Massage therapy goes a long way back to help relax and ease sore muscles and body pains. It involves hand techniques of stimulating pressure points to release muscle tension. Nowadays, electronic massagers are widely available to help achieve the same results but without the need for a practitioner. However, are they good for you? Fortunately, they are convenient and cost-efficient that give massage benefits with minimal effort. In addition, many devices can perform multiple functions.
Work and daily activities may result in tired and swollen muscles, which causes pain. Moreover, strenuous jobs and exercises may also cause pulled muscles and sprains. Therefore, many people relieve the pain by massaging the affected areas. Handy electric massagers or stimulators can give instant relaxation after a long day. The following sections will talk about how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and various types of electronic devices.
Functions of Electronic Massagers
Going to a spa regularly may be time-consuming and costly. Hence, an electronic massager is a great alternative to ease muscle pain. Various machines give muscle relaxation through different means such as heat and vibrations. Firstly, they work by utilising electric currents to rejuvenate the affected areas. For example, some devices combine heat therapy to loosen muscle knots and reduce inflammation. Applying heat improves blood circulation and pushes out lactic acid waste. Increased blood flow also helps heal injuries faster.
Secondly, the machine produces a steady stream of electrical pulses that mimic manual manipulation. As a result, it helps keep muscle fibres active and induce endorphin production. Endorphins are natural hormones that aid in relieving pain as well as reducing stress and anxiety. Thus, high endorphin levels promote better well-being. Furthermore, relaxed muscles improve flexibility and resistance. Greater muscle strength protects the surrounding tissues and joints and prevents minor injuries.
Additionally, some electronic massagers employ electrodes that stick to the skin. They deliver small electrical units targeting the nearby muscles or nerves. Therefore, they can give therapeutic effects without the potential risks to the vital organs, unlike oral medications. Moreover, their applications extend beyond home use. They are beneficial in sports and training programs to ease post-workout pain and after a surgical procedure.
- Boost the immune system
- Improve sleep
- Restore the range of motion
- Lower stress and anxiety levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce muscle soreness and inflammation
- Reduce muscle adhesions
- Increase energy levels
- Reduce chronic pain episodes, like tension headaches and migraines
- Enhance the overall physical fitness
- Improve mental alertness
Disadvantages of Electronic Massagers
Electronic massagers offer several benefits including a cost-effective way of managing soreness and pain. They can easily be used at home while resting or watching TV. However, many may wonder if there are disadvantages to using such equipment. Mainly, there are many devices available in the market. Unfortunately, not all provide the same quality or effectiveness. Thus, you need to examine the device before making a purchase. In addition, incorrect use may not give the desired results.
Electrical therapy devices carry risks of shocks or burns. Modern equipment uses sturdy wires to avoid accidental shocks. They also have modulated frequencies to prevent overstimulation. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to open or exposed wires. You must also follow the recommended guide in using the device. One of the downsides of electric massagers is they cannot assess which areas need intense or mild stimulation. Thus, the user must control the intensity level.
In extreme cases, improper use may aggravate the condition. For example, using massagers around the neck and throat can severely irritate the arteries in the head and neck, resulting in ischemic stroke. Therefore, it is best to consult a healthcare professional regarding their use if you have an underlying health condition. Lastly, a good quality electronic massager comes with a hefty price. However, investing in a quality device can help you use them long-term without problems.
Following safety precautions is vital to prevent further harm. The general guidelines include the following:
- using around the neck or throat can risk carotid artery dissection
- do not use on wet skin or in water
- consult a doctor if you are pregnant
- consult a doctor if the pain is caused by fractures
Types of Electronic Massagers
Electronic massagers range from high-end massage chairs to handheld and wearable devices. Moreover, the main types of massagers use percussion, rotation, and heat therapies. A percussive massage utilises repetitive pressure with vibrations to affect the soft tissues. On the other hand, rotation massagers deliver circular motions which are suitable for the neck, shoulders, and back. Additionally, heat massagers emit high temperatures to help dilate the blood vessels for increased blood and oxygen flow.
In addition to electrical massagers, there are many therapy devices that help soothe tensed muscles and relieve pain. The common types are Electric Muscle Stimulators (EMS) and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machines. They both use electric currents passed through the skin. However, they differ in their target areas, purpose, and effects. EMS causes involuntary contractions to help strengthen and stabilise weakened muscles. It also reduces painful spasms and cramps and prevents muscle atrophy.
Meanwhile, a TENS machine is a type of electrotherapy device that targets the nerves to relieve pain. The mild electrical pulses stimulate the sensory nerves to block the pain signals from reaching the brain. Like massage, it also induces the release of endorphins. Hence, it is beneficial for various acute and chronic pain conditions, including arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. Furthermore, TENS devices like iTENS can also be electronic massagers as it includes massage mode in their treatment options.
How to Use EMS and TENS Devices
- Read the manual beforehand
- Position the electrode pads around the sore muscles or affected area
- Place the pads on a clean and dry skin
- Switch on the device
- Start with the lowest settings
- You may select the desired treatment from the menu
- Follow the recommended treatment duration
- Switch off the device before removing the pads
An electronic massager helps soothe tired or sore muscles. They work by producing patterns similar to a manual massage. However, some devices may add more functions such as heat therapy to maximise its effectiveness. When used properly, they can give numerous benefits including muscle pain relief, improved blood circulation, enhanced immunity and resistance, and better well-being. In contrast, incorrect use has potential risks including accidental shocks, minor burns, and stroke in extreme cases.
Many types of electronic therapy devices are available to treat a wide range of conditions. In particular, TENS and EMS are the most common non-invasive methods for pain relief and muscle relaxation. Hospitals and treatment centres use these devices to help patients with chronic pain or injuries. In conclusion, they can help you with persistent pain and other muscle-related issues. You may also use it anytime and as often as needed.