I’ve Tried Dozens of Massaging Devices, but This One’s the Best for Shoulder Blade-Area Pain

As a fitness editor, one of my favorite things to do in the name of journalism is to test percussive therapy gadgets. Name a muscle massaging device, and there’s a 99.9 percent chance that I’ve tried it. But after a couple of years of putting dozens of these to work on my tension hotspots, I’ve finally found the best one for getting the most notoriously hard-to-reach places (like the shoulder blade area and middle back): the PureWave Gen II ($150).

Percussive therapy devices (made popular by the Theragun and Hypervolt) have become must-have tools in the recovery world over the last few years. But despite feeling heavenly on sore muscles, some people find them to be difficult to use on certain body parts, like that pesky spot between your shoulder blades and your mid and lower back.  The problem, though, is that these elusive areas are some of the most prone to tension, thanks to the fact that many of us spend all day long hunched over our desks.

That’s where the PureWave Gen II swoops in to fix things. The long, ergonomically designed device is specifically meant for massaging out spots in your body—even the ones that most other devices can’t easily reach. It’s capable of hitting literally every area from your head (there’s a scalp-massaging attachment!) to your toes without forcing you to pretzel yourself in the process. It’s similar to other percussive therapy devices in that it uses pulsations on your muscles, but its anteater-like shape makes it much more user friendly. It’s also really light, which means that when I hold it down over my shoulder, it’s easy to swivel around between my shoulder blades and all over my lower and middle-back—the spots that are so hard to hit otherwise.


Photo: PureWave

Shop now: PureWave Gen II ($150)

Unlike other percussive therapy devices, the PureWave Gen II has both a percussion mode and a vibration mode. According to Steve Lee, the brand’s founder and CEO, percussion is ideal for massaging out larger-fiber muscle groups to dissolve knots and give deep-tissue relief, while “micro-vibration treats delicate myofascial tissues, which are more sensitive,” he says. So while the percussion setting is great for massaging out tension in your calves and shoulders, the vibration mode is the better choice for spots like your jaw, scalp, and temples.

Beyond that, the tool is extremely customizable so you can get exactly the type of massage you need. It has seven different attachments, including a point tip that targets trigger points and a 3D pivot tip meant for gliding over hard angles and joints, and a 12-speed control dial. I’m partial to the pivot tip, which makes massaging my arms a cinch, though the scalp tip is dreamy, too. My evening self-care routine now consists of sweeping the PureWave device over every inch of my body as I binge-watch Succession, and feel my muscle tightness melt away by the minute.

Watch the video below to see another percussive therapy device (the Theragun!) in action:

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