foot massager

Best Foot Massage Machine - An Overview

If you’ve worked a 9-5 office job for the bigger part of your life, you probably understand the weekend fatigue that comes with it. At the end of what, more often than not, feels like a particularly long week, it seems as though the entire weight of the world is resting upon your shoulders. It’s as if all the stress and deadlines are giant rocks that keep piling on your now fragile back, and all you want to do is rid your body of these unwanted sensations. You’ve probably tried sleeping for 10-12 hours at a time but still felt as though you haven’t quite shaken off those giant rocks. In these situations, a nice relaxing massage can be the exact procedure you need to get you back on your feet.

Fun fact, did you know that all the stress you feel on your shoulders can actually be fixed through your feet? According to the science of reflexology, most of the stress and other health related issues that we experience can be traced and treated through a particular massage on certain areas of the hands and feet. A massage in the right place can do wonders for your overall well-being.

Best Foot Massage Machine - An Overview

If you’ve worked a 9-5 office job for the bigger part of your life, you probably understand the weekend fatigue that comes with it. At the end of what, more often than not, feels like a particularly long week, it seems as though the entire weight of the world is resting upon your shoulders. It’s as if all the stress and deadlines are giant rocks that keep piling on your now fragile back, and all you want to do is rid your body of these unwanted sensations. You’ve probably tried sleeping for 10-12 hours at a time but still felt as though you haven’t quite shaken off those giant rocks. In these situations, a nice relaxing massage can be the exact procedure you need to get you back on your feet.

Fun fact, did you know that all the stress you feel on your shoulders can actually be fixed through your feet? According to the science of reflexology, most of the stress and other health related issues that we experience can be traced and treated through a particular massage on certain areas of the hands and feet. A massage in the right place can do wonders for your overall well-being.

What is reflexology?

What is reflexology?

Woman sitting at desk using foot massager

Reflexology is a branch of alternative medicine that was initially practiced in early Chinese and Egyptian cultures. It is based on the belief that all the organs and areas of the human body are linked to the hands and feet. It is thought that by targeting different regions of the foot by means of massaging and tissue manipulations, it is possible to address all different kinds of health issues.

“Your feet are a gateway to your health”. - Unknown

So, by this logic, massaging particular areas of the feet can actually help rid your body of the all the stress accumulated in you over the duration of the particularly long week. For this a home foot massage machine can become your ultimate best friend.

Reflexology is a branch of alternative medicine that was initially practiced in early Chinese and Egyptian cultures. It is based on the belief that all the organs and areas of the human body are linked to the hands and feet. It is thought that by targeting different regions of the foot by means of massaging and tissue manipulations, it is possible to address all different kinds of health issues.

“Your feet are a gateway to your health”. - Unknown

So, by this logic, massaging particular areas of the feet can actually help rid your body of the all the stress accumulated in you over the duration of the particularly long week. For this a home foot massage machine can become your ultimate best friend.

What you need to know before purchasing a foot massage machine?


Why do you need the foot massage machine?

First of all, it is important to ask yourself why you need a personal foot massage machine. Are you an avid runner and need to relax the tense muscles on your calves and ankles? Or are you a runway model and need to relieve the pressure from the soles of your feet from walking in high heels? Whatever your reason may be, if you are someone who spends most of the day on their feet, it’s important to choose a foot massager that fits the type of treatment you need. Based on your needs, you can opt for an open or closed massager with varying massage types and, if needed, extra added features.

What kind of massage style do you want?

Foot massage machines can incorporate different styles of massaging techniques. The most popular types are shiatsu, kneading, vibrating and air compression.

  • Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique that uses acupressure (pressure applied to specific points in the body) to encourage the flow of positive energy across the body, also known as Chi. In a massaging machine, the acupressure is achieved by the use of rotating heads that apply pressure and move around the area of interest.
  • Kneading involves a rougher manipulation of the muscle tissue. With this technique, the tissue is manipulated by mechanisms of lifting, rolling and squeezing. This helps break down tight knots and adhesions and facilitates the alignment of the muscle fibres to their healthy form. This technique could be very useful for the manipulation of calf muscles of athletes and runners.
  • Vibrating involves the rapid oscillation of the tissue to promote improved circulation and blood flow. It is the best technique to relieve the tension on the soles of the feet.
  • Air compression is a technique that is created by inflating and deflating airbags around the muscle, to create a change in pressure from around. The adjustment of the intensity of compression can usually be regulated in massage machines. This technique is equally as relaxing when performed on the calves or directly on the feet.

What features are you interested in?

In terms of added features, foot massagers in the current market range from the simplest wooden roller design to high tech electronic machines. There are many higher end massagers that give the user the option to use heat to increase the effectiveness of the massage, as well as water jets in some instances. Some have remote control adjustable settings and allow the user to play around with the speed and intensity of the techniques.

