Machine v hand massage

If you want a soothing, relaxing hands on experience you will probably be better off with a hands on masseur. However, if you have a specific muscular or soft tissue problem read on.


We’re in the 21st century now. Medics often don’t have to cut people open to remove gallstones, they put an ultrasound machine on the surface and the high-energy waves smash the stones. Geologists send vibrations deep into the earth to map what’s underneath. Likewise we have percussive massagers that have hammer pads that send vibrations deep into muscles. If we can smash gallstones with sound and bounce vibrations off bedrock dealing with a few deep muscular “spots” shouldn’t really create much of a challenge.

I used to refer to masseurs, but why should a patient pay some guru with magic fingers who can “find the spots” when they can buy a quality hand held percussive massager, sit the massager over the area, and the vibrations penetrate and do the work. I’ll guarantee that if the vibrations are strong enough they’ll get into places not even the guru with the magic fingers can.

Maybe before when the massagers available were little non serious buzz boxes masseurs might have been faster and more effective, but not now. If a masseur wants deep penetration he or she has to literally squash the underlying muscles. The deeper it goes the more pressure, and the harder the masseur has to work. More pressure often equals more pain so the muscles tighten up, which is the opposite of what you want to happen. Also to get deep into the muscle a masseur can only work on a small area at a time.

Using a DrGraeme massager at home is convenient and allows regular repetitions

Contrast this to a mechanical percussive massager. It sits on the surface and sends it's vibrations deep into the muscles. The muscle being worked on is very relaxed because vibrations relax the muscle and there is no painful "digging in". Rather than be limited by how much and how deep the muscles can be pressed upon, the mechanical massager is only limited by the size and shape of the hammers and the power of the motor.

What does this all mean? We've had experience with hands on massage and various mechanical percussive massagers like ours. The machines are maybe 5-20 times as as fast, depending on which machine you use and what you are doing. Also they seem to do a far better job of the deeper tissues (which are the ones masseurs press in painfully to get). If a body part would normally take say half an hour using hand massager you will probably only take 5 minutes with a machine. Surprised? You shouldn't be. If you want to dig a trench your only option used to be a shovel. Now you can use a trench digger or a back hoe and get a better job in a fraction of the time. Also, if you have a machine it's much cheaper to use it than pay for hours of work by manual laborers. It's the same with massage.

Regular repetition

Massaging chronic myofascial (long standing muscular) issues and weeding a garden have a lot in common. Neither are very complicated, but whether you want your garden to be free of weeds or your body to be free of chronic myofascial issues you need to do it regularly.

This is where home massage with a hand held massager has it all over hands on professionals. Serious long standing muscular issues can take 20-30 or more regular applications of therapy over time. If you have a massager sitting next to your favorite lounge chair you will probably get your 20-30 or more applications, but if you rely on a professional hands on masseur you probably won't..


This is where the hand held percussive massager wins hands down. It can be done by yourself in 5-10 minutes while sitting in your lounge chair watching TV. Nothing comes close.


To get the proper results with massage at home buy a massager and you need to consult a professional (eg. Chiropractor, Osteopath or a Physiotherapist) who can advise you on whether massage is appropriate, then where you need it, how often and so forth. Once you've done that the massage you do at home is practically free. On the other hand wihen done by a professional you pay, and pay, and pay, and continue to pay.