Selecting A Massager Device That’s Right For Your Purpose & Budget
We use our feet more than any other body part – perhaps this is why stress seems to build up in our feet. A proper foot massage can relax your entire body, replenish lost energy, improve your mood, release toxins, alleviate pain, and improve circulation. Going to the spa is pricey, but purchasing a foot massager will save you money and give you the convenience of relaxing in your own home, any time during the day or night. We review some of the best foot massager machines and products and provide helpful tips to start you down the path to happy feet.
I’ve received numerous comments & emails from readers asking me which type of massager is most suitable for their particular condition. I realize that the objective of most people fall into either one of two categories:
1. To relief sore, aching feet due to fatigue or conditions like Plantar Fasciitis OR
2. To seek a more general relaxation experience through feet therapy
So I’ve attempted to create quick start guides that addresses each of the two objectives separately and in greater detail. You can click on the right category below to read each of the guides. I’d still encourage you to through this entire article as it contains more detailed reviews.
Great Gift Options for Holiday Season 2017
Editor’s note: consider options 1 & 2 if you looking to purchase a foot massager as a gift. These 2 options are likely to be well-received by a wide range of audiences due to their ease of use.
1. uComfy Shiatsu Massager (with Heat & Air Pressure Functions)
The neat thing about this device is that it has several different modes that you can choose from, activate/ deactivate depending on your preference. So different individuals can customize their experience based on their needs and liking.
Unique features include:
- Heating function using infrared light to warm your feet (can be toggled on/off)
- Kneading function activates rollers to give the bottom of your feet a deep rub (can be switched on/off)
- Air pressure – squeezes your entire feet much like a blood pressure machine, stimulating blood circulation & varying the overall intensity of the massage (5 levels of intensities to choose from)
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS LIKE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT?
Customers generally find this unit straightforward to operate and rate it high in terms of comfort level. They also find it suitable for a whole range of foot sizes, including large feet. People with exceptionally large shoe sizes (12-13 & above) may find it quite snug compared to those with smaller feet, but they find that this can be compensated by reducing the intensity of the air pressure. Furthermore, many customers with foot ailments and aches found this unit to be effective in providing them relief. Lastly, the heat function is also well appreciated, especially during winter months.
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS DISLIKE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT?
Some find the kneading function to be too intense at the highest settings and recommend starting off with the lowest setting. Others find the power cord a little too short for their liking. Lastly, there are some consumers with very large feet that commented that the massager did not get to their heel area well.
2. SHIATSU FOOT MASSAGER WITH HEAT BY BROOKSTONE
This Brookstone product’s two claims to fame are that it employs heat and mimics a Shiatsu massage. Shiatsu targets pressure points, calming both body and mind as deep pressure is applied to your feet. The main goals of Shiatsu are to reduce stress and improve blood circulation.
Combining heat with a massage can:
- Make your feet more receptive to massage
- Improve circulation
- Alleviate swelling
- Relax joints
- Soften calluses
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS LIKE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT?
All customers agree this machine is easy to use and like the adjustable intensity and settings. In addition, the device is lightweight (12 pounds) and easy to store and clean. Like most Brookstone products, it has an appealing design that looks nice in any home. According to reviews, this massager is great for all ages and foot sizes, promotes sleep and relaxation, elevates mood, and is a good foot massager for plantar fasciitis. The best reviews came from those who work long hours on their feet (such as nurses and waitresses). Don’t worry if you fall asleep during your massage, the machine automatically turns off after 15 minutes.
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS DISLIKE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT?
The main customer complaints about this product relate to durability and heat function. Some consumers complain they can hardly feel the heat. A few customers reported a broken product after a few months and recommended contacting the company immediately if that happens. They found customer service to be responsive and efficient in addressing their complaints in those instances.
Editor’s note: consider options 3 & 4 if you are looking to relieve foot related ailments like plantar fasciitis, neuroma, heel pain, heel spurs with targeted therapy:
MASSAGERS THAT RELIEF SORENESS, ACHES, TENSION & TIRED FEET
Most electronic massagers are excellent for general massage of the feet and for relaxation therapy, but if you are looking to soothe sore or achy feet, nothing beats a manual massage. Of course, the best sort of manual foot massage would be those administered by a skillful therapist, but for budget considerations and for the convenience of being able to receive a stimulating foot massage anywhere and anytime, foot massage rollers are excellent products you should consider too.
The advantage of foot rollers over automatic foot massagers is that you are in full control of the strength and pressure of the massage, and the protrusions on the massager and the rolling action are designed to provide for a deeper stimulation of the foot tissues and muscles. This is especially useful if you are experiencing sore feet or conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, where the massager can help with myofascial release, a process whereby tissues and muscles are relaxed, helping to relieve pain and soreness in the feet. Contrary to popular belief, medium pressure is all that is needed to stimulate this reflex, and over-stimulation (often experienced with the overzealous stepping on massage stones, metal balls or other forms of ‘hard massage’) can actually do more harm than good.
3. TheraFlow Deep Tissue Foot Arch Massage Roller
- Designed to provide a deep knead to the foot arch and foot sole
- Stimulates myofascial release in the plantar fascia
- The roller is attached to a metal axle meaning the wood base stays stationary while the feet rolls over the wooden roller. This makes the roller suitable for use on any flat surface, even on carpeted/ rough surfaces
- Made of high quality natural wood
What do consumers like about this product?
