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What Is A Back Massager?
A back massager is a device which simulates and enhances back massage therapy provided by a massage therapist.
It encompasses many of the different techniques provided by massage therapists including, pressing, rubbing, kneading, and manipulating the muscles and soft tissues of the body.
The latest back massager technology, has evolved to replicate many of the types of massage including, relaxation massage and deep tissue massage.
A home back massager can be used in conjunction with traditional massage therapy, however, many individuals use them as the only means of back massage, and in many cases report that the results of back massage devices are superior to that of a therapist.
In fact, many massage therapists incorporate back massage devices into their normal treatment of patients
Article at a glance
- 1 What Is A Back Massager?
- 2 Back Pain
- 3 What are the benefits of back massage therapy?
- 4 Popular back massager brands
- 5 HoMedics back massager
- 6 Brookstone back massager
- 7 How to choose the right back massager
- 8 The 7 Best Back Massagers For 2018
- 9 #1 Naipo Back Massager Pillow Shiatsu Massage Cushion
- 10 #2 Zyllion ZMA14 Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Cushion
- 11 #3 HoMedics HHP-350B Percussion Action Massager
- 12 #4 Wahl 4290-300 Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager
- 13 #5 Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat
- 14 #6 Gideon Powerful Vibrating Back Massager Seat Cushion
- 15 #7 MARNUR Neck and Back Massager Shiatsu Massage Pillow
- 16 Summing it all up
It is estimated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States, that 8 out of 10 individuals will experience some form of chronic back pain at some point in their life, and approximately 25% of these people will have experienced lower back pain within the last 3-4 months.
Back pain affects men and women equally, and in most cases can be attributed to over exertion, twisting the wrong way, lifting a heavy object incorrectly, overstretching, and even sneezing or coughing.
In any event, these movements can result in tears in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles, resulting in muscle spasms which can be extremely painful and in some cases debilitating.
In addition, back pain can naturally occur because of a condition called spondylosis, which is simply a spinal degeneration caused by normal wear and tear in the bones, discs, and joints.
This happens as we age, cannot be cured, but can be treated.
Finally, every day stresses placed on us by employment demands, family demands, and everyday hustle and bustle can create stress and tension in the back, giving rise to back pain.
Treatments for back pain can vary from medications including muscle relaxants, pain killers, and anti-inflammatory drugs, to chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, surgery, and of course, the most non-invasive, back massage therapy.
What are the benefits of back massage therapy?
In general, people seek massage therapy to promote relaxation by relieving muscle tension, and to relieve pain.
Although massage therapy can be performed on virtually any area of the body, the area most commonly treated and associated with massage is the back.
Back massage therapy has become accepted by the main stream medical system as a viable means of treating back pain and other physical ailments.
In addition, research has proven that it also provides tremendous psychological benefits, contributing to better overall health.
The major benefits of back massage therapy are:
- Increased blood circulation which speeds up recovery time of a muscle injury or general soreness
- Increased range of motion resulting from muscle relaxation
- Better sleep and in some cases a cure for insomnia
- Release of endorphins, chemicals which contribute to “feeling good”
- Alleviation of muscle tension, spasms, nerve pressure, and joint movement due to increased blood flow
- Improved digestion and motility due increased levels of newly oxygenated blood
- A clear mind and ability to better cope with everyday stresses
Popular back massager brands
There are many different brands of back massagers in the marketplace, however, following are two which we have singled out as providing top quality products at very reasonable prices.
HoMedics back massager
HoMedics is a Michigan, USA based company which was founded in 1987.
It began manufacturing and selling massage therapy machines, however, expanded into other well-being products such as air humidifiers, spa and beauty products, and more.
But still today, they are most recognized as a quality supplier of massage products. You can check out our detailed review of the best homedics back massagers here.
Brookstone back massager
Brookstone is a New Hampshire, USA company which has been in operation for over 50 years.
It began as a brick and mortar business, and with the advent of the internet, has grown to become a top online store.
It carries a vast number of products including a full line of back massage products which can be seen on Amazon by clicking here.
How to choose the right back massager
One or Two Person
If back massage therapy is going to be performed on yourself, you must ensure that you select a one person massager.
On the other hand, if you are physically unable to perform the massage yourself, or if your spouse, partner, or any other person is readily available to provide the therapy, you should choose a two-person back massager.
The drawback with the two person back massager is that they are designed for the professional massage practitioner, and are heavy, very powerful, and quite expensive for the average consumer.
Power Mode: Manual or Electric
A manual back massager is one where the only power is being supplied by the individual.
These units are generally light weight, portable, and can be used anywhere.
Electric back massagers, on the other hand, use electrical power, can be battery operated, or both.
The main consideration here is where the back massager will be used the most.
If your massage is primarily performed at home and you have access to an electrical supply, the electric back massager is the best choice.
