It’s no surprise that back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions in Canada1. We regularly find ourselves crouched over tiny tables, lying crooked on the couch all day, or texting in an awkward position in our beds. And let’s not forget about those tough days at work that leave us with aches and pains at the end of the day. And if you’re reading this article, you’re most likely amongst the four out of five adults that will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime2.
Since it’s clearly not the best year to be going out and receiving professional massages, back massagers are a great alternative. Whether you’re in pain from a tough day at work or simply experiencing tightness in the back, an electric back massager can provide near-instant relief. However, when it comes to choosing the right back massager for your particular needs, the decision can be overwhelming.
- What is an electric back massager?
- How to choose the best back massager?
- The Best Back Massagers in Canada in 2022
- How do electric massagers work?
- What are the benefits of owning a back massager?
- Different Types of Electric Massagers
- What are the benefits of massages?
What is an electric back massager?
A back massager is an electric device that simulates a real-life back massage. They come in many shapes and sizes and offer a range of features. In terms of design, one of the most common and effective types of back massagers will resemble a car seat. The more basic and affordable electric back massagers will simply rest on the shoulders. The most intense, effective and expensive at-home back massager is a massage chair.
In terms of features, almost all back massagers will allow you to control the intensity or style of the massage. Some back massagers will come with a remote control or app that allows you to control these options. More expensive back massagers will even come with a heat feature. While heat is not integral to a good massage, it makes the massage more deeply penetrating and soothing.
How to choose the best back massager?
Massage Style / Kneading Feature
The main feature you should look for in a back massager is kneading. Kneading uses outer motions to massage your from the core of your back. The sensation is similar to two hands massaging your spine. Kneading is a simple and quick fix for a sore back.
Rolling is another popular feature seen in high-end shiatsu massagers. The roller performs horizontal, vertical, or sideways rolling motions across the back. As a result, your muscles relax and stretch, and your spine is softly soothed. Rolling is known to provide a sensation of extreme relaxation.
Next in line is vibrations. Depending on the power of the massager, a vibrational massage can have a variety of benefits on the nervous system. Quick and forceful movements can boost the immune system, while softer and slower movements can relax the body. A vibration massage can stimulate the release of endorphins, a hormone that can relieve pain throughout the entire body.
Number of nodes
The massager should also have as many spinning nodes as possible. A massager with fewer than four nodes should be ignored. More nodes indicate that the massager is penetrating deeper into the skin, which increases its overall effectiveness. It’s also important to know how many nodes can be working at the same time.
Portability & Ease of Transport
Another factor to consider is portability and weight. If you travel frequently or have an outside desk job, a portable and lightweight back massager is ideal. Some back massagers are heavy and must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Others are more lightweight, rechargeable or even battery operated.
The Best Back Massagers in Canada in 2022
From back chair massagers to portable back massagers, below are the 5 best back massagers you can find in Canada this year.
The Comfier Shiatsu Neck & Back Massage Chair Pad offers realistic finger pressure, kneading, rolling, and infrared heating technology. It incorporates a combination of inwards and outwards motions that work together to deliver multi-dimensional pressure on your muscles. This technology really simulates the sensation of fingers. The Comfier massager also has a convenient SPOT function that lets you concentrate the massage on a specific area of the back.
Overall, the Comfier Shiatsu full-back massager pretty much delivers the same level of relief as a complete massage chair, but at a fraction of the price.
- 4 rotation modes to choose from
- More affordable than a full massage chair
- Has an excellent heat feature
- Lets you target a specific area
- Lack of adjustability, not suitable for short people
- Lack of power/intensity reported
The RENPHO Massage Cushion is our favorite massage cushion on the market in terms of massage quality and materials. We also love the RENPHO for its adjustability. Similar to most massage chair cushions, the RENPHO lets you target your whole, upper, or lower back. But what really sets it apart is the amount of nodes on each section and their unique positioning. No matter which region of the back you’re targeting, the RENPHO has 8 nodes that work simulatenously in a circular position. These nodes ensure that the area is thoroughly kneaded.
The RENPHO offers a heated massage if needed, and has a massage pillow for a thorough neck massage. Its seat also vibrates more intensely than the other massage chairs on this list and has three levels to choose from.
Overall, the RENPHO is an excellent choice for thoroughly massaging the neck and precise regions of the back.
- Highly adjustable and precise
- Has 3 massage sections and 8 kneading nodes
- Clockwise & anticlockwise rolling
- High quality & made in USA
- Has a built-in timer and overheat protection
- Bulkier and heavier than other massage chairs
The Snailax Back Massage Seat is perfect for deeply massaging both the neck and back. It offers a combination of deep kneading and shiatsu massage techniques. It also has a soothing heat feature for those cold winter months. The chair has four different neck massage settings to choose from, in addition to four adjustable shiatsu massage nodes. Its seat has two vibration nodes that soothe the thighs. Similar to Comfier’s massage chair, the Snailax has a SPOT function that lets you target a specific area of your body. Since its nodes can also be adjusted to account for different heights, the Snailax is a great massage chair for the entire family.
