Machine vs hand massage

Massage by hand is an excellent therapy which has been used and benefited people for probably thousands of years. However, we now have the option of performing massage using machines. There are two types:

Massage cushion
"Kneading" massager

Kneading action massagers

Massagers such as massage cushions and massage chairs generally use a "kneading action" that mimics the conventional massage by professional massage therapists. They have the advantage of allowing practically unlimited self massage, but without the knowledge and tactile ability of a skilled therapist it would unlikely be as effective as that applied by a professional.

General Purpose Massager
Vibration massage machine

Vibration massagers

These machines use a completely different action to manual or hand massage, having vibration waves penetrate like ultrasound or laser. Like massage cushions, they too allow practically unlimited self massage, but how does the effectiveness of vibration massage compare with the effectiveness of hand massage. Lets look at the facts.

  1. The ability to penetrate deeply without pressure
  2. Excellent scientifically proven effects
  3. No need for special skills and knowledge to be able to apply quality therapy
  4. Because it provides quality therapy without special skills or knowledge it allows practically unlimited therapy.

Ability to penetrate

Massage needs to penetrate deeply to get to the spots that need it. Hand massage uses pressure do this, whereas vibration massage uses mechanical vibrations similarly to the way ultrasound uses sound waves. The advantages of vibrations are that they can pentrate far more deeply. Also without needing the physical pressure there is no need for pain, and far less risk of damage or injury. To help show how much better vibrations penetrate and how much less risk of damage there is compare the two machines below.

Vibrations sent into the earth and picked up several km away

How vibrations penetrate

The vibrations from this truck pentrate deep into the earth's crust where it bounces off the layers of rock and are picked up by sensors several km away. Vibration massagers use this principle to penetrate deep into your muscles.

This machine is called a sheep’s foot roller. It uses crushing pressure to compact the ground underneath. It’s effect probably extends to about a meter in depth.

Using pressure to penetrate

Manual or hand massage uses pressure to penetrate. As you can see by this machine, even with tremendous weight and pressure it's penetration is only a minute fraction of that achieved by the vibration machine above. It also requires much more effort and has the potential to do much more damage.

Scientifically proven effects

Those vibrations penetrate deeply and have the excellent scientifically proven effects. These are listed below. For more information please see our summary video or our article The scientifically proven effects of vibration massage

The scientifically proven effects of vibration massage

Summary video

No need for special skills

Simply speaking, to use vibration massage all one needs to do is place the vibrating pad of a massager over the part that needs massaging and let the vibrations penetrate and do the work. We recommend that a professional be consulted to determine where, when and how often massage should be applied. However, armed with that knowledge practically anyone could follow simple instructions and apply effective therapy. This video shows how easy it is to apply vibration massage.

Practically unlimited therapy

Both hand massage from a skilled therapist and vibration massage are excellent therapies. However, as discussed below massage usually requires multiple therapies over time. Hand massage by a skilled therapist is usually limited by time and funds, whereas self massage using vibration is practically unlimited.

Multiple therapies are needed for:

  • Pain syndromes and rehabilitation (see video)
  • Wellness care to help with blood pressure, anxiety, sleeping etc. (see video)
The DrGraeme Ultimate Quad Head Massager
The DrGraeme Ultimate Quad Head Massager

How to choose a vibration massager

For how to choose an quality massager that will do a great job and that you will be extremely happy with please see our article How to choose a massager, or you can go straight and check out our economical, easy to use professional standard machines: the General Purpose Massager or our Ultimate Quad Head Massager.


DrGraeme massagers were originally built by Dr Graeme for use in his clinic, and to prescribe to his patients for additional self use at home. Now these are used by colleagues and other professionals for similar purposes. If you are a professional and wish to know more about this therapy, or possibly get a sample massager to trial please check out our practitioner page.