For thousands of years, people have used various massage techniques to improve their health. Today, technology has been combined with the benefits of manual massage in the creation of professional electric massage devices. Depending on the purpose you wish to achieve, you will find many options of cordless and rechargeable massagers on the market with features to suit your needs. Today you will learn how to use these massagers and how long you should apply them on your body if you want favourable results.
What are electric massagers and what are they for?
What are they?
As the name suggests, these are massagers that use electric current, via classic or rechargeable batteries, to generate movement and body heat that provide benefits to all soft tissues, be they muscles, ligaments or tendons. Adapters or heads have been designed with anatomical shapes that can be interchanged to enjoy relief and relaxation in different areas of the body, even in the bones.
There are good, quality electric massage devices that guarantee results such as relaxation, elimination of muscle tension and recovery of muscle fibres at the end of an intense sports training session or a long day’s work. Although no technology can replace the hand and experience of a physiotherapist, electric massagers have undoubtedly brought about a real revolution.
What are they for?
The actual use of these devices will depend on you and the goals you want to achieve. If you have a stressful work life where you come home every day with aches and pains in your limbs and back, electronic hand massagers will give you the relief you are looking for by giving mobility to tense muscles.
Whether you’re an amateur or professional athlete, these massagers were also created for athletes and can be used in between times: to warm up your body before a workout, to relax a muscle when it tightens during training, and to prevent cramps and major contractures after you finish your workout.
How do they work?
These types of massage devices are quite useful if you are travelling, they are practical, portable and have short, medium and long term effects. You only have to take into account the time of use, which should not exceed a total of 15 minutes per session, after which you should take a break of three to four hours to use them again.
As they are really silent devices, you will be able to use them in any place and circumstance. You should bear in mind that these types of massage devices have different powers and speeds, and their application should be progressive until your body becomes accustomed to their effects and you start to see their benefits little by little.
Whether for enjoyment or for sporting reasons, remember to respect the manufacturer’s manual. You should also avoid putting pressure on the skin, simply place the electric massage device on the surface and it will gently massage the area. You will have a good result as long as you keep it moving across the body, and only focus on specific areas for a longer time if you notice that they are very tense.
Types of electric body massagers
One way to classify these devices is by analysing the area of application you’ll be using depending on the part of the body. Check out this list of the options available on the market.
Electric foot massager: If you’re a person who walks all day, you’re probably looking for an option to help relax your feet. Equipment that generates movement and heat will help prevent injuries such as bursitis and plantar fasciitis that are caused by overworking the lower limbs. There are exclusive massagers for your feet, which allow you to step on the platform and place your feet inside, so you will feel the benefits.
Electric neck massager: While you can use a small and light massager, there are professional massagers with an elongated shape that completely cover your neck, neck and shoulders, even part of the arms and chest. Regardless of your choice, they will help regulate your body temperature and remove any knots you may have. They are ideal for a relaxing effect caused by the daily stress of work.
Electric facial massager: They have a more aesthetic purpose, as they are ideal for rejuvenating facial skin. There are massagers for the face that act directly on the cheekbones, nose and lower eye area, significantly reducing dark circles under the eyes. They are generally devices that vibrate and relax the facial muscular system.
Electric massager for back and legs: There are devices that are practically full body, covering the whole area of the back, buttocks and part of the legs, they are similar to massage chairs, but you can use them while standing. It is always advisable to purchase a specific product for the area in which you usually have an ailment, in this case they are great products to treat herniated discs.
Small hand-held electric massager: This can be a massage gun or a hand-held vibrating device. These are the most commonly used devices because of their versatility and application to any part of the body. You take them with you when you are travelling or when you are doing intense sports practice and you anticipate the probability of recurring an injury. They are also the most affordable massagers in terms of price.
Electric massage chair: There are different variants of electric massage chairs on the market, the person must be seated and willing to rest their whole body while the chair does all the work. They were made to meet the needs of those who constantly feel stress, as opposed to people who are looking for some sporting benefit. These models of massagers are the most expensive due to their large size and high technology.
Shiatsu Electric Massage Cushion: This is a versatile, portable and rechargeable model that covers the neck and part of the back and shoulders. It is shaped like a pillow, hence the name. Depending on the model, you can use it in bed, lying on the sofa or even attached to the driver’s seat of your car to help relax the neck and neck area when you are driving. It is also in demand by people whose busy daily schedules put strain on the neck and shoulders.
Vibrating electric massage ball: This ball helps to reduce the effects of problems in the myofascial system. Fascia is a tissue that covers and protects the tissues and organs of the body from head to toe. Have you heard of plantar fasciitis? It is the same tissue, but the latter is located on the sole of the foot. They are vibrating type devices, which serve as massagers that act on trigger points in a targeted manner.