This is made of wood and ‘nubbier’ than regular rubber rollers and does press firmly into the foot tissues. This works the foot arch area particularly well, it is also very portable so I found it to be a great addition to the larger dual foot massager that can be brought along during travels and fit easily into a handbag.
Anyway, most other consumers found this foot roller to offer great value for money (it retails for less than $10 at the time of writing). Many were surprised at how a simple and inexpensive device like this could offer significant relieve to plantar fasciitis and foot pain. Some also mentioned that they found this tool useful for alleviating symptoms of stress fractures. On the flip side, some find the device less effective for targeted heel stimulation, as the roller has a tendency to slip off the heels when rolled to close to the edge of the feet. The conclusion is that if you are looking to treat mainly the foot arch/ sole area, this is perfect, but if you are looking to treat the heel, the larger dual foot model offered by the same company could be better.
4. MEDIMASSAGER MMF06 VARIABLE SPEED FOOT MASSAGER
Used mainly by therapists and professionals, the MMFO6 is the most powerful electric massager available to the public as well as a pioneer in diabetic neuropathy foot care.
- 11 speeds (1,000rpm-3,700rpm)
- Oscillating foot pad
- Arch-bar (stimulates toes, arch, and heel)
- Pressure point targeting surface (to stimulate circulation)
- Includes gel pads for use on non-carpeted floors
- Can be used on calves and shins in addition to feet
- CSA and FDA certified for therapeutic use
- Quiet motor
The MMF06 was designed for clinical and therapeutic use and is best suited to those suffering severe foot/leg pain, serious circulation issues, and pain or cramps resulting from neuropathy or diabetes. In addition, this massager eases tense muscles and reduces swelling and joint pain. The device is ergonomically designed to provide the most comfort.
WHAT MADE CUSTOMERS SMILE?
Most customers are steered towards this model by their physicians in hopes that the device will increase circulation and alleviate pain. Many agree that just 15 minutes each day will help with numbness from neuropathy. In a touching review, a daughter claims the MMF06 enabled her diabetic father to wiggle his big toe for the first time in over a year. Make sure to speak with your physician before purchasing. If you are diabetic and struggling with your weight, check out this article about Garcinia Cambogia.
WHAT MADE CUSTOMERS FROWN?
Durability is the most common complaint about the MMF06. Several customers report a loud whirring noise or loose pieces after less than one month of use. They recommend contacting the company for a replacement when that happens. In addition, the 11-pound machine is awkward to carry. Some consumers find the machine a little costly as it costs about $230.
5. TheraFlow Dual Foot Wooden Acupressure Massager
- Designed to be able to massage both feet at the same time
- Comfortable width and 10 rows of rollers to fit any feet size
- Arch designed follows natural contour of the foot
- Last row of rollers contain larger protruding pegs that allow for deeper massage and stimulation of tissues & especially good for the heels
- Made of natural wood grain material
What do consumers like about this product?
I have personally used this device so I can speak from my own experience here. I have suffered from plantar fasciitis for several years and it got so bad at one point that I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and feeling that jolt of pain when my feet hit the ground.
A podiatrist that I consulted recommended that I roll a can over my feet, among other forms of therapy and exercises. By chance, a friend that saw me rolling my feet with a can recommended that I try using this type of wooden massager. The first one I got was OK but I didn’t feel it did anything more than the can because it couldn’t reach the arch area well. Then I found the TheraFlow and the first thing I noticed was it had an arched design that rolled over my entire feet very well including the heel area. To be honest, although it felt sort of comfortable to use it, it also kind of tickled and I had to wear socks when I use it initially. I also wasn’t sure whether it would help at all with my foot pain.
I wasn’t really expecting much but to my surprise, after the first week or so using it for about 10 minutes in the morning and at night, I woke up without that dreaded pain in my foot for the first time in a long time! I’m not sure exactly how it worked but I believe it had something to do with releasing the tension in the foot tissues and pressure points. This has since become part of my daily routine.
If you looking for a more ‘lazy’ form of relaxation and foot massage, then perhaps an electric massager would work better for you as this one does require some work on your part! But if you are having any sort of foot or heel pain, this is certainly worth a try!
Editor’s note: consider the following machine if you are looking for a budget-friendly option:
6. HOMEDICS FMS-270H DEEP KNEADING SHIATSU FOOT MASSAGER
The FMS-270H mimics expensive Shiatsu massage but is light on the wallet. At only $60, this is an effective massager for those with moderate foot pain but is not recommend for diabetics.
- Soothing heat
- 6 rotational heads to provide deep-kneading action
- 18 massage nodes
- Simple and easy to use toe-touch control system
WHY DID CUSTOMERS LIKE THIS MASSAGER?
The deep Shiatsu massage provides relief for even the most stressed-out feet. Recommended use is just 10 minutes per day. Satisfied customers include once-suffering construction workers, chemotherapy patients, and teachers. At less than 7 pounds, you won’t have trouble moving this machine around the house. Many customers report the machine is easy to use and appreciate the automatic shut-off feature.
WHY DID CUSTOMERS COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS MASSAGER?
According to customer reviews, the biggest problem is in regards to positioning. Because this model sits flat against the floor, it is difficult to hold your feet against the massagers. Some people reported using a book or stack of magazines to prop the device up. This was the only way they could achieve a comfortable angle. Furthermore, those with large feet complain the massage pads don’t line up with their feet properly. Customers with high arches complain the rolling function is unable to reach their arches. The heat function does not seem to work well in addition to a high incidence of broken lights on the machine. Finally, customers with ticklish or sensitive feet found this product much too rough for their liking.