What Is A Massager? Discover The 9 Types Of Massagers

What is a massager?

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

A massager is a person or device that gives a massage. A massage is when someone or something rubs or applies pressure to the body for pain relief, relaxation, or other therapeutic purposes. Some massage techniques include kneading tapping etc.

The word massager is impersonal and much more likely to refer to a device than it is to refer to a person. It is far more appropriate to call a person who gives a massage a massage therapist. You could possibly call them a masseuse but that word has developed slightly negative connotation over time.

Regardless of whether you get your massage from a person or machine, massagers can have therapeutic health benefits. They have helped people quit smoking, lower their blood pressure, and fight cancer.

Massage machines make massages convenient to use at home. Imagine getting a foot massage or back massage whenever you want without having to make an appointment.

There are a wide variety of massagers that you can use at home. Below, I list out 9 different types of massagers that you can easily use at home.

This website also has lists of massagers that you can find on Amazon. The purpose of these lists is to make it easy to compare and contrast the different massagers so that you can find a massager with all of the right features for you. If I have a guide for a certain category, I will include a link in the header.

Types of massagers

Head Massager

what is a massager?

A vibrating head massager.

 Anyone who has experienced TMJ knows that we hold tension in our heads. If you experience a lot of stress, it is possible that you clench your jaw, constantly tightening the large muscles of your head and neck like your temporalis and masseter muscles.

A head massager helps to provide some relief for this tension. There are a wide variety of head massagers.

Some of them are electronic and vibrate. Some of them are simply wires with beads attached onto the ends

Neck and Shoulder Massagers

What is a massager

This massager drapes over your shoulders.

 These massagers drape over the shoulders. The back has 4 shiatsu nodes which provide the massage. They have hand grips in the front that you can grab with with your hands and adjust the pressure however you like.

One disadvantage of this feature is that you need mobility in your arms in order to make this massager work. If you do not have the grip or or the strenght to crease pressure, these types of massagers will be difficult to use.

However, there is another type of small massager that provides many of the same advantages as a shoulder massager without this disadvantage covered in the next section.

Shoulder massagers are one of the most versatile types of massagers. You can use them on your back, your neck, legs, stomach, and even your feet. In addition these massagers are small and portable so you would have no issue taking this on the road if you need to.

Pillow massager

Pillow massagers are also versatile, small, and portable. These massagers only weigh about 5 lb so they’re easy to take on the road with you.

Many of them also come with a car adapter or a battery so that you do not run out of power on the road. Unlike the shoulder massagers which requires you to use your arms, the pillow massagers are designed so that you can simply lay back and let it work on your back and shoulders. You can even use it on your feet if you want.


Full Back Massage Cushions

 A full back massage cushion gives more of a feel of a massage chair. These cushions usually have a panel on the back with shiatsu notes, vibration, or even air pillows. They also have a cushion along the bottom that is usually just vibration, even though there are some models that have air pillows.

These massage cushions are extremely relaxing. You can just sit back and enjoy the massage working up and down your back releasing muscle tension and helping you ease into relaxation.

These cushions are fairly light and portable- though certainly not the lightest on this list. You can take them between work and home if you want though they are usually heavy enough that you wouldn’t want to lug them around all the time.

Some of them include a neck massager but this tends to miss certain parts of the back. Sometimes one feature comes at the detriment of another feature. If you want to get one of these massagers it is important to consider if having all of the features is really worth it.

Overall a full back massager allows your to just sit back and enjoy the massage without having to worry about making adjustments.

Percussion massager

Percussion massagers are also known as handheld massagers. These are one of the most popular types of massagers.

You are more likely to see a percussion massager on store shelves over any other type of massager partially owing to their small size and low cost.

They are also very versatile. They can be used on most parts of your body from your back to your legs to your feet.

The one disadvantage of a percussion massager is that you need to be a little bit of a contortionist to effectively massage your back. I find that I tend to strain a little to reach the best spots with this massager, which defeats the purpose for me.

I personally find a pillow massager or a shoulder massager much easier to use for the back. Even though the percussion massager does have some issues, it remains a very versatile and affordable choice.

Massage Chairs

A massage chair is the most luxurious choice. If you want to experience a massage chair without buying one, you can usually find them at nail salons and Brookstones.

Massage chairs provide the full body experience. They envelop your body from heat to foot in comfort. They are packed with features from air pillows to 3D shiatsu notes which mimic real human hands to even cradling your body in zero gravity.

There is definitely a price tag for this luxury. Expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for a good massage chair.

Foot massagers

Foot massagers are perfect for people who tend to get sore, tired feet- the type of people who stand on their feet all day for work.

These massagers tend to be loaded with features. It is not unusual to see a foot massager that has heat or rollers on the bottom too soothe the tense spots. Who wouldn’t want to come home to that sort of pampering?

There are a wide variety of foot massagers. You can get one that is a simple wooden roller 4 usually less than $30. Or you could go all out and get a full calf and foot massager that is loaded with features.

No matter the price tag you can find something that is effective. Overall foot massagers fulfill the dream of having your feet cared for and pampered whenever you want.

==> Click here to see some examples of different foot massagers

Massage Rollers and Sticks

What is a massager

The back buddy the original trigger point therapy self massage tool. Click the image to check it out on Amazon.

 These massagers are simple but effective. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so that they are customized for different parts of the body. I’ve seen some that are shaped like tennis balls, sticks, and canes.

Though you have to put in a little bit more work to use these then your average electric massager they are still usually very ergonomic and easy to use. You simply roll them over the areas that are sore and need a massage.

I have noticed that many manufacturers of these rollers tend to be conscientious about the materials that they use frequently shunning chemicals such as BPA.

Since these massagers do not have any complicated parts, you can possibly use these in the shower (though make sure that you read the instructions first if you choose to use this type of massager).

Overall these massagers are not as fancy as some of the electronic massagers but they still give a great massage and are quite affordable.


There’s another class of massagers that is outside of the scope of this website but I figured that I would at least mention it for the sake of completeness. Let’s just say that these are adult in nature.

In conclusion, a massager is a device that can give a massage and there are many different types of these devices on the market. Massagers make it easy and convenient to get a massage at home.

Now that you know the answer to the question “What is a massager” I encourage you to learn more about the benefits of a massage and to also check out some of the guides on this site so that you can learn about the different features of these massagers.

In the comments below, let me know what your favorite type of massager was. For me, personally, it is the massage chair. Who doesn’t dream of coming home to a full body massage?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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