Electric percussion massage gun: First of all, you should know that a percussion massage consists of soft and repetitive blows on the body, especially on the muscles. They are precise blows that aim to relax the muscle fibres, improve recovery and avoid injuries, and are used for deep and punctual percussion. These electric percussion guns should be used for no more than two or three seconds on each area of the body.
Electric myofascial massage roller: Very similar to the classic Foam Roller, but this time they are made with electrical components that allow them to vibrate, they are also made of different materials and textures, they can be hollow or with a soft filling. All models contribute to myofascial release in which this tissue becomes taut. You can use them on your legs, thighs, back, hips and abdomen. It is a simple but professional device.
Massage chair: This is a very popular piece of furniture because of its benefits against degenerative diseases and circulation. It reduces generalised swelling due to fluid retention and is ideal for controlling the discomfort caused by herniated discs. It is a mistake to think that you can spend all day in a massage chair, it should also be regulated to a maximum of 15 minutes per session.
Infrared heat massagers: Infrared devices are used as a complement to prepare the person before applying other more specific massages. The entry of the infrared light into the skin layer is very small, but it is sufficient to increase the body temperature and open the capillaries, as well as increase the blood supply, preparing the area for the subsequent massage.
Health benefits of therapeutic electric massagers
Whether you’re doing a head massage or foot reflexology, depending on how you use each massager, you’ll have different preventive and corrective benefits. Check out this list of benefits:
Anti-cellulite: As long as you are consistent in your massages, you can reduce the marks left by cellulite on parts of the body such as the waist, buttocks and legs. The lymphatic drainage technique is used to reduce the effects of age, excess weight and circulatory problems that cause this characteristic that affects women to a greater extent.
Therapeutic: A good therapeutic massage will reduce muscle fatigue, prevent cramps and facilitate the relaxation of other soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons. They are useful in the sporting world and practical for the recovery of injuries caused by trauma. When you go to physiotherapy you are looking for a long-term result to overcome serious and chronic injuries.
Reducer: Its function is to reduce the amount of fat located in specific points of the body such as the abdomen, arms and thighs. It is used for aesthetic purposes, when it is unhealthy to have extra kilos in both men and women. Specialists warn that this is a complementary massage that should be added to exercise and a balanced diet to obtain maximum results.
Muscle toning: Sudden changes in weight, advancing age and the natural loss of elasticity and flexibility of the skin will make a toning massage necessary. These massages should be carried out on each area of the body. Rather than relieving pain, the aim is to reduce sagging in the soft tissues and this can be achieved with percussion massage therapy.
Pain relief: Moderate pressure during massage will relax tense muscles and increase the blood supply to the affected area, which will reduce swelling and the stabbing pain of injury. Most manual techniques and electrical appliances will cause you to feel a generalised sense of relaxation and a lowering of tension.
Relieves muscle tension: Muscle fibres become unevenly bundled due to overwork and physical overexertion in the case of athletes. Specialists in physiotherapy speak of accumulated energy in trigger points that are related to people’s mobility. This accumulated energy is nothing more than tension in the fibres. When the tension is relieved, the body begins its progressive recovery.
Stress reduction: Reducing stress is one of the main reasons why people turn to massagers, but it is actually a secondary benefit as we have already mentioned that stress itself is associated with muscle tension, but no massage is going to change psychological stress. A massage may not have the effect that the person is looking for, but it can increase the likelihood that the patient will feel relief.
Muscle contractures: The best massage devices are those that offer powerful movements, which simulate the human hand to perform deep massages that decontract the fibres of the entire affected muscle. Regardless of the type of massage, try not to exceed the suggested time of 2 or 3 seconds of application to avoid complications.
Sports injuries: With the same electric massage device, you can use techniques to relax the affected area in the case of a minor injury. For more complex injuries, it is advisable to have the initial assistance of a physiotherapist and then perform the self-massage yourself. Why should you be cautious? Because a bad application technique will generate more pain.
Improvement of sporting performance: This type of massage is preventive, what you really want is to prevent injuries and this in turn will improve the athlete’s performance in the long term. A good massage device will increase muscle oxygenation, maintain proper muscle tone, regulate body temperature and improve joint function.
Reduces muscle fatigue: Something as simple as the exhaustion of muscle fibres can be reduced with these electric massage devices, the idea is to start the process of de-inflammation and relaxation of the muscles, as a mixture of rest and massage is necessary to initiate recovery. Fatigue causes tiredness, incoordination and increased stiffness that ends up affecting mobility.
Accelerates muscle recovery: The fundamental purpose of sports massage is to accelerate recovery from fatigue and also from minor, serious and chronic injuries. These massages can be combined with heat and cold therapy techniques, but both have different uses depending on the type of injury to be treated.
