From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Electronic Massage Tools: Increase Efficiency and Extend Your Career,” , in the December 2008 issue. Article summary: The use of electric and electronic tools is gaining popularity in massage settings, proving to assist client outcomes while boosting practitioner income.

The marketplace features a number of tools, including handheld electric massagers that knead, oscillate, pulsate or vibrate. “A machine will give a good massage if it is more powerful,” Julian says. “A lower-end machine—say, a $10 massager—will not be effective. It can’t go very deep.”

An electronic tool should have some flexibility as well, he adds.  For example, if a tool comes with attachments, it will perform several functions and offer multiple treatment options.

“Different attachments do different things,” he says. “A rounded tip can dig down, while a pointed tip can get a knot out.”

The construction of an electric massager makes a difference to both therapist and client, says Watters. He explains that some machines have a direct-drive mechanism, meaning that the output of the motor is transferred into the base plate, making the tool more effective.

“No energy is lost going through the gears, transmissions or belts,” he explains. “You get 96 percent of the energy being put back into the machine. There is very little feedback in the hands. The therapist won’t get numb and it won’t be uncomfortable.”

Better models will also have variable speeds and controls to determine the appropriate intensity for each client.

Phyllis Hanlon