Automated vs Therapist-Given Massages

Category: Massage
Last updated on: 03/08/2018
A robot masseuse giving a human a massage

In an increasingly automated world, we are often found wondering who’s better, the machine or the human? We have long felt that mobile massage therapists are one of the least likely professions to be replaced by machines, but we recently read an interesting piece by an Australian manufacturer of electric hand held massagers, which concluded that machines win this battle. Our personal opinion is actually the reverse but that's just exactly that – our personal opinion.

In the case of electric massagers vs human therapists, we believe that the only relevant response is your opinion. You should consider your circumstances, perhaps try both and then decide which works best for you. Read on to help formulate what to consider.


Your Therapy Goals

Consider first why you want a massage? Do you need one to help ease particular soft tissue aches and pains or do you simply feel like being taken care of by a skilled professional? Massage can definitely help protect, restore and maintain health - not only through targeting manipulation of muscle tissues but also through the more subtle therapeutic elements like human touch and compassion. When great muscle manipulation meets empathy, we call it real massage.



Getting massaged is safe for the vast majority of us. However, massage is not safe for a few of us, usually as a result of some illness. To find out whether it is safe or not for you to receive massage therapy (either by machines or humans), it is important to take professional advice from a qualified practitioner in advance. Your local massage therapist, physiotherapist or doctor can all advise appropriately in this respect – but probably not your local electronics salesman. 



Science has shown that the human touch, an attentive ear and kind words are all great healing methods. Your shiny new electric massaging machine may always be available nearby, but a friendly and massage therapist who performs your massage therapy with care and compassion will easily win the empathy case every time.


Treatment Type

There are many different types of massage therapy in the world and two main types of massager machines: vibrating and percussion machines. The machines generally provide a form of acupressure style techniques such as found in Shiatsu massage or certain elements of deep tissue massage such as tapotement or basic kneading. Manual therapies performed by qualified massage therapists offer a huge range of techniques including all of those performed by machines as well as many other highly popular movements such as effleurage, stretching or advance kneading techniques, which machines cannot replicate. 

Some machines offer additional functions such as heat and light therapy. If the machine is well made and reputable, these additional functions can indeed provide some further built-in benefits.


Targeted Therapy

If you are looking for remedial action to ease specific problematic areas of soft tissue muscles, then handheld massager machines can be a great choice. The rapid targeted percussion therapy they offer can be a great way to ease pain in knotty areas. Rapid, deep vibrations are good at loosening tight muscle knots. Think of it like an electric toothbrush for your muscle knots, rather than tooth plaque! A great therapist can identify and loosen knots as well as a machine, but a machine will often be able to do it more rapidly. You will of course have to hold and balance the machine appropriately throughout the treatment yourself, and for a well made machine, with a powerful motor that can actually achieve the desired effects, size and weight can be cumbersome for some after a while, especially if you are already feeling run down.


Regular Treatments

It is widely accepted that the benefits of massage are best experienced through regular repeated therapy. Having your own machine at home of course means that you can use it as often as you like. But remember getting massaged too often is not good for you. With our 3-minute online booking system and mobile massage therapists who are able to be in your home in as little as one hour, it is now almost as quick and simple to order a regular human massage at home as it is to pick up a machine!



Electric massagers start at around £20 for the cheap and cheerful ones but those often are not powerful enough to do effective treatments and prices go all the way up to several thousand £££s if you go for an all singing and dancing massaging leather armchair. However, the most popular handheld shiatsu-style electronic massagers cost between £50 to £100. Our human massage therapists are £50 for an hour’s therapy including travelling to you … and if you’re lucky you might even get one that can sing and dance (unlike the armchair J)



As massage addicts, we embrace all good massage, whether it be from a well made machine or a highly experienced and caring human being. There is some overlap between the two, but they also serve different purposes and our personal advice would be to get both if you can.



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