If you travel a lot for business or pleasure, the battery of combo back massager is most likely the best.
Hand Held or Cushion Style
Most hand held back massagers are static in nature, meaning that they do not swivel, vibrate, or rotate.
They use a percussion motion, and as the name implies, is a hammering or drumming type action performed by the attachments.
Hand held massagers are tremendous for quick stress or tension relief, and generally include attachments which can simulate acupressure massage, deep tissue massage, or an overall relaxation massage.
Most include a heat option to further loosen the muscles and relieve tension.
Most cushion or pillow back massagers, use a Shiatsu motion which consists of 3-4 hard round balls, radiating heat and rotating in a manner which simulates the kneading action performed by a professional massage therapist.
These cushions are portable and can be strategically placed on the upper back, lower back, and even the shoulders and neck. It is a great stress reliever for the home, office, and even in a vehicle.
The car seat style back massager uses a vibrational, warming action primarily for relaxation of the entire back.
Although they can run from the auxiliary power provided in the vehicle, additional power sources allow the cushion massager to be used in your favorite chair at home, or in the office.
Top models include a remote control allowing for heat intensity adjustment as well as the ability to target specific problem areas in the back.
Size, Shape, and Weight
Often overlooked, the size, shape, and weight of a hand held back massager is extremely important.
If you are performing the massage therapy yourself, it is important to ensure that the shape and size of the back massager allows you to reach the problem areas without struggling, and it feels comfortable and well balanced in your hand.
In addition, it should be light weight and not a chore to lift.
Receiving maximum results from a deep tissue massage using a percussion style back massager, requires high intensity.
In other words, the back percussion back massager requires sufficient power, or wattage, to reach the deeper tissues.
It is important to look at the wattage of the motor only as many manufacturers include the wattage of the heating element as well.
First and foremost, the back massager should have an automatic shut off in the event you fall asleep of forget to turn the device off.
This not only applies to the machine, but also the heating unit.
Secondly, check the cord length.
If the electrical cord is too short, it may not reach an outlet in your desired area.
In some cases, manufacturers of back massagers do net recommend using an extension cord as they may compromise the performance of the massager.
The 7 Best Back Massagers For 2018
Selecting the best back massager can be a daunting task as there are so many different makes and models currently on the market, each providing a different function, and many with conflicting reviews.
We have done the homework for you by extensively researching the back massager marketplace and coming up with a list of the 7 best back massagers available this year.
In doing our research, we looked at functionality, reliability, reputation, customer ratings and reviews.
In addition, we included a cross section of manual back massagers, hand held electric back massagers, Shiatsu cushion massagers, and car seat style back massagers.
Once we identified the 7 best back massagers, we explored the internet and found the best prices for you.
Topping our list, we have chosen the Naipo Back Massager Pillow Shiatsu Massage Cushion to provide the absolute best value for the price.
Weighing only 2.5 pounds, this product provides a deep tissue Shiatsu Massage using 4 kneading nodes while using a deep heat to penetrate the stiff and sore muscles.
Receiving a 4.5 out of 5 Star rating, based on 136 reviews, it’s no wonder Naipo Back Massager Pillow Shiatsu Massage Cushion, is so popular and a clear winner.
- Portable and can be used at home, at the office, or in the vehicle
- Rounded shape accommodates the upper back, lower back, neck and shoulders, and other areas of the body
- Superior heating ability with overheating protection
- Excellent price for the value
- Cord length is somewhat short and may require an extension cord
- The kneading action may be a bit to aggressive and rough for people who are sensitive and have a low tolerance for pain
The Zyllion ZMA14 Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Cushion is a very close second on our list of 7 best back massagers.
Although originally designed for vehicle use, its portability allows you to have a spa quality massage at home, in the vehicle, or in the office.
Not only does the Zyllion provide a full Shiatsu massage on the entire back and neck, but it also has a vibrating seat to relieve tension in the glutes and thighs.
Again, a great value as it is 4 Star rated based on 1,049 customer reviews, and no wonder it is near the top of our list.
- The Zyllion ZMA14 can be set to target different areas of the back, neck, and shoulders, with the choice of Shiatsu kneading action, or rollers moving up and down the back
- The heat feature can be turned on or off, and has a built in shut off safety feature to prevent over heating
- The Zyllion back massager is designed to fit virtually chair allowing you to enjoy a massage anywhere you wish
- Remote control allows you to tailor your massage to address the problem areas, or just have a full back relaxation massage
- A great cost effective alternative to an expensive full chair massager
- Somewhat cumbersome and awkward to transport
- The kneading action may be a bit to aggressive and rough for people who are sensitive and have a low tolerance for pain
- A few complaints about not covering enough surface area
The HoMedics HHP-350B Percussion Action Massager is an ideal hand held percussion back massager for aches and pains caused by physical exercise or strain.
