A massage is the patting, rubbing, and kneading of soft tissue in the body. The soft tissue targeted during a massage includes tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, and muscles. Pressure is also exerted against relevant pressure points of the body.
Massages have been a form of physical therapy and rejuvenation ever since ancient times. There is evidence that suggests that massages have always been a popularly used form of medicine as well, dating back to civilizations such as China, India, Korea, Egypt, Rome, and Mesopotamia.
Massages are typically given to reduce tension, pain, and tightness in an afflicted area, which makes them incredibly beneficial towards your well-being for a plethora of reasons.
Firstly, massages are therapeutic for your muscles. They help rebuild damaged muscle and alleviate body aches and pains. Massages also release endorphins and serotonin. This helps reduce anxiety and depression while stimulating better sleep cycles.
Types Of Massages
Because massages have been practiced in a wide range of areas over different periods of time, and because different massages are engineered to bring different benefits, various massage styles have different effects on the body.
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point therapy massage targets your body's trigger points. A trigger point is an area within muscle tissue that triggers both isolated and overall bodily pain and discomfort. That is why this is one of the best massage types for pain.
It works by focusing on the points of pain and using pressure and release method to expel the bodily tension. Trigger point therapy is an excellent option for those suffering from muscle aches because it is a highly efficient relief method—your pain levels can change just after one massage.
Shiatsu massage is a form of Japanese massage with shared roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The word Shiatsu means finger pressure. The Shiatsu massage style utilizes hand, knee, elbow, finger, thumb, or node activity to exert pressure on the body's points.
Shiatsu is said to help remove energy blockages by realigning the body's meridian points. Meridian points correspond to the body's organs, and there are 12 existing points.
The 12 points are lung, large intestine, stomach, small intestine, heart governor, triple heater, gallbladder, and liver. A Shiatsu massage is meant to thoroughly heal the body and stimulate the nervous and immune systems to enhance the body’s circulation.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a massage style that has been developed to reach the deepest layers of muscle tissue. This massage can break up scar tissue, knots, and rigid tissue in the body. These deformed tissues often cause lots of pain, tension, discomfort, inflammation, and even disrupted circulation.
The deep tissue massage uses a variety of techniques to produce a pain relieving effect. The massage begins with a warm up, which consists of light pressure. Then it moves to stripping and friction, which involves applying more pressure.
Specifically, regarding the stripping motion, you'll experience deep pressure that moves vertically with your skin.
Friction is the pressure that is applied against the grain of the muscle. Deep tissue massages typically focus on specific issues had. They are particularly beneficial for people with injuries or muscle pain because the deep tissue massage can be manipulated to focus on a particular problem area which results in maximized relief.
A Swedish massage is one of the most popular and traditional types of massage therapy. Its primary focus is to get the entire body to a state of relaxation. The massage is performed in long rubbing strokes; the direction of the massage is that of the blood to the heart.
This type of massage can reduce levels of stress and cortisol. It is also great for increasing oxygen and blood flow throughout the body.
The list goes on. There is a multitude of massage types that are performed differently. Different massages have similar end goals, but each may be able to target a particular area or function better than the other.
Deciding which massage type is best for you should be based on your body's needs. All of these mentioned massage styles are also suitable for specific massages, such as neck massages.
What Is A Neck Massager?
A neck massager is a portable and personal massaging device. It can use any one of the massages above styles and apply them to your neck, shoulders, and back.
Neck massagers are designed to replicate professional hand massages. This makes them extremely convenient and costs effective for the user. Although professional massages will always be a great option, it is hard to frequently see a masseuse, massage therapist, or even your chiropractor.
This is because massage visits can be time consuming and expensive. Most people consider massages a luxury for this reason, and even as a medical treatment through insurance; it can still be hard to get regularly scheduled for a massage.
However, neck massagers are bought once and used repeatedly. Meaning for a one-time price, the user could have unlimited massages at their convenience.
Neck massagers give the user the freedom to experience massages in the comfort of their home as frequently as they'd like.
This means you don't have to delay your body treatment or stress relief when you need it, so you hold the keys to a relaxed mental and physical state in your own hands.
This is a fantastic tool for those who need regular massages for relaxation or pain relief. Neck massagers give immediate relief, and with prolonged usage, they can stop and prevent pain, tension, and tightness from reoccurring.
They are also great for people with anxiety, depression, or tension headaches because they will release euphoric hormones into the body just as a hand massage would.
This also makes the device ideal for someone who is busy or in constant travel. Because neck massagers are portable and, very often, cordless, they can be carried around or packed and used in other settings as well.
With What Can Neck Massagers Help?
There are several benefits of owning a neck massager, and here are some of them.
We often carry tension due to anxiety and stress in our backs, shoulders, and necks. This tensing can cause tension headaches as well. A neck massager targets these areas to provide relief.