It might also be useful to think about the area of the foot that you want to have massaged: if you’re a runner and would like to regularly compress your feet, you might consider ensuring that the foot massage machine you purchase has the option to apply air compression on the lower legs and calves. 

Is portability important for you?

Depending on the complexity of the foot massage machine, it can be a portable or stationary gadget. You’ll notice that the simplest foot massage devices typically have an open design with a small, light weighted wooden frame. This makes these basic massagers very portable – they can be easily taken with you on trains, planes, offices and more.

Of course, in the scenario that you would want a more sophisticated and complex foot massager, the portability aspect would certainly reduce. The foot massage machines that include heating and/or multiple massage options tend to be on the bulkier side and are not ideal to carry around. 

What price range are you looking for?

As with most other massager gadgets, the price range varies depending on the features and complexity you are searching for. The basic open design wooden massage machines for feet can be found as cheap as $10, while the more high-tech designs with built in heating systems can be in the hundreds of dollars.

What you need to know before purchasing a foot massage machine?

Why do you need the foot massage machine?

First of all, it is important to ask yourself why you need a personal foot massage machine. Are you an avid runner and need to relax the tense muscles on your calves and ankles? Or are you a runway model and need to relieve the pressure from the soles of your feet from walking in high heels? Whatever your reason may be, if you are someone who spends most of the day on their feet, it’s important to choose a foot massager that fits the type of treatment you need. Based on your needs, you can opt for an open or closed massager with varying massage types and, if needed, extra added features.

What kind of massage style do you want?

Foot massage machines can incorporate different styles of massaging techniques. The most popular types are shiatsu, kneading, vibrating and air compression.

  • Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique that uses acupressure (pressure applied to specific points in the body) to encourage the flow of positive energy across the body, also known as Chi. In a massaging machine, the acupressure is achieved by the use of rotating heads that apply pressure and move around the area of interest.
  • Kneading involves a rougher manipulation of the muscle tissue. With this technique, the tissue is manipulated by mechanisms of lifting, rolling and squeezing. This helps break down tight knots and adhesions and facilitates the alignment of the muscle fibres to their healthy form. This technique could be very useful for the manipulation of calf muscles of athletes and runners.
  • Vibrating involves the rapid oscillation of the tissue to promote improved circulation and blood flow. It is the best technique to relieve the tension on the soles of the feet.
  • Air compression is a technique that is created by inflating and deflating airbags around the muscle, to create a change in pressure from around. The adjustment of the intensity of compression can usually be regulated in massage machines. This technique is equally as relaxing when performed on the calves or directly on the feet.

What features are you interested in?

In terms of added features, foot massagers in the current market range from the simplest wooden roller design to high tech electronic machines. There are many higher end massagers that give the user the option to use heat to increase the effectiveness of the massage, as well as water jets in some instances. Some have remote control adjustable settings and allow the user to play around with the speed and intensity of the techniques.

It might also be useful to think about the area of the foot that you want to have massaged: if you’re a runner and would like to regularly compress your feet, you might consider ensuring that the foot massage machine you purchase has the option to apply air compression on the lower legs and calves. 

Is portability important for you?

Depending on the complexity of the foot massage machine, it can be a portable or stationary gadget. You’ll notice that the simplest foot massage devices typically have an open design with a small, light weighted wooden frame. This makes these basic massagers very portable – they can be easily taken with you on trains, planes, offices and more.

Of course, in the scenario that you would want a more sophisticated and complex foot massager, the portability aspect would certainly reduce. The foot massage machines that include heating and/or multiple massage options tend to be on the bulkier side and are not ideal to carry around. 

Man using credit card online

What price range are you looking for?

As with most other massager gadgets, the price range varies depending on the features and complexity you are searching for. The basic open design wooden massage machines for feet can be found as cheap as $15, while the more high-tech designs with built in heating systems can be in the hundreds of dollars.

Foot Massage Machines Available to the Australian Market in 2021

OUR TOP PICK

Foot massage slippers
  • Cosiest design
  • Offers shiatsu and kneading techniques
  • Adjustable air intensity for acupressure
  • Built-in soothing heater system
  • Synced with your smartphone

This foot massager by HoMedics is definitely one of the cosiest designs you will find. The massager is shaped in the form of house slippers and offers shiatsu and kneading techniques for the soles of your feet. This machine also has adjustable air intensity for acupressure and air compression massages as well as a built-in soothing heater system. It’s on the higher end of the spectrum of massage machines, since it can also be synced with a smartphone to allow for remote control of the massage setting via the HoMedics Massage App. This added convenience definitely makes this foot massage machine the cosiest companion evenings in front of the TV after a long tiring day.

The only downside is that in comes in one universal size, so it might be an issue for comfort for anyone who has larger or smaller feet than their standard model.