The dual head hammering action allows you to get into those areas just like a professional massage therapist.
The ergonomic shape is designed to reach areas in the upper and lower back, and weighing only 3.5 pounds, anyone can use it.
It is 4 Star rated based on 1,864 reviews, and is our top hand held back massager with an overall rank of 3.
- Three easy to adapt custom head attachments which allow you to tailor your massage ranging from gentle to firm
- Speed control settings which launch the percussion action up to 3,100 time per minute, thus allowing for low to high intensity
- Intense deep heat which not only releases muscle tension, but enhances the relaxation effect
- Great for the back, but can be used on virtually any part of the body
- Only means of power is electrical cord, thus reducing portability
- Complaints about the high end of the intensity is too rough
The Wahl 4290-300 Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager, is an excellent product which has the capability of providing a great massage experience.
Its primary selling feature, are the 4 attachment heads, each designed to perform a specific task.
These include the four finger flex attachment to provide the feel of a hand massage, the deep muscle massage attachment to stimulate blood flow and soothe aching muscles, the acupoint attachment to breakdown muscle knots caused by calcification, and the wide hard disc attachment to cover wide areas.
Again a 4 Star rating, and a tremendous value for the price.
- Multiple attachments, each delivering a unique massage experience. 4 in 1 massager
- Eliminates the need to purchase multiple back massagers
- Shaped well and extremely well balance allowing ease of use
- Economically priced and great value for the money
- At the highest intensity, the massage can feel very aggressive and uncomfortable
- The unit is very loud, and actually increases in volume he turned on right angles
The Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat, is a fabulous Shiatsu back massager, and could quite possibly been our #1 spot.
This Brookstone Shiatsu boasts 8 Shiatsu nodes and a shoulder strap system which allows you to easily target the exact areas which require relief.
In addition, the Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu, is, you guessed it, cordless.
It comes with a lithium ion battery which is rechargeable and lasts anywhere between 20 minutes to 3 hours depending which functions are being used. In the event of a dead battery, the unit also comes with an electrical power source.
The Brookstone has a 4.5 Star rating, which is based upon 166 customer reviews.
- The unit is cordless and rechargeable which allows you to experience a great massage anywhere
- Includes a power cord in the event that the battery is not charged or is dead
- Provides a fabulous Shiatsu massage using 8 Shiatsu nodes
- Hand held shoulder straps ensure ease of positioning
- Even at low intensities, the massage can be rough and aggressive without the use of padding on the skin
- The heat function does not achieve high temperatures
The Gideon Powerful Vibrating Back Massager Seat Cushion, utilizes vibration and heat to provide deep penetration in the upper back, lower back, and the thighs, to relieve stress, tension, and aches and pains.
The Gideon boasts 8 modes of massage, which allows for the customization to pinpoint problem areas.
The unit only weighs 4 pounds, and easily folds, meaning it can be transported to your favorite chair at home, the office, or in your vehicle with ease.
In addition, it is equipped with a 15, 30, and 60 minute timer which controls the vibration and heat function.
It received a 4.5 Star rating which was based on 46 customer reviews.
- Provides the ability to focus on different areas of the back and customise the massage
- Covers the upper back, lower back, lumbar area, neck, and thighs
- Contains 2 heating elements, and provides the best penetrating heat of any similar n the market
- Includes a multi-functional remote control, avoiding the need to adjust manually
- There is no light indicating that the unit is on, or indicating the intensity level
- Uncomfortable for a smaller person
The MARNUR Neck and Back Massager Shiatsu Massage Pillow, is quite conceivably the best “bang for your buck”, back massage pillow on the market. You get so much at such an affordable price.
The MARNUR Shiatsu Pillow uses 4 Shiatsu nodes, which can rotate clock wise or counter clockwise, to deliver a tremendous Shiatsu massage.
In addition, it includes a heating function to further relieve stress and tension and enhance the overall massage experience.
Further, comes with both AC and DC power sources meaning that it can be used anywhere.
Not surprising, it is 4.5 Star rated based on 205 customer reviews.
- A fabulous value at an excellent price
- 4 Shiatsu nodes which turn clockwise and counter clockwise, providing the highest level of relief
- Contains an optional heating element, with an automatic shut off to prevent over heating
- Can be used while sitting up, or lying down, providing relief for the entire back
- The unit can be uncomfortable when using on the lower back
Summing it all up
So there you have it. The 7 Best Back Massagers For 2018.
There are so many fantastic brands and fantastic back massager models in the marketplace, that it was very difficult to come up with the top 7.
Keep in mind that our list of The 7 Best Back Massagers included a cross section of pillow back massagers, seat style back massagers, and hand held back massagers.
As we look back at our research project, we could have quite easily had a top 7 list in each category.
We certainly hope you find this information helpful in your journey to fisnd the best back massager.