The act of the massage also releases oxytocin and serotonin, which combat stress, anxiety, and depression levels. Generally, neck massagers help to relax the mind and entire body, providing much-needed stress relief as well.
For an athlete, a fitness lover, an overworked individual, or someone with an injury, muscle recovery is very important. In fact, massage techniques are part of daily therapy for many athletes. That is because massages help hasten muscle recovery.
Massage techniques do this by decreasing the level inflammatory proteins and increasing mitochondria, which produces energy for the muscle recovery. This has been proved during clinical trials. Increased mitochondrial production is an indicator of tissue recovery.
One of the most commonly known benefits of massages is muscle pain relief. Massages work by relaxing muscle tissue. This loosens up the muscles and helps prevent or stop spasms and contractions that cause pain.
Massages can also help issues related to nerve compression, which can be painful. There is a "gate control theory" about massages that come into play when your body reacts to a deep pressure massage.
Massages may interfere with the signal between your pain receptors and brain. In fact, massages have the power to replace pain with other sensations, allowing your brain to feel those instead. A massage closes the gate of pain signals and replaces them with relief.
Lower Heart Rate
A higher heart rate can be the result of anxiety, stress, illness, etc. It can also be uncomfortable and can cause added anxiety and stress. For some, especially those with high blood pressure problems, a higher heart rate can put them at risk for health complications like heart disease.
Therapeutic massages can reduce stress hormones and relax the body, allowing your heart to relax and its rate to lower. In this case, a neck massager can be used for relief from a high heart rate and also for preventative measures.
Massages can help improve your range of motion. Muscle tenseness can reduce your flexibility and your ability to move. By combatting muscle tension and tightness, massage therapy can increase your flexibility over time.
Massages help expel lactic acid from the muscles, creating a higher flow of lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymph fluid carries metabolic waste away from the muscles. Massage therapy also helps boost blood flow throughout the body.
This can be good for anyone, because increased blood flow is always beneficial, but it is also particularly helpful for people with injuries or circulation problems. A muscle injury can limit circulation; therefore a massage would help correct this issue.
As for people with medical circulation problems, they can often experience cold hands, feet, and other negative symptoms. Massage therapy would help bring blood flow to all parts of the body and increase health.
Using a neck massager at night will relax the muscles in your body and allow you to sleep well. Often, insomnia and irregular sleep patterns are triggered by both physical and mental stress. A massage will help relieve this stress and make you fall asleep faster and for longer.
Similarly, the vibrations, warmth, and node movement pattern will soothe your body and create a calm and rhythmic vibe that will ease you into slumber.
Types Of Neck Massagers
There are many options of neck massagers you can choose from.
Infrared massagers use energy waves during the massage process. These energy waves penetrate the deep tissues of the body. These massagers also add warmth to the body for soothing sensations throughout.
They can relax tight muscles, improve circulation, and relieve pain. This type of massager is also beneficial for someone who has arthritis.
That is because infrared massagers utilize warmth and heat therapy.
The heat therapy stimulates blood flow—an effect that combats pain due to arthritis.
Otherwise, this type of massager is great for anyone else who wants to feel relaxed and pain free.
Shiatsu Pillow Massagers
Shiatsu pillow massagers sound just like what it stands for! There is a pillow on this massager that contains nodes. These nodes deeply knead the tissues in the style of a Shiatsu massage. The pillow is then placed in the back area for a massage.
This type of massager is one of the most popular kinds, and for all the right reasons. Shiatsu pillow massagers are created to feel like traditional hand massages. These massagers are great for pain relief, relaxation, and muscle restoration.
These pillow massagers are great for people who are athletes, work out a lot, or have an injury. That is because the Shiatsu style of massage helps heal and rebuild muscle, especially when used regularly. It is also an excellent post-workout treatment for fitness lovers and athletes.
Pulse massagers utilize electronic impulses as therapy. These pulses hit muscle tissue and fight pain.
How Does A Neck Massager Work?
Different neck massagers work in a variety of ways. Ones with a seat or cushion utilize nodes. These nodes are stationary when the device is off. However, once the device powers on, these nodes move in different patterns and directions. They do this to target certain muscles and pressure points for the best massage possible.
Usually, the nodes are controllable and reversible through a button system on the massager. The nodes typically vibrate as well. Sometimes, they come with a heat setting that adds extra warmth to the massage.
Some handheld massagers operate with different heads. Each head has its design. The individual designs are made to function for their specific targets. These massagers are typically moved around actively by hand—so you decide where and how you get your massage.
Portable massagers also work with rechargeable batteries. You plug your device into charge and once it charges you plug it out and use it. A device typically lasts 3 to 6 hours off of the plug. However, once the battery starts to run low, the device can be plugged while being used as well.
Neck massagers work by deeply kneading and stimulating tissue in the neck, back, and shoulder area. This stimulation and added pressure releases tension and helps activate the cells in your muscles.