Pros

  • Cosiest design
  • House slipper's shape
  • Offers shiatsu and kneading techniques
  • Adjustable air intensity for acupressure
  • Built-in soothing heater system
  • Synced with your smartphone

Cons

  • Comes in only 1 size.

The Best High-End Foot Massage Machine – RENPHO Shiatsu Foot Massager
  • Sleek design
  • Offers shiatsu and kneading techniques
  • Adjustable air intensity & heat
  • Based on reflexology. 

This High-End foot massage machine by RENPHO looks and feels very futuristic. It has a sleek design that looks very simplistic, but in reality, the device is packed with all sorts of high-tech features. It’s main massaging techniques are kneading and shiatsu, which is achieved with the use of rotating balls and sticks in the base of the machine. It has an ergonomic design with a comfortable wear, that can easily accommodate feet up to size 12. It also has the option to heat and adjust air intensity throughout the massage. This smart device is built based on the ideas of reflexology.

What’s more amazing is that the touch buttons to adjust the settings can be controlled with your feet! This high-end massage machine is not the cheapest model, costing at about $260, but is definitely a bargain considering all the luxury features.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Offers shiatsu and kneading techniques
  • Adjustable air intensity & heat
  • Based on reflexology.
  • High-tech features
  • Touch buttons can be controlled with your feet

Cons

  • Expensive

If you are in search for a simple yet effective foot massager, this is the most budget friendly model you can find. It is incredibly simple in its design yet works wonders. It’s essentially a wooden foot roller with specially carved nubs to provide sufficient acupressure for better blood circulation around the area.

The idea behind the TheraFlow wooden foot massager is based on the science of reflexology, where all that is required for the most effective massage is specifically targeted acupressure on particular regions on the soles of the feet. With this model you don’t need any fancy remote controlled massager to adjust the intensity and pressure. You simply use the weight of your own body to increase or decrease the pressure applied on your feet.

The wooden design makes this model particularly light-weighted, meaning that it is certainly portable. Moreover, the design also ensures that any person with any foot size can be comfortable using it. And, as if it could get any better, the price of this model is extremely budget friendly – around $35. You could even purchase it solely for the portability aspect and keep a more high-tech foot massager permanently at your home. 

Pros

  • Simple
  • Budget friendly
  • Acupressure on particular regions
  • Portable
  • Based on the science of reflexology

Cons

  • Manual

If you are someone who prefers to have an open foot massage rather than placing your feet inside a dark and mysterious device, the RENPHO Electric Shiatsu Foot Massager might be the best one you can find. This machine comes with a built-in electric heater that complements nicely with the shiatsu massage performed by the rotating massager heads. It’s got a unique removable cover that can be washed and changed between users and also comes with an adjustable stand that can be placed at any angle to allow you maximum comfort during your massage. This machine also uses the ideology of reflexology to design the massage settings. It’s been known to help users alleviate chronic pains, help relieve plantar fasciitis and improve blood circulation around the feet.

All in all, it’s the perfect gadget for those who prefer an open design, yet still want to get the experience of an electric massager machine. And the price for this foot massage machine is very reasonable – around $100. 

Pros

  • Offers shiatsu massage
  • Adjustable stand
  • Maximum comfort
  • Alleviate chronic pains
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Ideology of reflexology
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • N/A

Full leg wrap massager
  • Wrap design
  • Offers air compression massages
  • Better circulation of blood
  • Travel friendly

This next massager machine we are introducing here is of a completely different design. It’s not your typical foot massager, no. In fact, it looks more like boots of armour. The RENPHO Leg Massager for Relaxation is actually a sequential wrap device, that attaches and wraps around your thighs, calves and feet. The main principle of this massager is air compression, which is a very relaxing technique to stimulate muscle tissue. This technique allows for better circulation of blood and gentle manipulation of overall muscle tissue. It’s actually quite perfect for runners, athletes or anyone else who spends a tremendous amount of time on their feet throughout the day. This device works similarly to compression socks, which athletes and women tend to use for preventing unwanted swelling in the feet and ankles.

The massage compression settings on the RENPHO Leg Massager for Relaxation are adjustable and can be easily controlled. On top of that, the fact that this massager has a wrap design, it can be comfortably fitted on almost all body types. The sequential design allows for the massager to be used either separately on the parts of the legs, or if needed, all together at the same time. It can also be used to massage muscles on the upper and lower arms too.

Finally, this device is very travel friendly. The design is quite light and compact, so it is possible to take the RENPHO Leg Massager for Relaxation in your suitcase wherever you travel. 

Pros

  • Wrap design
  • Offers air compression massages
  • Better circulation of blood
  • Travel friendly
  • Perfect for runners, athletes or anyone who spends great time on their feet.

