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This infrared heat massager was bought for me by my son when I had a very bad back. Although the idea was a good one, I found this particular massager too weak to have any real effect. Although the box claims that it "enhances pain relief", it seems to be targeted at the more general market - those who want to soothe tired muscles at the end of a long day, or just to relax.
Before I received this massager, I had never heard of the Wahl brand before. An American company founded in 1911, their main products seem to be in the area of hair clippers and trimmers rather than health care. From their website, it seems as if this is their first venture into the world of massage, and is listed under the oddly titled 'Ladycare' section.
Although this was a gift, I have seen that it sells for 19.99 on Amazon.
The massager consists of two main pieces of equipment; the small blue recharger base, and the cordless massager, which comes with two click-on head covers. The massager stands at 16cm high and fits nicely into my palm in much the same way as large telephone. Like a telephone, it has an oval head which measures 5.5cm wide and 7cm long. The head is made out of transparent red plastic and has four large nubs. A white pinpoint head cover has four nubs in exactly the same positions, but has small magnets inside each nub for intense spot massaging. The second head cover has two large nubs for broad-area massaging, again with built-in therapy magnets inside the nubs. Both heads click easily and firmly onto the head.
The massager is made out of a rigid grey plastic and has a large light blue slider switch on the back. The four settings on the switch are Off, Heat, Vibrate and Combine. At 200g, the massager very lightweight and ideal for travelling. Unfortunately its light weight may also be the reason for its ineffectual performance.
The massager takes several hours to charge, and once fully charged can be used constantly for 30 minutes before it needs to be recharged.
~~Treatment and Effectiveness~~
Although I believe that this massager is very soothing for tired muscles, and could be used at the end of the day as part of a beauty routine, to relax and rejuvenate - there is no possibility of it providing any meaningful pain relief.
I find the information on the box misleading when it says, "Vibration soothes sore muscles. Infrared heat reaches 104 degrees F, stimulating blood vessels to enhance overall circulation. Magnetic therapy enhances pain relief and increases blood flow". On the other side of the box, a more accurate statement uses the words "pampering, relaxation, and spa".
The vibration function is not nearly powerful enough to soothe sore muscles. Although the speed is fast, it is not very effective and is about as strong as the vibration of a mobile phone. A loud buzzing noise accompanies the vibration.
Heat function is more psychological than anything else. The red glow is very comforting, but the heat is merely a very lukewarm - I would not say that it reaches 104%. . Once the magnetic caps are put on top, the heat cannot be felt at all. Without the caps, a combination of the heat plus vibration function is very comforting and may send me to sleep if I was an insomniac.
Acupressure energy points are the same points as used in acupuncture but instead of using needles, fingers and thumbs are used. Acupressure points are areas of the skin where meridians or channels terminate from various parts of the body. Stimulating the meridians can direct the body's nervous system to release muscular tension and assist the flow of blood to injured parts
Having researched acupressure points, I have learnt that a sharp probing pressure is required, like the end of a pencil. There are many points around the body, for example in between the toes, but Wahl do not provide a chart to let you know where the pressure points are. Even if a chart was provided, I believe that the size of the massager head is far too big to have any effect.
My feeling about the acupressure heads is that Wahl have provided them without really understanding what acupressure is all about - and they have got it wrong.
Magnetic therapy is another alternative medicine practice. Although I believe in many alternative medicine practices, this particular one has been dismissed by the medical and scientific community - there is no evidence that it increases blood flow. In any case, the magnets are usually applied for longer periods of time and worn as jewellery for maximum effect. There is no possibility that a quick massage with a magnet could affect blood flow.
Once again, I feel that the magnet accessory is a complete waste of time.
Although this massager could be used effectively to refresh tired feet and shoulders, it is not efficient enough to provide effective pain relief. The claims of improved blood circulation and pain relief appear to be unfounded and badly researched. Although Wahl manufacture very good hair clippers, they seem to have stepped out of their comfort zone.