If you often experience pain in your back or shoulders, feel muscle tension in your neck after sleep, or have sore muscles after intense workouts, you know the importance of massage therapy. But what if you don’t have the time and resources to visit a physical therapist?
New gadgets and apps are created daily to monitor your health and relieve certain types of pain. Can smart massagers replace physical therapy, or are they overhyped expensive toys? We tested different kinds of popular modern-day smart massagers to find out.
Verdict: Perfect for a post-workout deep-tissue massage.
Achedaway Pro is a massage gun or a percussion massager. It’s a handheld device that uses vibration and deep oscillation to massage sore and irritated muscles. Massage guns are known for reducing lactic acid buildup that causes muscle soreness. They improve your lymphatic and blood flow, which helps your body to get rid of toxins faster.
Percussion massage guns are great for recovering after an intense exercise session. The Achedaway Pro is one of the most powerful tools you can find when it comes to percussive therapy.
The massage gun comes in a carrying case that houses several attachment heads to use on different body parts. The interchangeable massage heads include the ball head for general massage – perfect for a little pre-workout warmup, the fork head for areas like the spine and neck, the flat head for a more intensive deep tissue massage, and the bullet head for a focused massage of a specific area of your body, i.e., trigger points.
Generally, smaller attachments work better on feet, hands, and calves, while bigger, wider massage heads are best for large muscle groups like quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Achedaway Pro has five-speed levels, from 1700 to 2800rpm. If you don’t have experience using massage guns, we recommend sticking to the 1st and 2nd speed settings at most, at least for the beginning. The rechargeable battery lasts 2-4 hours, depending on the intensity of your massage.
Achedaway Pro is a handy tool for any serious athlete or even an amateur who wants to have a massage gun at home. It’s a little bulky but has an ergonomic shape with serious power and amplitude. The Achedaway Pro can properly massage deep muscle tissue and help ease muscle pain and soreness after a workout.
Price: from $299 on Amazon
Verdict: Great for focused pain relief.
Cupping therapy isn’t very popular in the Western world as something you can practice at home but rather as a form of physical therapy performed by a professional. It involves suctioning the skin at the surface, which in turn increases blood flow and helps promote the healing process within muscle tissue. As a result, you receive pain relief in the muscle group you’re targeting.
Traditional cupping therapy involves chemicals, open fire, and an expert who knows what they’re doing. The smart Cupper by Achedaway simplifies the process to ensure you get the same effect but can administer the procedure yourself at home without expert knowledge.
The Achedaway Cupper is a small rechargeable lithium-ion battery-powered device that generates suction to a plastic cup that you place onto your skin when you want to experience pain relief. The Cupper has five intensity modes ranging from 0 to 60 kPA.
Unlike traditional cupping therapy, the Achedaway Cupper offers the experience of dynamic cupping, where pulsating suction and release take turns. Dynamic cupping doesn’t hurt your skin and stimulates blood circulation and nerves, ensuring a faster recovery.
The Cupper connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you can control the intensity levels and the length of your cupping therapy via the Achedaway app. That way, you can enjoy dynamic cupping and red light therapy in the comfort of your home, at a gym, or anywhere else you need a release for your tight muscles.
Price: from $169 on Amazon.
Verdict: Helps with general relaxation and relieves pain in the neck and shoulders.
Neck and back pain can be a nightmare. Even when not severe, neck pain can decrease productivity, ruin mood, and harm general health. Body massage has proven helpful with neck and shoulder pain, mainly caused by stress and tense muscles.
If you don’t have the time and ability to see a massage therapist regularly, a Breo iNeck 3 Pro smart neck massager can help relax your muscles and temporarily relieve neck pain. This C-shaped massager has a form of a travel pillow that sits around your neck nicely. The three-node massage heads actually feel like the therapist’s fingers. With the heat therapy setting on, the whole experience feels close to a real-life relaxing massage.
However, relaxation is probably the most you can get out of this smart massager. Even though the iNeck 3 Pro has powerful motors and different speed settings, it doesn’t feel enough to relieve any actual neck pain. Instead, it’s a device that will help you release any tension and stress you might have after a long day of work.
Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, you can control it from your smartphone and change the massage patterns as much as you want without taking the massager off your neck.
Price: from $179.99 on Amazon.
Verdict: Great for helping people with sleep issues.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep or relaxing before bed, a smart eye massager can help you solve these issues. Breo has two generations of smart eye massagers in their product line – the older iSee 4 model and the iSee M model. Both massagers fall into the “beauty tech” category. However, they have more health improvement potential than you can imagine.
Both eye massagers look a bit like VR goggles or a puffy eye mask and might initially seem a little bulky for something you’ll be wearing in bed. Once you start using them, this feeling will go away, and you’ll get used to the shape and size of the massager.
The iSee 4 and iSee M offer different massage modes, so you can select soft, medium, or hard massage settings depending on how much pressure and heat you want to apply. The iSee M is the latest model with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to control the massager via your mobile app. You can also use the Breo app to create your own wellness routine by scheduling regular massage sessions.
While Breo eye massagers won’t bring any permanent pain relief to your body parts, they can significantly improve your sleep by helping you relax and relieve eye strain. That’s especially important for those who work at the computer and spend most of the day in front of the screens.
Verdict: A must-have tool for stretching your muscles before and after workouts.
Hyperice is another brand known for producing one of the best massage guns on the market – Hyperice Hypervolt. If, after learning how massage guns work, you realize that device isn’t for you, but you’re still looking for a gadget that can help you boost athletic performance and improve recovery time, try the Hyperice Vyper 3.
Hyperice Vyper 3 is a smart foam roller that combines the vibrations of a massage gun with the form of a foam roller. This form alone has its own health benefits and can help you improve range of motion and prevent injuries during exercising if you regularly use the foam roller.
Vyper 3 is a relatively dense roller with a bumpy surface texture that you’ll notice when you first use it. You can use the roller before your workout session to stretch your muscles during a warmup or after you finish exercising. We found the effects of the Byper 3 especially noticeable when you roll it under your calves and lower back.
Aside from being a muscle massager, Vyper 3 can be a vibration therapy tool. It has three vibration settings that can be changed manually on the roller or via the mobile app. You can also use the app to narrate your workout session aloud, which is very handy as you don’t have to interrupt your exercises to look at the screen.
Vyper 3 comes equipped with a charger and a set of interchangeable plugs for every type of socket. The battery life of up to 2 hours on a single charge is enough for several sessions, considering each session will probably last you 15-20 mins.
Are Smart Massagers Better Than Real-Life Massage?
It’s unlikely that smart massagers will be able to replace physical therapy and real-life massage any time soon. However, if you’re looking to improve your recovery after doing sports or simply relax after a long day at work, a smart massager can do that for you.
A smart massager can also make for a perfect gift for an elderly family member or someone who suffers from insomnia or chronic headaches. You can order the devices from this article from the official manufacturer or on Amazon.