Best massagers of 2021 – Popular Science

A powerful solution for relieving legs and feet.
Interchangeable tips can pinpoint various areas of the body.
A luxurious chair that hits the whole body.
One of the best forms of self care is tending to your aches and pains with the help of massage. Besides muscle relief, studies show that massage has widespread benefits for the body and mind, such as managing skin conditions, pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia, hypertension, and enhancing overall mental well-being. But paying for frequent trips to the massage parlor can get costly. With the help of at home massage tools, like massage guns and rollers, you can get the benefits of soothing muscles without having to shell out tons of money and time every week. Whether you’re an athlete looking to tend to sore muscles and joints, suffering from painful body parts due to age or illness, or simply looking to up your self care game, here are the best massagers to keep you feeling relaxed and pain free.
Because there are a wide variety of massagers on the market, we broke our search down to five key types: foot, neck, chair (full body), hand, and scalp. Each type of massager requires different features and components, but there are definitely some throughlines in our methodology. 
We analyzed each massager’s value for its price point: are you getting the most bang for your buck? For neck and back massagers, we also wanted to ensure you’d be getting enough motorized power, without causing further pain and discomfort to your joints and muscles.
For handheld massagers, we only recommend those that aren’t too heavy or bulky, so that you can easily soothe yourself without having to feel like you’re working out. After all, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? 
Because massage tools are a very broad genre, you’ll want to be specific about what your problem areas are and your intended use. Do you suffer from carpal tunnel and need hand relief? A hand massager is probably for you. Are you an athlete that requires deep tissue, full body relief often? A massage gun is your best bet.
You should also figure out what you’re looking to spend. Massage chairs, for example, can cost you well over $1000 (some are even $10,000!), while massage guns can be around $100. 
It’s also very much worth talking to your doctor before starting to shop for one of these massagers. That’s especially true if you’re suffering from any injuries or medical conditions. While most of these tools are simple to use, they may not play nice with underlying issues. Rubbing or applying pressure to the wrong area can increase pain or even cause permanent damage if you’re not careful. Err on the side of caution. 
A burly massager that applies plenty of pressure.
Why it made the cut: Between heat activation and incredibly powerful massage kneading, this is the best foot massager you’ll find. It works wonders to relieve pain from various conditions.
Especially designed to help those suffering from Diabeic Neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and bone spurs, this foot massager is one of the most powerful on the market. It’s heat activated for added muscle and joint relief, and works all the way up through the ankles and calves for even more relief.
The movable bar allows you to adjust the positioning to your comfort, and has three levels of intensity with five different modes: rolling massage, compression therapy, a sway function, heat therapy, or the quiet mode for a simple relaxing effect.
Drawbacks include the lack of remote control and only one timer setting (15 minutes). However, the overwhelming consensus was an appreciation for how intense this machine can get: “it hurts so good!”
It works on your whole body, but it shines around the neck.
Why it made the cut: The forked attachment is wonderful for working on your neck, but it’s versatile enough to handle your whole body if other parts get sore.
While we chose this for the best neck massager, this massage gun works the entire body. It has 10 replaceable massage heads to work all the nooks and crannies, providing the most accurate muscle relief, blood circulation, and lactic acid removal. Use the fork head for your neck and spine, and the crescent head for your shoulders. 
While the massage heads are specific and strong, many users noted that one of the best elements of this massage gun is that it won’t hurt if you accidentally press over a bone. (Many guns have plastic attachments that can cause sharp pain over sensitive bones). 
It has an ergonomic handheld design that’s easy to use and won’t slip, and LCD touch screen to adjust the modes and intensity. All this comes at a very fair price point, especially when compared to other massage guns on the market. Get the best massage gun before it sells out.
You won’t want to get out of this full-featured chair.
Why it made the cut: With a zero gravity design, heated function, and a full body massage capability, this is a must for anyone who needs consistent muscle and joint relief.
This 3D, zero gravity massage chair makes you feel like you’re floating in space. If you’re unfamiliar with zero gravity versus traditional massage chairs, zero gravity means you can recline all the way back. In this neutral position, you feel like you’re floating in “zero gravity,” because your weight is evenly distributed and your heart is lower than your legs. This helps to reduce pressure along your back, sciatic, and pelvis. This weight distribution is also beneficial if you sit for long periods of time.
The deep V-wrapped design and heating features are meant to help relax your emotional state, as well. The robot hands work the entire body in a rhythmic motion, and the chair can automatically adjust to a person’s height and body shape for the most accurate massage. 
You can even play music from the chair using the built-in Bluetooth speaker. While this chair is very expensive, it is a competitive price point for similar quality massage chairs. Manually programming the chair can be annoying, so it’s best for those who prefer automatic mode.
Pamper a part of your body that’s often neglected.
Why it made the cut: With 4 waterproof, replaceable heads and 28 individual nodes, this scalp massager can be used for dry massage use and in-shower massaging and cleaning.
While the design is simple and straightforward, this scalp massager is doing the most. It comes with 4 replaceable massage heads that rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise with high and low speeds for optimal goosebump-worthy head massage. 
We love that this is a waterproof design, meaning you can use the scalp massager in the shower to get a deep clean, stimulate your scalp, and relax you. In fact, studies show that head massage can increase hair growth and thickness. Don’t worry, it’s not going to tangle or pull your hair. If you’re concerned about tangling your hair, though, you can put a scarf over your head and still get the tingling and stimulation benefits. 
Ready in less than an hour on an easy charging base, it holds the charge for a long time. We also love that you can even use this device on pets.
Hands take a beating, but this massager helps with heat and pressure.
Why it made the cut: Relieve carpal tunnel, arthritis, and over-worked hands with this cordless electric, heated, and intense hand massager.
Our pick for the best hand massager, the Lunix pressure point therapy massager is excellent for palm, back of hand, and wrist pain. It comes with a separate finger massager, as well, which is great because we saw many users complain about the actual unit not providing enough finger relief. 
The unit comes with 6 levels of massage and intensity compression. It heats up to about 107 degrees F, which melts away sore and cramped muscles. It’s designed especially for Arthritis, pain relief, and carpal tunnel. If you want to focus on the wrists, though, you can place your hand halfway into the massager and hit program number four. It’ll massage your whole lower hand, and that “meaty” section of your thumb. 
Note that the pressure can be a bit intense for some, so go easy when you’re starting out. It also can leave marks on your hands when you’re done using it, but have no fear. They will disappear after a little while.
Everything else you need to know about massagers
A: It depends. While massage has been shown to help alleviate pain and help with relaxation, every person’s body is different and requires varying amounts of relief. How often you exercise, how intensely you work out, and what conditions you have all affect how often you will need to massage your body.

The best way to tell how often to use your massagers is to go with how you feel. However, it also depends on how you use your massager. If you are using a massage gun, for example, you can use a more gentle setting to warm up your muscles daily and increase blood and lymphatic flow. If you are using an intense setting to work deep tissue, you will probably want to use this less often.

When it comes to massage chairs, though, the recommendation is typically to use it around 3 to 4 times per week.
A: Yes! Studies show that vibration can reduce whole body inflammation! 
A: Like all products, the market varies widely. Some massage guns are under $100, and some can cost you over $700! This all depends on what features you’re looking for, brand names, etc. We’ve found that you can find a great massage gun that won’t break the bank, but will still get the job done. Those fancy $700 models are not necessary to get pain relief. 
Massage benefits your entire body, as well as offers stress relief and relaxation for your mental health. With the help of the best massagers, you can save money and gain more convenience by having a professional-grade massage at your fingertips. 
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