Could power tools be a cheaper DIY option for massage?

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

If you enjoy a good massage, there’s another do-it-yourself option that’s hit the market. And all the tools you need are in your garage.

When college athlete Georgia Mergner needs a little help relieving sore muscles, she simply powers up some power tools, like a car buffer from the hardware store.

“I really like the car buffer a lot. My quads get really sore, and then it’s really great.” Mergner said.

Mergner learned about the tools from her school’s Head Strength Coach Bill Delongis at Trinity College. He discovered other trainers using them online from demos all over social media.

In addition to the buffer, Delongis uses a filed-down and cushioned jigsaw that he fashioned through trial and error to massage his athletes. “I’ve been using it for going on almost two years now, and I’ve never had an issue. And it gets used all the time.” he said.

Why are some trainers, physical therapists, and even consumers using the tools on muscles? Delongis says, they’re at least half off the price of ordinary massage devices and, he says, they work just as well.

However, the Director of Education for the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, Anne Williams, says a traditional hand massage is safer and more effective.

“When you’re a massage therapist you’re constantly aware of what’s happening in the tissue, you’re palpating the tissue, you’re feeling for anomalies in tissue. There’s no way that a machine can do that.” Williams said.

A spokesperson for the maker of a power tool sometimes used for personal massage says, “We do not condone the use of the tools in such a manner – from a safety perspective.”

Bill agrees safety is a concern and advises using these power tools for massages under the direction of a professional.

But for Mergner, she’s not giving it up anytime soon. “be careful. And talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. But, I would definitely recommend it.”

WARNING: This is very important to reiterate – the power tools are not intended for use as massage devices so there are no safety standards for the altered devices. So do so at your own risk.

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