- Can be adjusted based on height
- Masages both neck and back
- Lets you target specific areas
- Neck massage could be better
- Light vibration, not as powerful as others
- Users have reported a clicking sound
This Snailax Massage Seat is perfect if you only want to massage the back. It has four deep kneading nodes that travel up and down the back, making it easy to adjust. It also lets you focus on three different areas of the back. Similar to the Snailax Neck & Back Massager above, the chair has a vibrating seat that gently massages the hips and thighs. The seat massager has two levels of intensity to choose from. The chair’s settings can easily be adjusted using a remote control.
In terms of safety, the massager has a built-in thermostat to prevent the massager from overheating. This is a great massage chair for back massages.
- An affordable alternative to higher end back massagers
- Heating feature that prevents overheating
- Vibrating seat for hips and thighs
- Not suitable for all heights
- No intensity adjustment
- Cannot target shoulder region
Magic Hands by truMedic is a simple yet highly effective neck and back massager. Unlike many electric massagers, its features are limited to massage node reversal control and heat control. While it’s inherently simple, the quality of the shiatsu massage it provides is excellent. That’s largely because its 3D nodes are designed to simulate the feeling of human hands. Unlike massage chair pads, you will have to physically control the location of the massage nodes. For that reason, relief is almost guaranteed. The Magic Hands also offers a soothing heat feature. The Magic Hands massager is fully portable and comes with an A/C adapter for recharging.
- Small & easily transportable
- Battery operated and rechargeable
- Allows for extremely precise targeting
- Requires more manual effort to position
- Fabric can rip after long term use
How do electric massagers work?
Similar to a human-delivered massage, electric back massagers work to decrease back discomfort by relaxing muscular tissue. They can also help relieve nerve pressure. Since your muscles contract regularly, they can end up squeezing the nerves that surround them. When your muscles are in a relaxed state, these nerves unsqueeze, thereby relieving pressure and discomfort. Your muscles will also be able to better absorb appropriate nutrition and work more effectively.
What are the benefits of owning a back massager?
There is nothing better than being able to reap the benefits of a massage from the comfort of your home. They’re also a convenient and affordable way to receive a quality massage on a daily basis. Here are the main benefits of owning a back massager:
Manage back pain from home
The most obvious reason to own an electrical back massager is to manage your back pain from home. Back discomfort is undeniably frustrating and using a back massager regularly can help relieve this pain. In addition to relieving back pain, an electric massager can also help relieve headaches.
Improve your sleep quality
Back massages increase the body’s production of serotonin which is needed for the production of melatonin 3. Melatonin is basically our body’s sleep hormone. For that reason, a back massage is an excellent way to get a boost in melatonin before bedtime and improve your sleep.
Save money on professional massages
Owning a back massager is unquestionably more cost-effective than frequent visits to a professional masseuse. In fact, a single visit to a massage therapist can cost more than an electric back massager. For that reason, an electric back massager can offer great value for your money.
Different Types of Electric Massagers
Massage Cushions & Seats
Portable massage seat cushions are great as they’re effortless to use once set up. They’re also flexible as they can be placed on any chair in your house or office. Some will even come with an adapter for your car. The benefit is that you can simply sit back, press a button, and enjoy a soothing massage. Most massage chair cushions will have a heat feature that is extra soothing. While most are designed for shiatsu back massages, some models include a neck massage feature.
Handheld Back Massagers
Handheld back massagers, sometimes referred to as massage guns, are most often portable and much less expensive than the chair massagers mentioned above. They’re also much more flexible since you are physically controlling the massagers location. This manual labor can be a downside for some people as it can take away from the relaxation element.
Waist Belt Massagers
Waist or back belt massagers are worn around the waist and ar excellent for massaging the lower back region. For that reason, they’re ideal if you suffer from lower back pain as opposed to generalized back pain. These types of massagers are often heated which is a huge bonus.
What are the benefits of massages?
Massages are an excellent way to loosen up your muscles and relax. When executed correctly, they’re known to relieve tension in the back, improve circulation and increase your overall relaxation. Below are the main advantages of massages:
- Increase muscle relaxation
- Improve blood circulation
- Relieve back pain or discomfort
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Help relieve headaches
- Help relieve anxiety and depression
With the combination of these benefits, receiving a massage regularly is a great way to improve your sleep quality and general quality of life.