Massage Tools Buying Guide

BY: Groupon Editors |Jul 29, 2016


Massage therapy can offer respite to achy bodies, but it's not always a practical choice considering the time and money it requires. Luckily, there are plenty of massage tools that you can use at home to help relieve muscle tension and pain on your own—no appointment necessary.


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Massaging seat cushions (from $27.99); pulse massagers (from $23.99); wooden massage rollers (from $17.95); massage cellulite brushes (from $9)


Where It Hurts: Back

Massage Tools to Try

  • Seat cushion: Set on chairs or recliners, a massaging seat cushion uses internal rotating discs and knobs to knead the areas alongside the spine.
  • Pulse massager: This is a general description for EMS and TENS units. EMS (electric muscle stimulation) devices send electric currents into muscles to contract them and release tension. TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) devices, on the other hand, send currents to the nerves to block pain. So an EMS device is best if the back pain is tension-related, whereas a TENS advice usually works best for chronic pain.
  • Massage ball: A massage ball (or even a tennis ball) can be used to release tight knots of muscle fiber called trigger points. It's also a great tool for warming up or cooling down muscles before and after workouts—it works just like foam rolling, but it's more targeted. Some massage balls come studded with rounded spikes to help increase circulation and hasten muscle recovery.

Shop Back Massaging Tools

Massaging seat cushions (from $27.99); pulse massagers (from $23.99); wooden massage rollers (from $17.95); massage balls (from $5.92).

Areas to Focus On

The muscles running along each side of the spine are prone to pockets of tension, and massaging the trapeziuses—the muscles that run between your neck and shoulders—can relieve pain or burning in that area.


Where It Hurts: Neck and Shoulders

Massage Tools to Try

  • Massage wand: While they're great for massaging other parts of the body, too, wands make it easy to treat hard-to-reach areas like the upper trapezius muscles.
  • Shoulder-draped massager: Many of these products come with handles or clasps built into their tips, so you can tie or snap them together to keep your hands free while the massagers' nodes go to work on your alleviating shoulder tension and knots in the sides of the neck.

Shop Neck Massaging Tools

Shoulder-draped massagers (from $20); massage wands (from $10)

Areas to Focus On

The sides of the neck, spot beneath the back of the skull, and upper trapezius muscles are prone to tension caused by stress or overextension. The neck is also a common problem area for trigger points. Once you find the knots, try firmly kneading or tapping them.


Where It Hurts: Feet

Massage Tools to Try

  • Platform: This electronic foot massager uses customized kneading and rolling on the arch. It's great to use while you work at a table or watch TV from the couch.
  • Acupressure sandals: When you need to be on your feet, nodule-studded slippers and sandals provide reflexology-like relief and help boost circulation.
  • Massage ball: Rolling a studded or smooth massage ball beneath the arch of the foot can help alleviate nagging pain caused by common overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis.

Shop Foot Massaging Tools

Platforms (from $27.99); acupressure sandals (from $26.99); massage balls (from $5.92)

Areas to Focus On

The arch of the foot in general is a key area to target, but pressure points directly beneath the ball and the pad of the foot can be particularly soothing when stimulated. If plantar fasciitis is your problem, don't neglect your hamstrings. For some, tight hamstrings can contribute to foot pain, so it's important to stretch them out.


Where It Hurts: Forehead/Eyes/Face

Massage Tools to Try

  • Manual massage roller: This small device features a stone or metal roller head that's cool to the touch. By gently rolling it across your face, you can ease tension, as well as boost circulation and help reduce puffiness. The most popular face rollers right now feature jade, a stone that stays fairly cool at room temperature.
  • Electric face wand: A gently vibrating electric wand is basically just a more high-tech version of a manual roller. If it has ultrasonic energy, it can also stimulate collagen production to help smooth fine lines.

Shop Face Massaging Tools

Jade rollers (from $14.99); manual massage rollers (from $13.75); electric face wands (from $12)

Areas to Focus On

Massaging the inside corners of the eyes, eyebrows, and temples can help alleviate eye and forehead pain. And massaging your face with a roller for 3–5 minutes after your nighttime skincare routine should help trap your serums against your skin so they can't immediately evaporate away.

Get Additional Benefits with Aromatherapy

While massage by itself is helpful in relieving muscular soreness and pain, improving flexibility, and promoting circulation, those benefits can be amplified by supplementing massage with aromatherapy. For more information about the benefits of aromatherapy, read our guide to aromatherapy, essential oils, and diffusers.


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