The concept of getting massaged by low voltage electric currents sounds, well, terrifying. Ironically, it's quite the opposite — it's actually my go-to remedy for muscle pain.
I'm talking about e-stim, the electrical wellness machine that can simulate acupuncture, cupping, tapping, scraping, and kneading massage techniques to target muscle pain.
This jack-of-all-trades tool was introduced to me during physical therapy. Sort of like Shavasana at the end of a challenging yoga session, the e-stim portion of my treatment allowed me to Zen out as the machine worked to release all my tension.
After graduating from physical therapy, I truly missed my meditative e-stim time. But, I wasn't willing to spend hundreds on high-end spa cupping, acupuncture, and other massage appointments in its absence. So, I did what many millennials would do and ordered my own machine off Amazon.
The HealthmateForever YK15AB ($30) lives up to its thousands of positive customer reviews. It offers 20 levels of adjustable intensity, it's easy to read and operate, and it allows you to target any part of the body that needs relief directly.
All you have to do is place the provided electrode pads (which are basically jellylike stickers attached to wires) onto your inflicted muscles, customize your settings by selecting a body part and massage technique, and enjoy.
Safety side note: I recommend starting at the lowest intensity and building up your tolerance, as the shock sensation can be powerful. HealthmateForever warns that on rare occasions, a high electrical current can cause burning or irritation to the skin. In addition, pregnant women should not use electrical stimulation for pain relief.
It's truly wild how distinctly the electric pulses can imitate real wellness practices. The kneading mode is my favorite. It's hard to believe hands aren't creating the pushing motion on my achy knots — it's that convincing.
And for all the tiny apartment dwellers like me, this device is compact, making it easy to tuck away when you have NYC-level storage. It also makes on-the-go massages easy and effortless.
Have you ever been proud of your past self for doing something in preparation for a future moment of desperation? I always have a pat-myself-on-the back-moment when I whip out my e-stim machine after a long stiff day of sitting at the office or a strenuous workout. This was one self-care buy that always comes in handy — and I didn't even have to break the bank.