How Should I Use A Neck Massager?
Neck massagers are relatively easy to use, especially since many of them are automatic. However, here are some simple steps to make sure you stay on track while initiating your massage.
Firstly, make sure your massager is fully charged. This will ensure that you get the longest and most relaxing massage possible.
If you are using a pillow massager, you want to place the pillow on the muscles you are focusing on (neck, upper back, shoulder, etc.). If there is a particular area that needs a massage, you can tilt the massager in that direction.
Typically, these massagers come with arms and handles. Put your hands through the handles and adjust your grip. Your grip adjustment will change the pressure of the massage. These massagers also have control panels. If you want to add heat, press the heat button.
If you want to reverse the direction of the nodes, then change the direction settings. Once you finish your massage, make sure everything is unplugged if you happened to plug it in.
If you are using a handheld massager, the process is entirely different. Handheld massagers come with various head attachments. Before using this type of massager, pick the attachment that is most suitable for the kind of massage you want and the muscle area you are trying to target.
Unlike the pillow massager, you hold the handheld massager the entire time and direct it entirely on your own. However, you could also ask someone else to use it on you.
Among the many manufacturers of neck massagers, here are a few of the most famous ones.
Hueplus is a health and household brand that specializes in electronic massagers. The massagers they make are Shiatsu massagers for the neck, shoulders, and back. Their massagers come with a neck pillow and arm loops. This company is a high-quality brand with fantastic reviews and many happy customers.
TruMedic is a company that is known for their massagers, and it manufactures a large variety of massage therapy tools for you to choose from.
In fact, TruMedic sells pulse massagers, Shiatsu pillow massagers, and handheld wand massagers, which are perfect for performing a quick massage on damaged tissue. They are a trusted brand that makes high quality and innovative massagers.
Brookstone is a brand that has been around for a long time, so it’s safe to say they are experienced with making massagers. Their products are functional and maintain innovative designs. Brookstone is a nationwide brand that you can trust with your massage tool needs.
HoMedics is a brand that consistently comes out with the latest massager designs and techniques. Their variety in massagers is one of the largest on the market. Each massager comes with tons of different options, especially with design and structure.
They sell Shiatsu pillow massagers, pulse massagers, hand held massagers, and heat therapy devices. Many of their regular massagers have heat therapy as well. And they even have mini massagers for on the go!
Before purchasing a massager for long-time use, you should always consult your doctor. If you plan on using the massager to treat an injury or aid the symptoms of illness, it is essential to ask your physician for guidance and advice.
If the massage device gives you any pain, skin discoloration or changes, or an adverse reaction, you should stop using it immediately.
If you have continuous pain in certain areas, you should not solely rely on the device. Telling your doctor about abnormal body pains or new injuries is vital to your health.
Masking a potential health problem with surface treatments can be dangerous.
If you decide to plug the device in, make sure always to unplug it after every use.
Maintenance And Cleaning
If you are using a plastic massager, you can wash it with some gently dish soap and a wet rag or piece of paper towel. If you are sharing the device with someone else, you can quickly disinfect it with an alcohol pad.
Make sure to clean the device when it is powered off and unplugged. Give it some time to dry before using it as well.
For a pillow or fabric massager, you can clean the surface the same way. Make sure you don't over saturate the fabric with water.
Massage Lubricants & Aromatherapy
Massage lubricants can be added to the experience for a greater, smoother massage. Three different types of lubricants are commonly used: lotion, cream, and oil. The kind you choose has to do with how much glide you want and where your preferences lie.
Heavier oils are better for massages with low friction, and lighter oils are better for massages with more friction. Lighter oils are also better for athletic treatments and deep tissue massages. Lotions are good because they're convenient and moisturizing.
Most people have lotions readily available to them, so a cream might be a better option for someone who has to perform activities after the massage since oils tend to stay on the skin and stick to clothing.
Also, if you have any allergies, oils like almond oil with nut ingredients may not be suitable for you.
Aromatherapy is also used during massage therapy because it helps deepen the experience. Different scents have different effects on your body. For example, Lavender, one of the most popular fragrances, helps relieve anxiety, calm the nervous system, and relax the muscles in the body.
Scents like chamomile reduce anger and tension, also preparing you for sleep and relieving insomnia. For those who want to lower depression levels, citrusy scents like tangerine, orange, grapefruit, and lemon will come in handy. Sandalwood is used to help restore confidence and self-awareness.
The peppermint scent can give you more energy and help you overcome extreme fatigue, especially after being worn out. Rose Geranium can be used to calm irritability.
For more information on essential oils and some of their powerful uses checkout 6 of the most common uses of essential oils.
Buying Your Own
With all of this great information on the benefits of having your massager, there's no reason not to go out and get one. Buying your massager can be an enriching experience. It can change your routines and your body for the better forever. Take a look at our buying guide to discover which massager is best for you!