Are Electric Massagers Safe: The Facts You Need to Know

Are Electric Massagers Safe The Facts You Need to Know
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Over the last decade, handheld massagers have increased in popularity. Many people enjoy quick fixes and convenience to almost everything, and that includes muscle strain and tension.

Handheld massagers make it possible to soothe aching muscles regardless of where you are but are electric massagers safe?

We are going to outline things that are required to answer your question. Ensuring that you are properly informed before using anything against your body is going to give you the best chance of making sure that you’re safe. 

What Is a Handheld Electric Massager

What Is a Handheld Electric Massager?

Handheld electric massagers are used to alleviate tension and stress in the muscles. They typically come with interchangeable massaging heads that are designed to provide different sensations and different types of massages. These electric massagers can come with built-in, rechargeable batteries, or they can be powered by a cord that plugs into your electrical socket.

They are relatively simple to use, affordable and have adjustable settings that allow you to control the intensity of the massage. They sometimes come equipped with safety features, but regardless of these features, users of handheld massagers need to take extreme caution when using them. 

What Are Some Potentially Negative Effects?

While using an electric massager can provide temporary relief to strained and sore muscles, many things need to get taken into consideration. When misused, electric massagers can have adverse effects which are capable of making matters worse.

Any electric massager that you buy is going to come with a user’s manual, but these manuals might not outline all of the potential hazards that come with using the device. Here are some possible negative effects:

  • Stroke: One of the most serious, and surprisingly common, problems that have occurred from using an electric massager is a stroke. Those who use these massagers around the neck, along with the throat, and even in the area of their jaw can cause what’s known as a carotid artery dissection. A carotid artery dissection is a severe irritation and interference in the carotid’s primary function, which can result in an ischemic stroke.
  • Worsening conditions: Tense, sore, and aching muscles can be a temporary condition caused by strenuous activity or lack of sleep, but it can also be symptoms of an underlying disease. If you continue to rub and use electric vibrations in an attempt to cure your reoccurring pain, you might make the situation worse. Some muscle pain can come from broken bones, lacerations, and even blood clots, so make sure your pain is due to stiff muscles before using an electric massager.
  • Electric shock: It is rare, but it is possible to get shocked while using an electric massager. Most handheld massagers have properly sealed batteries and protected cords, but with cheaper models, there is a chance that the quality isn’t as high. Shock is a possibility with any electric device, so it’s vital that you check for faulty wiring and remember never to use the unit while wet. 

Are There Documented Cases of Extreme Injury from Electric Massagers?

In 2004, a report was published by the Southern Medical Journal that outlined the tragic injuries that a 38-year-old woman incurred from using an electric massager. The case was an unfortunate example of electric massagers causing underlying conditions to worsen, and causing new conditions to form. The woman suffered from migraines on the right side with the pain moving down her neck, and she was a frequent smoker for 15 years.

After experiencing no luck with over-the-counter medications, she used an electric massager on her neck in the area just below her jaw. While the massager worked temporarily, five days later, the woman had developed a speech disorder and left-sided paralysis.

Electric Massagers

After being tested, doctors confirmed that the cause of the speech disorder and paralysis was because of carotid artery dissection that resulted in a sizeable ischemic stroke. All the noted injuries were because of the improper use of an electric massager. Fortunately, the woman didn’t lose her life, but she did suffer.

The report was published as a way of providing those who use electric massagers with a warning, and a method of encouraging manufacturers to include those warnings with their products. Many people don’t read user’s manuals thoroughly, and many users’ manuals don’t provide substantial warnings.

Since the woman didn’t have any knowledge of the risks involved with using a handheld massager, she suffered a massive stroke when she previously had no significant stroke risk factors. 


Electric massagers can be beneficial when used correctly and when all precautions get taken into account. But, are electric massagers safe? The answer is up in the air.

There’s nothing that says that they are entirely unsafe, but the proof that shows they can have catastrophic effects is there. As long as you are educating yourself, are aware of the risks involved, and are using the electric massager carefully and adequately, the risk of you suffering from further injuries is quite low.

Remember always to make sure that your sore muscles aren’t because of more serious issues before trying to rub and vibrate the soreness away with an electric massager.

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