When it comes to working with delicate joints and muscles, especially after an injury, it can seem daunting to take matters into our own hands. But with the right tools, and the right instruction, you can give yourself a top-quality sports massage at home, just right for working out all those kinks and niggling aches, with no masseuse in sight. The best massage tools will help you get to those hard to reach aches and pains without the hefty price tag of a regular visit to the masseuse!
- Check out our round up of the best muscle toning machines
- What about reading up on the best essential oils for spa-like massages at home?
Not only is self-massage a convenient way of easing tension and pain that you can undertake in your own home, it’s also incredibly cost-effective: rather than pay for pricey individual sessions or long courses with a massage therapist, there’s a one-off cost, often less than that of a single appointment. Plus, the beauty of these tools is that you can use all of them by yourself (although it can sometimes be more fun to get a friend involved).
Whether you go for a ball, a belt, a roller, or even something more unusual like a cane, there are some tips and tricks that can help you get the best out of every session. Massage is easier on warm muscles than on cold muscles, so try it straight from the shower or bath. Don’t shy away from trigger points, which you might have heard described as “knots” — while they might be tender to touch, gentle massage can actually help to reduce the pain. Most importantly, if you’re ever in doubt, have a chat with your doctor or physiotherapist; they might even be able to show you the best form for using your new massage tool. Result.
1. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
For leg day or everyday, give this firm foam roller a try
Best for: Everyday post-workout | Type: Foam roller | Designed for: Legs
This extra-firm foam roller is ideal for use on fatigued post-workout legs or tight calves and hamstrings, with its variable density for added control. While the first few uses can be challenging — it works and stretches muscles to whip out knots and soothe spasms — it’s well worth sticking with it for improved circulation and flexibility, and longer-lasting pain relief. It’s also hollow, making it light to lift while being sturdy enough to lean on for core exercises.
2. RockTape RockBalls - Twin Pack
For working the kinks out of post-run legs, these balls rock
Best for: Runners | Type: Massage balls | Designed for: Legs and feet
This set of two rubber massage balls, one textured, one smooth, opens up a range of options for self-massage. The spiky one looks scary, but for working knots out of achy post-gym muscles, its helpful spines are hard to beat. The smooth ball, meanwhile, is great for use on sensitive areas, like sore feet suffering from plantar fasciitis.
3. Anself Back Roller Massager
Get on a roll with this gentle travel-sized massager
Best for: Travel | Type: Massage ball | Designed for: Back and shoulders
For treating sore muscles on the go, this travel-sized massage roller-ball is just the ticket. An excellent upgrade from the ubiquitous tennis ball, it’s on the gentler side of things, perfect for daily use on larger areas rather than targeted relief. It doesn’t massage deeply enough to improve range of motion, so for that sports massage feel, go for something a little more intense, but it feels really good all the same.
4. Thera Cane
For temporary relief from stiffness and soreness, grab the Thera Cane and get to work
Best for: Doctors’ choice | Type: Massage stick | Designed for: Hard-to-reach areas
Originally designed for chronic pain patients, the small points of the TheraCane allow users to focus pressure on individual muscle groups for targeted relief, and its curved crook design means it can even be used easily in the centre of the back without painful twisting and turning. Its four patents set it far apart from cheaper competition, and it comes highly recommended by doctors and physiotherapists alike.
5. PowerLead Pnma M005
This heated belt has the power (and the variety) to work away aches and pains
Best for: Relaxing massage | Type: Massage cushion | Designed for: Neck and shoulders
This massage belt with its heated action offers the best of both worlds when it comes to loosening up tired muscles. There are multiple massage modes and levels of intensity to choose from, making it a great multi-tasker for everyday use, and the occasional stronger session. The snug, neck-and-shoulder-hugging shape also makes it a winner. Use it for relief of tension, or just to relax, after a long day. Bliss.
Check out our guide to the best fitness trackers