The best massage tools: release muscle tension with the most efficient foam rollers, massage balls, percussion massagers and more

From sports injuries to aches and pains; tackle those sore spots quickly and effectively with these home tools

best massage tools
(Image credit: Meglio)

Whether you suffer from a long-standing sports injury or have joint issues that flare up in the cold weather, a simple massage tool may be all it takes to ease the pain and loosen up those muscles. 

We’ve compiled a list of weird and wonderful-looking massage tools that may look more like torture devices, but we promise they will work wonders on those little niggles that you just can’t seem to shake. 

Most of the tools are relatively small and easily portable for use at home, in the office, or on the go. Some work as a deep tissue massage and others target pressure points to relieve stress and tension (talking about that kind of stuff, check out our guide to the best face masks).

Most massage equipment comes in the form of a roller or a ball which can be pressed against the affected area to smooth out any knots, but for a more intense massage there are a number of electronic massage tools on the market that are great for a professional back, neck and shoulder massage. 

The best massage tools to buy today

best massage tools: Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller

1. Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller

A foam roller for stretching out the feet and legs after a workout

Specifications
Best for: Gym-goers
Type: Foam Roller
Designed for: Legs
Reasons to buy
+Soft tissue massage+Portable
Reasons to avoid
-Exercises can be tricky 

This is one of the best massage tools for athletes and avid gym-goers. It’s recommended by physical therapists and coaches for avoiding sports injuries, so If you’re a cardio fiend but always forget to stretch, then the Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller is an essential piece of equipment that will ensure you don’t damage your muscles.  It fits in most gym bags nicely, so there’s no excuse not to use it. 

best massage tools: Theragun Liv

(Image credit: Theragun)

2. Theragun Liv

It's like an electric toothbrush for your muscles

Specifications
Best for: Precision tension relief
Type: Percussion massager
Designed for: Whole body
Reasons to buy
+Fast muscle recovery+Precision pain relief+Ergonomic handle+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than all other items combined on this list 

• Buy the Theragun Liv directly from Theragun

The Theragun Liv is the most affordable entry among all the Theragun percussion massagers. Not saying it is cheap, but for the price, you'll get a massage tool that can effectively target knots and tension in your muscles.

Using rercussion massagers is similar to using an electric toothbrush: you can get the job done with a non-electric variety device (in this case, a foam roller or a massage ball), but the electric variety works way more efficiently.

This is exactly the case with the Theragun Liv. It uses repetitive strokes into muscle 16 mm deep, 40 times a second – 60% deeper than vibration massagers – to stimulate circulation, generate heat, and release tension. Your muscles will get de-tensed in no time, reducing recovery time and preventing injury.

Thanks to the ergonomic triangular-handle of the Theragun Liv – and all Theragun devives, actually – you can apply pressure to most muscle areas yourself, no need to wait around for your partner to do it for you.

The Theragun Liv comes with a travel pouch as well as four different attachments: one dampener, a head for tender areas or near bones, a standard Ball and an attachment for overall use.

Theragun G3 percussive massager can help back pain and tune you up before and after workouts

best massage tools: Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball

(Image credit: Meglio)

3. Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball

Specifications
Best for: Runners and people who sit around a lot
Type: Massage ball
Designed for: Hamstrings, calves, feet
Reasons to buy
+Compact and portable+Inexpensive+Carry bag and exercise sheet included
Reasons to avoid
-Difficult to use it on back and neck

Massage balls are the smaller siblings of foam rollers and are an excellent tool to relieve muscle tension, especially in the lower half of your body. Sit down on the floor, legs extended, one of them resting on the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball, and do either small circular movements or longer strokes to target leg soreness.

The Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball has a smooth, firm surface so you can apply pressure with it on the leg muscles just by placing the weight of the limb on it, no need to press down. It can also be used on the upper body, especially the front of the shoulders.

Although in theory, even the back and the neck can be massaged with the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball, it can be quite challenging to do so, especially if you try to do it yourself. Laying on the massage ball and placing the weight of your upper body on it, it can feel quite unconformable to roll around on it.

This issue can be doctored by getting someone else to work your back with the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball, which also makes using this simple device a social activity. On top of this, the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball is cheap as chips and also comes with a carry bag and a little exercise guide, too.

best massage tools: Thera Cane

4. Thera Cane

A massage stick that gets to those hard-to-reach areas

Specifications
Best for: Doctor’s Choice
Type: Massage Stick
Designed for: Hard to reach areas
Reasons to buy
+Deep tissue massage+Targets all areas
Reasons to avoid
-Tricky to use correctly 

Some may think that £25.00 for a stick is a waste of money, but as a doctor’s recommendation, this is one of the best massage tools for back and neck pain. This handy (albeit, strange-looking) tool is guaranteed to get to those hard to reach pressure points and smooth out any knots. It looks fairly intuitive but there is a knack to pinpointing particular problem areas, all of which are outlined in the instruction manual.  

best massage tools: Rock Tape Rock Balls

5. Rock Tape Rock Balls

Maintain happy feet after every run with these massage balls

Specifications
Best for: Runners
Type: Massage balls
Designed for: Legs & Feet
Reasons to buy
+Compact & Lightweight+Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-Spikes can be painful 

If you have flat feet or suffer from plantar fasciitis, then these massage balls will do wonders in reducing any pain caused when running. They’re small and can easily be kept in your gym bag or car so that you can eliminate any heel or arch pain after your workout or run.  

best massage tools: Anself Roller Massager

(Image credit: Anself)

6. Anself Roller Massager

Release any neck and back tension while on your travels with this roller massager

Specifications
Best for: Travellers
Type: Massage ball
Designed for: Back & shoulders
Reasons to buy
+Travel friendly+Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-Can’t reach smaller areas 

No one sleeps well when they’re not in their own bed. If you frequently travel or even go on camping trips where there is no bed at all, you can say goodbye to a bad back or stiff neck with this portable roller massager. This is a really cheap item that can significantly improve blood circulation in those areas under pressure, with results just as good as if you’d had a professional massage.  

best massage tools: Escape Massage Ball

7. Escape Massage Ball

A small massage ball for those pesky pressure points

Specifications
Best for: Stress & tension
Type: Massage ball
Designed for: Neck, Shoulders, Back
Reasons to buy
+Professional massage quality+Finds hard-to-reach areas
Reasons to avoid
- A little pricey 

We know £20.00 for something resembling a tennis ball may seem far-fetched, but this is one of the best massage tools for neck tension on the market. It mirrors the pressure of a thumb for the most relaxing home massage that really releases stress and tension. This can be used anywhere on the body but is recommended for targeting neck and shoulder tension.  

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