About Back Angel
After attaching to any smooth surface in seconds, without tools, Back Angel’s patented technology features an ergonomic design and thousands of flex massaging fingers that promise to pinpoint and soothe back pain, stress, knots, sore muscles, and myofascial trigger spots.
And with the removable, washable, and reusable MicroMesh pads, as well as its ability to adjust up and down, the device can deliver hands-free back cleansing (perfect for those that struggle with back acne) and accommodate a variety of heights.
But the important question is: Will it actually leave you refreshed? In other words, can you really expect it to deliver "the ultimate show back massage experience," as claimed on the website? Even then, are there other competitors you should consider?
Give us a few minutes, and we'll help you find some actionable answers by discussing everything we learned during our research.
Self-Massage Basics for Pain Relief
Pain anywhere on the body can be caused by hundreds of different factors, although Spine-Health tells us one of the most common causes of back pain is muscle strain and ligament sprain. This could be the result of everything from improper lifting and sudden movements, to poor posture and sports injuries.
Even normal sports activities and exercise can lead to sore muscles, as the fibers break down and are rebuilt larger and stronger during recovery.
Writing for Athletico, Candice Reimholz explains that muscle fibers can also “start to stick to each other and become adhered,” forming into painfully sensitive knots and the myofascial trigger spots mentioned on the Back Angel website. Stress can also cause the formation of knots, even if you don’t work out!
To help relieve muscle soreness, knots, and trigger spots, one method often recommended is massage, which can help boost circulation to the area and break up any adhesions.
However, if you don’t have access to (or the budget for) regular professional massages, direct pressure self-massage could provide many of the same benefits. In fact, as the article points outs, you’re probably already doing it, such as rubbing your temples when you have a headache, “squeezing the skin on the back of your neck to relieve tension, stretching, practicing yoga, going for a swim, or using a loofah in the shower.”
When it comes to the back, though, reaching certain areas and applying sufficient pressure to relieve tension, soreness, and knots can present a challenge, which is where devices like Back Angel come in.
How Does Back Angel Work?
While we didn’t test it ourselves to provide firsthand feedback, based on what we learned from the website and commercial, the Back Angel system is comprised of three main parts:
- A large, waterproof ‘pillow’ that features an ergonomic, back-contoured design, attached to which are thousands of little nodules, or fingers.
- A vertical track that attaches to any smooth surface using four pieces of included double-sided reinforced tape. Simply peel off the protective backing and adhere to a dry, moisture-free surface, at which point it will be secure.
- A MicroMesh scrubbing pad with elastic edges that fit over the pillow and transforms it from a massaging surface into a cleaning one.
Note: We emailed customer support for additional details about the pillow’s material, softness, and dimensions, as well as the track’s length, but hadn’t yet received a response as of publishing.
After attaching Back Angel in the proper location, you and any members of your household can adjust its height by sliding the pillow up and down the track.
According to the website, you just have to “place one hand on the wall plate and the other on the bottom of the pillow, and pull the pillow out from the bottom to free the locking mechanism.” Then, “find the desired position and lock into place by firmly pushing the pillow back in. You should hear a click which indicates that it is re-locked.”
Finally, stretching your lower back and lumbar area is as easy as leaning against the pillow and gently rolling. The website emphasizes that Back Angel does not vibrate or offer any other mechanical functionality.
In these screenshots taken from Back Angel’s commercial, we can see how the device’s rail attaches to any smooth surface and provides height adjustability, and how rolling can deliver the benefits of self-massage. Credit: Zoom Products
How Much Does Back Angel Cost?
Back Angel is priced at $19.99 plus $5.99 S&H, which includes two MicroMesh pads and a free massaging ball roller for more intense targeting of sore muscles.
Important: The website indicates that additional pads are available for purchase, although nothing was available when we attempted to check out. We emailed customer support to learn more and will update this article as soon as a response is received.
All Back Angels come with a 60-day money back guarantee (30 days are listed on the Return Policy page, which is something we also inquired about), less S&H, which you can request by reaching out to Zoom TV Products’ customer support department at 888-828-2520 or 561-347-9001.
What Else Do We Know About Back Angel’s Manufacturer?
Zoom TV Products is based out of Pompano Beach, FL and has been in business since 2008. In that time, they’ve created a variety of popular products like Aqua Rug, Underlight Accent Lighting, SpinMaid Mop, and StufZ, to name just a few.
The company held a C+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on just one closed customer complaint, as of 1/30/18. It appears the company has yet to respond.
Are There Other Self-Massage Tools Like Back Angel?
Even just a cursory online search for “self-massage tools” will return a dizzying array of options in almost every size, shape, and design, and at price points from less than $10 to well over $100. And while none of these are designed exactly like Back Angel, what’s the best first step to take when choosing the right option for you?
After speaking with a couple of professionals, Buzzfeed’s Anna Borges reports that choosing the best self-massage tool largely depends on the area of your body you’re looking to address.
For example, she points out that something as simple as a tennis ball could help massage the soles of your feet, while relieving tension headaches could be as simple as lying on your back with your legs bent and moving your head from side to side.
Regarding back pain specifically, it might be best addressed using a wide foam roller, which could also allow you to find relief wherever you are (as long as you can comfortably lay down, of course).
Outlining the benefits of self-massage for getting rid of minor knots and trigger points (perhaps even better than professional massage in many instances), PainScience’s Paul Ingraham also recommends tennis balls and foam rollers as a good place to start, and even s-shaped tools with nodes on each end.
Where does all of this leave you when it comes to Back Angel?
Our Final Thoughts About Back Angel
Again, although we didn’t test Back Angel ourselves, the commercial certainly makes it look easy to install and adjust its height. The pillow and its thousands of fingers appear like they could provide some soothing pressure, and the removable mesh cover seems like a handy way of washing hard-to-reach areas on your back.
On top of this, the manufacturer seems to stand behind it with a satisfaction guarantee, although you’ll have to pay to ship it back if you’re dissatisfied.
With this said, the website emphasizes that Back Angel “is not a medical device and should not be considered a substitute for any medical advice provided by your doctor.” As such, if you’re experiencing frequent back pain, knots, soreness, or trigger points, talk with your doctor about which products might best meet your needs, based on your individual diagnosis.
Specifically, we might recommend asking them if Back Angel’s broad, wide pillow will provide the same level of pinpoint pressure as something like a tennis ball or s-shaped tool, and therefore the same level of relief. Along these same lines, will you be able to apply sufficient pressure to painful areas when standing, versus when lying down with a tennis ball or foam roller?