So you’ve just come back home from a tiring day at work. Your shoulders ache. Your hands need to rest. Your feet hurt. The body and the mind affect each other, and it’s hard to stay focused and sane when your body screams that it can’t go any further.
The obvious answer to this is a massage. A bit of work into those muscles, and they’ll be relaxed and the pain all gone. But who can you ask for one? Pro massage services can get expensive, and besides, you have to go to them. Making an appointment, waiting a few days, driving on over, that’s more effort when all you want to do is rest.
That’s where technology comes to the rescue. Automated massagers exist in all their various forms, and we’ll be taking a look at the types you can get on the market these days. Plus they’re affordable!
Your One-Stop Guide to Massage Tools and Accessories
One thing you need to know about massage tools is that they might not be quiet as good as a human masseur, but they’re pretty damned close! And that small difference usually falls by the wayside when you consider how much money you’ve saved.
So let’s see what’s on offer for you and how each can benefit you.
#1. Massage Chairs
They’re big and expensive and bulky. But if you really want complete relaxation and ease of aches, then nothing beats a good massage chair. Every other product we’ve looked at can only manage parts of your body, but a massage chair can provide a proper, full-body massage.
You’ve probably seen a few of these around. Most look like extra-plush recliners, with slots for the legs. How they massage differs on the chair itself, so it’s up to your preference to find out how you like the experience.
They can also do things that the smaller massagers can’t. For instance, most massage chairs can provide a ‘zero-gravity’ massage. The chair reclines, and alters the head and leg rests so that all the weight is taken off your body. Then the chair goes about its massage. With your body relieved of all its weight and the massage relaxing your muscles, there’s just absolutely nothing like it.
If you can spare the money and the space, nothing will pamper you as much as a massage chair. The only way to do better is to go to a pro masseur.
#2. Handheld Massagers
They’re small. Handheld massagers will fit practically anywhere, in a pocket of your backpack or within your purse. That means you can take them anywhere, and relieve your aches when the need arises. Need a little de-stress at work in your free five minutes? Break out the handheld.
Their portability also works to their advantage, as they can target any part of the body that you can reach, and so you can apply the massage to wherever it’s needed most. It might not match up to a proper massage with the human touch, but even a little relief from stress can go a long way.
Even such a tiny package still offers a fair bit of variety, however. Some models can apply heated massage, which is excellent for dealing with stiffness and cramping. Switchable attachment heads can provide different styles of massage, depending on how deep or relaxing you want it.
When you need something that can go anywhere and perform right away, nothing works better than a handheld massager.
#3. Foot Massagers
When was the last time you thought about your feet? Your legs and your feet do a lot to get you through the day. You walk on them, stand on them, push the pedals on your car with them, lift with them, you can’t live without them! Neglect your feet, and you’ll feel just how much they actually matter to you.
This is where the foot massager comes in. Handheld massagers can be applied anywhere; foot massagers specialize in relaxing a very important part of your body and all the stress that comes with it. They come in two general types: open and closed. Open massagers work on your soles and are very silent and stable, but they won’t do much for the parts of your feet beyond the sole. Closed massagers can work on more of your feet and have more massage techniques available, but they’re a bit more expensive and may be too tight to be comfortable if you have large feet.
No matter what type you use, investing in one of the best foot massager is a great way to look after your feet, maintain them in good condition, and improve your blood circulation.
#4. Neck and Shoulder Massagers
After the feet, the neck and shoulders do a lot of work, especially if you’re at an office. Think of neck and shoulder massagers as neck pillows on steroids. Some resemble neck pillows, others look like overgrown shawls. They’ve got straps keeping them in place, and with the longer ones, you can slip your hands through the straps and continue with your day while the massager does its business.
When it comes to neck and shoulder massagers, they all provide a pretty similar experience, so what sets it apart are the extras: Is it cordless, or do you have to plug it in? If it’s wired, how long is the cord? Also, size matters. Larger massagers can be a bit of an awkward fit for your neck, and smaller massagers can focus more on the neck and feet and are more comfortable if you’re slimly built. Learn more about the best neck and shoulder massagers here.
#5. Portable Massage Tables
And we can’t overlook the classics. A portable massage table is just the thing for when you’re giving massages, professional or amateur. Portable means that you can lug it about and go where the business is, and not have to rely on them coming to you.
The good news with portability is that a comfortable mattress is not significantly heavy. It’ll take up a bit of room, but it won’t be a great weight to lug around, especially if it’s a model that comes with a carrying case. Depending on the precise model, you may also see a few nice features: an oil pouch, for instance, or fitted sheets, or an adjustable backrest.
There’s much more to consider with portable tables, depending on your target market and your style. But no matter what you choose, a well-made portable massage table won’t let you down no matter where you go.
#6. Foot Spas
Foot massagers may relieve the aches, but for a truly relaxing experience for the feet, nothing beats a foot spa. A foot spa adds a water basin to soak your feet in. Think about it: A long day spent on your feet, and you come home to soak your feet in warm water while all the aches and pains are smoothed away by the massager. Relaxing, isn’t it?
Features vary a lot. All foot spas come with a heating element to keep the water warm. The deeper basins can soak your ankles, and some can even go as far as your calves, depending on how much you want to soak. Some models are even compatible with bath salts and massage oils, which helps add to the experience.
They take a bit more effort than dry foot massagers, but foot spas are well worth the extra expense. Your feet will thank you.
#7. Massage Cushions
The thing with most of the previous tools is that, barring the foot massagers, all of them need to be actively used. Sometimes you just want to sit back or lie down and be pampered, especially when you’re tired and aching all over. That’s where the massage cushion comes in: just slap it down where you’re going, turn it on, and it does the job for you.
They come in multiple sizes, from small pillows to large chair pads that you can put into a car or office chair. The larger size also means that they can accommodate more features than smaller massagers, and more massage nodes. The smaller massage tools move around easily; a massage cushion can provide you with a more comprehensive experience all over your back. The smaller pillows are easier to store and are easily applied to other parts of your body, working almost like handheld massagers.
Cushions are right in between smaller massagers and massage chairs, and make for a great choice when you’re in doubt about what to get. They don’t need as much effort as a hand-held, but they can still be carried around, not like a full chair. Learn more about the top massage cushions in the market today.
#8. Sciatica Back Braces
To quote Wikipedia, “Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by pain going down the leg from the lower back.” In 90% of cases, it’s caused by a spinal disc pressing against the sciatic nerve running from the spinal cord down through the leg. Generally, it resolves itself after a few weeks, but in the meantime, it can take a toll. The pain isn’t crippling, but it flares up when the leg moves or when pressure is put on the spine.
That’s where back braces come in. Since it’s a problem with the spine, giving it some extra support can help alleviate the pain. With compression and support on your spinal column, the disc won’t press as hard against the nerve, so the pain reduces drastically.
Back braces come in various forms, from rigid ones almost like corsets to flexible elastic belts. It’s best to consult with your doctor to find out what type works best for your condition.