Cons

  • Somewhat more effort to set up

Verdict

Here we’ve presented you with a few different varieties of foot massage machines and believe that our list will help you make a well-informed purchase. From our research, the ultimate budget friendly and portable foot massager has to be the classical old school wooden model, like the TheraFlow Foot Massager Roller (Number 3 in our review). It’s light weight and works wonders if you take a bit of time to get to understanding the concepts of reflexology.

If you’re looking for a massager as cosy as a pair of slippers to get into at the end of a long day, the HoMedics Shiatsu Flex Ankle & Foot massager is the perfect option for you (Number 1 in our review).

On the other hand, if you are looking for a model that is higher end and that comes with a nice variety of massaging options, we would recommend the RENPHO Electric Foot Massager (Number 4 in our review) for an open design, or the RENPHO Shiatsu Foot Massager (Number 2 in our review) for a more classical closed design model. Both of these models will work wonders, it’s just a matter of preference for design.

Finally, for professional athletes and runners, we would recommend the RENPHO Leg Massager for Relaxation (Number 5 in our review), since it provides the user with option to massage regions of the entire leg, rather than just the soles of the feet. This massager will help with relieving swelling in calves and thighs and help the recovery process of professional athletes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long can I use my foot massager for?

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Is it hygienic?

Depending on the model of the foot massager you use, it is very possible to maintain the procedure as clean and hygienic as possible. Some foot massagers give the possibility of washing or changing the lining of the massager. Especially if the foot massager machine has a closed design, it is important to ensure regular cleaning.

Can I use my foot massager to manage chronic pain?

Yes! Most commonly, foot massagers are used to treat plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the tissue that connects the heal and toes. It’s an essential tissue that supports your posture when you walk, so when it is inflamed, you can imagine the amount of discomfort it causes. A correct foot massage will help relieve the pain caused by the inflammation by promoting blood circulation to the area.

While a foot massager can help manage this particular pain in your heals, it is not the solution to the underlying issue. It’s important to identify where the problem stems from by consulting a health care practitioner. Perhaps you could change the type of shoes that you wear or acquire specific soles to support the natural arch of your foot. In these cases the foot massager should only be used as a supplementary pain management method.

Can a foot massage machine replace an actual massage session by a trained professional?

If you do want the extra benefit of the knowledge that trained professionals use in a salon, you could invest in educating yourself on the different acupressure techniques used in reflexology. By gaining a better understanding of the techniques used on different areas of the feet, you could arrange a well informed and more precise massage using your home foot massage machine by yourself.

Can a foot massager help me sleep better?

Yes! A relaxing foot massage can stimulate the release of endorphins into your blood stream. The improved circulation also helps in the release of melatonin, which is a neuro chemical that helps us prepare our body for sleep and recovery. So, a 20-minute foot massage before bed can help maximise the benefits of a full night of sleep.

Can a foot massager be used for anxiety and depression?

Yes! By following the principles of reflexology, a foot massage can definitely help fight depression and alleviate negative energy flowing through you. Certain areas on the feet can be linked with the head and mind, meaning that careful pressure application to these areas a few times a day can help alleviate symptoms of depression and upset moods.

How does the heat help the massage process?

Heat is often used in massage therapy to relax the tissue being manipulated and promote the improved circulation of blood around the area. Heat helps soften tight muscles and unwanted knots. It also has a psychological effect, where warmth is closely associated with feelings of calmness and relaxation. As with any other massaging device, it is important to adjust the heating settings accordingly and ensure that the area being treated is not overheated or burnt. 

How can I improve my home foot massage treatment even more?

Here’s a little pro tip from us – try massaging a small amount of warm coconut or olive oil onto the soles of your feet before or after the massage treatment. The oils will promote hydration of the skin and help relieve some of the inflammation. (1–6)

References:

References:

  • Embong NH, Soh YC, Ming LC, Wong TW. Revisiting reflexology: Concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training. J Tradit Complement Med [Internet]. 2015;5(4):197–206. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.08.008
  • Dehghan M, Farahbod F. The efficacy of thermotherapy and cryotherapy on pain relief in patients with acute low back pain, a clinical trial study. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2014;8(9):LC01–4.
  • Imtiyaz S, Veqar Z, Shareef MY. To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2014;8(1):133–6.
  • Veqar Z, Imtiyaz S. Vibration therapy in management of delayed onset muscle soreness. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2014;8(6):10–3.
  • Crawford C, Boyd C, Paat CF, Price A, Xenakis L, Yang EM, et al. The impact of massage therapy on function in pain populations-a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials: Part I, patients experiencing pain in the general population. Pain Med (United States). 2016;17(7):1353–75.
  • Guo J, Li L, Gong Y, Zhu R, Xu J, Zou J, et al. Massage alleviates delayed onset muscle soreness after strenuous exercise: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Front Physiol. 2017;8(SEP):1–12.

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