of ventilation causes overheating.
- Heavy to hold for long periods.
- Bulky design.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Massage therapy works by stimulating muscle tissue, ligaments, and tendons. This increases blood circulation, relaxes your muscles, and reduces inflammation.
Answer: Using massage during any part of the recovery process has been found to promote healing and ultimately reduce recovery time. Usually, massages are used to treat tight or painful muscles post-injury, but they can also help reduce scarring.
Answer: Massage tools are designed to be very safe to use at home. You only need to worry if you’re using an electric massage tool that isn’t water-safe. In this case, it’s best to stay out of the bathroom.
Answer: Your back is one of the hardest places to reach on your body, which is why it’s helpful to invest in a tool that has been specifically designed to make this easier. You can also make homemade massage tools from items around the house.
Conclusion: How to Find the Best Back Massager
In our opinion, the best back massage tool on the market today is the TOLOCO Massage Gun. Though it’s a little more pricey than some of the other available tools, its impressive list of features means that it’s well worth the money.
This cordless massager is highly portable, and most importantly, it keeps you in control – with 20 different settings and 10 different massage heads to choose from, it’s the ideal tool to suit almost anyone’s needs.
We hope this article was helpful to you. If you’re trying to recover from a back injury, the following articles may be of interest: