June 2022

Which massage tools work best?

We trialled five massage devices, including a massage gun, and chatted to some experts to see which are worth buying.

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S M N.
01 Jul 2022
Physio Massage gun vs Trigger Point Cane

we bought a Physio Massage gun then sold it quite quickly. The main problem was the weight of it and intense vibration felt in the hands. This was bad for my carpal tunnel symptoms. A second person is needed to apply the massage to most areas.
The TriggerPoint accupressure Cane on the other hand is marvelous. reaches many area on back, no vibration and good value

Mike L.
28 Jun 2022
Too small a range tested for results to be broadly valid

I have significant problems with pain from sustained muscle contraction. What I find works best for my particular situation: tennis ball in a sock for upper back (safe if used only to the sides of the vertebrae, not in the midline), used standing with back to the wall; lacrosse ball for upper gluteal muscles and/or a very firm finely spiky (think coronavirus) massage ball, hard plastic bumpy massage stick for legs, smooth EVA foam roller for lower body in general - you can buy much longer ones than the one you tested. The differences between them are in both depth of penetration and ease of positioning for use.

My advice is to look around, see what's available and start with the two cheapest options: a tennis ball and a firm massage stick, then branch out from there to perhaps a long firm EVA roller. Then maybe a cheap massage ball if the tennis ball isn't cutting it for muscle knots on the lower body.

I find them very useful to enhance comfort and range of painfree joint motion.

Susan O.
18 Jun 2022
Physio's comments

Why don't you ask physio's who are actually very well known for having performed extensive research to back up what they say. One such Physio is Professor Peter O'Sullivan who works at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. He also has his own joint owned practice where people with chronic pain and many varied problems are seen.
He would know more than most physios about whether use of such devises is just a farce or not. While he originally trained as a physio in NZ he is now a world class expert. He was recently interviewed on RNZ Radio - an extremely informative interview. I have personally used a Shiatsu machine but have never found it as useful as an excellent physiotherapist - sadly we just don't have many of those in NZ. The best Physios I have seen mostly were in Western Australia.
I was also seen last year by a Physio who has a doctorate alleging she is an expert in Shoulder injuries in Auckland last year. Going to her was undoubtedly the worst experience I have ever had a a client needing expert physio help. We need to attract more physios who are not narrow minded in their approach to treatment. Too many in NZ are in this category and after returning from living in Perth I went to numerous physios in NZ before finding one who actually makes a difference.
So while for people who use these machines its good to get professional advise, I am just saying having a degree does not always make that person's advise worth listening to sadly.

Karen H.
18 Jun 2022

I agree with a lot of your comments.
I recently had to attend physio my self and it is the worst experience i had, I've lost faith in physio, even mentioned this to my doctor.
We need proper trained physio in NZ.
The one and only physio I had was absolutely fantastic, and I was not the only one that said this about this particular physio, he really knew his stuff. but sadly he left, and went overseas for his holidays and never came back to our city.