Mechanical Foot Massagers Guide 2017 Edition
If you have sore feet, a manual foot massager might be just what you’re looking for. Most people first consider an electric foot massager or a foot spa, but you might not need something that involved. In many cases, a simple mechanical device such as a foot massage ball or a wooden foot massager might give you the same benefits – and be a lot cheaper! Here’s a quick buying guide.
The best part is that mechanical foot massagers are much lower-cost than fancier electric ones. A simple massage ball can be as little as a few dollars, or you might be able to find something around the house that works. These also have the advantage of portability, and they don’t need to be plugged in to drive up your power bill.
Since they don’t have electric vibrating parts that can fail or wear out, these tend to be really reliable too. Also, if you’re looking for something to use at work under your desk, one of these balls or rollers will work well, since they don’t make any noise to distract your coworkers.
These can also make great Christmas or birthday gifts, since many of them fall right into that nice $20-$50 price range.
Let’s go through some of the categories of top manual foot massagers available in 2016. Some people find these help with plantar fasciitis, but obviously, check with a doctor first. All of the images on this page link to the relevant product pages on Amazon.com, where you can read other people’s reviews to get a better idea if it’s what you’re looking for.
Foot Massage Ball
The simplest type of foot massage device is a simple ball. You can get the idea by thinking of rolling around a golf ball under your feet. Companies also make foot massage balls with nubs on them that are (theoretically, at least) a bit more effective than just a golf ball. See the picture to the right for an example. Notice how small this really is. It fits nicely under your foot, or in a desk drawer, but it can be incredibly effective.
A tennis ball or a rubber racquet ball is about the same size and could work in a pinch, but many reviewers really like the nubs on a ball actually intended for your feet, like this one. These are particularly recommended for occasional foot muscle soreness, but they can also be used for back, neck, or shoulder rubs, although you might need another person to help with that!
Wooden Foot Massager
Another common type is the wooden foot roller massager. There are quite a few of these available, but the principle is the same. Basically, they consist of rolling the sole of your foot over a bunch of round wooden discs or balls which are mounted in rows on bars. Honestly, I think these resemble an old-fashioned abacus.
The advantage to one of a wooden roller device is that (for the most part), they’re quite cheap, and it’s hard to find something in your home that does the same thing. Obviously, they don’t draw power, so they’re also pretty portable, and it’d be easy to keep one under your desk.
EXP Massager on Amazon
If you’re willing to spend a little more (but still much less than a quality electric massager!), this EXP massager is a good one to check out. It’s handcrafted out of beautiful teak wood, and the gear-like rotors look quite effective. If that’s a bit much, this one is a simple model with five rounded balls that should be quite adequate for one foot at a time.
There’s a range of prices to pick from, but they generally all perform about a similar function. Some claim to use reflexology or even acupuncture principles, but really, any of them can do this. Some just include colored rollers to act as guides. One thing to pay attention to is the grips on the bottom that some wooden foot rollers have. Particularly if you’re going to be using it on a wooden floor or on linoleum, grips on the bottom are important to keep it from sliding away. Also, pay attention to the width. Some are intended for one foot at a time, while others have room to fit both at once.
Foot Massage Roller
The third category of mechanical foot massager I want to mention here is the foot massage roller. This category includes foam foot rollers and wooden stick type rollers. The difference between these and the last category is that instead of a bunch of balls or discs rotating on a frame, these are just a single shaped rod that rolls under your soles.
Thera-Band Massager on Amazon
Again, since these are so simple, they’re also really low-cost (and they feel great!). One of the most popular is this Thera-Band Roller, made of ridged foam. It’s sort of like if you took one of those swim noodle toys and carved it up into a therapeutic shape. Since these are so cheap, you can easily get two and keep one at work and one at home. If you’re comfortable using the same device on your back and on your feet, wooden ones can also make great back massagers.
As always, I have no medical training and I’m not a doctor or expert on the care of feet. This page is intended to help you get a good idea of what’s out there. Always talk to your doctor about any medical issue.