Improves blood circulation: When you need a massage for this purpose, you should try to move the electrical device in the same direction as the blood flows in the body. The idea is to increase blood circulation, which will bring more nutrients to the body and the affected cells. It is an ideal massage when there are vascular problems.
Improves blood oxygenation: When we do physical activities and sports, our body generates toxins that we must expel from the body. The generation of trigger points or fluid retention, makes the use of a myofascial massage increases oxygenation in the blood and helps to eliminate these toxins.
Reduces blood pressure: Although statistically there is no significant impact, there are patients who report improvements in their hypertension problems when they receive gentle massage. Techniques such as acupressure and acupuncture are useful for releasing energy in strategic areas of the body, the best thing is that they are non-invasive and have years of proven experience.
Facilitates sleepandrest: Sleep and rest are benefits associated with massages that are intended to lower stress. This is achieved by removing localised tensions in the neck, shoulders and back. When the mind and body are relaxed, the person can achieve deep sleep in a very short time which will help to improve the quality of life.
For plantar fasciitis: Cross-fibre massages are most commonly used to relieve pain in the fascia of the foot, which is caused by overwork from running, walking and even standing for many hours a day. This massage should not last more than 2-3 minutes, remember that the excessive use of massaging devices on the body is contraindicated.
How to use muscle massage machines
Although each battery has a time of use, this should not be taken as a basis for massaging the body. The maximum application time of these devices should not exceed 15 minutes, but this does not mean that it should always last this long.
If the person feels discomfort, tingling, stiffness and cramps, then the massage is not being applied correctly. In these cases, it is best to take a break and check if the head is the correct one for that part of the body and adjust the speed of the vibration, if it is a percussion massage therapy.
Remember that each head has a purpose, with larger balls covering more space and providing muscle relaxation. Bullet or cone-shaped heads give a deeper, more solid massage to large muscle groups such as those in the legs. And U-shaped heads are used to deliver vibrations to the periosteum, a membrane that lines the bones.
Application times per body zone:
By muscle groups: Do not use more than 20 or 30 seconds for each area, be it legs, arms, back, etc.
Per muscle individually: The time should not exceed 2 or 3 seconds for each muscle.
Application before, during and after physical activity:
Before: In warm-ups, a myofascial massage is often used to prepare the muscles that are going to make an effort and thus avoid injuries and strengthen areas that have been affected by old injuries.
During: The use of massage during a competition or training session should be quick, just a few seconds, to relax the muscle, improve circulation and reduce fatigue in the stressed areas.
After: At the end of each training session, it is recommended to perform a recovery massage on the most tense areas or those that have been worked on during the session, which can be complemented with the use of cold gel packs.
The use of electrical massage should never replace the hand and expertise of a physiotherapist, less so when talking about the treatment of chronic injuries and that has taken longer than it should in recovery.
F.A.Q: Frequently asked questions
Are electric massagers really good and useful?
Yes, although it all depends on the goals you have in mind. If you want to achieve a better state of relaxation, relieve aches and pains, reduce muscle tension and minimise the risk of fatigue, these massagers are really effective.
But when the person hopes to relieve chronic pain, such as from sprains, strains and bone injuries, they are less effective. People need to be aware of the range they will have with these devices.
How long do electronic massage machines last?
The average charge of a good massager does not exceed 3 hours of use, which is a good average as under no circumstances should you spend all that time using the massager on your body. There are devices that use conventional alkaline batteries, but these tend to last less than two hours.
It is always recommended to invest in equipment whose batteries can be recharged using a charger. Good, quality massagers can last a lifetime, others have a lifespan of between 5 and 10 years. It all depends on the brand and the care you take of it.
Are there any contraindications to the use of electric massagers?
Although there are thousands of advantages to using one of these massage devices, be aware that there are certain conditions in which it is not recommended to use an electric massager, for example, in cases of inflammation. As the cause of inflammation is not always clear, it is better to have a prior diagnosis. You should also not use this equipment in case of physical injuries such as sprains, fractures and dislocations. In these cases it is better to rest, apply cold and heat and wait for the recovery process to accelerate.
And if you like to massage your neck, beware of dizziness. Sometimes the strong and constant vibrations have this side effect. Massage should be stopped immediately in such cases.
Are electric massage machines good for slimming?
They are not really useful for weight loss. They’re perfect if you’re looking for toning, skin rejuvenation and pain relief, but no such equipment will make you burn extra calories.
Is an electric massager the same as a muscle electro-stimulator?
The use of electric massagers is more varied, with a wide range of benefits in different areas. In contrast, electro muscle stimulators or TENS equipment are used for transcutaneous nerve stimulation and focus on pain control, generating greater strength and endurance in muscle groups. So no, they are not the same.
Massagers are used in the sports world, to increase the performance of athletes in training and competitions. They activate the musculature, improve vascularisation and promote the growth of muscle mass.
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