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Massage Hook: What It Is, How It Works, & Review

Everything you need to know about the massage hook (aka muscle hook, back hook, massage cane, theracane, etc.).


1. Where Did Massage Hook Come From?
2. What Does A Massage Hook Do?
3. Does Massage Hook Work?
4. Massage Hook Review
5. Massage Hook Alternatives
6. Massage Hook FAQ

To make sure you are in the right place, by "massage hook" we mean this bastard, or a similar derivation:

GoFit Massage Hook

GoFit Muscle Hook / Massage Hook (Demo & Source)


Where Did Massage Hook Come From?

The massage hook and its variants were developed to combat trigger points, a form of muscle tension that can contribute to a lot of pain. Trigger points are common throughout the lower, middle, and upper back - and are obviously difficult to reach on your own.

Hence the massage hook was born - a way to massage the trigger points and muscle tension out of the lower, middle, and upper back on your own at home.


What Does A Massage Hook Do?

Massage hooks massage muscles in difficult-to-reach, often tense areas of the body. Due to sedentary lifestyles, upper back trigger points are extremely common, and the massage hook is a nice tool that can combat this.

Products like the GoFit muscle hook appear to have additional knobs for the neck, glutes, and thighs. In a nutshell - a massage hook can massage and release wherever you can put it and apply appropriate pressure.


Does Massage Hook Work?

Yes. Massage hooks work on the principle of trigger point therapy / deep tissue massage. If you have ever had a good massage from a physical or massage therapist, you won't need any convincing that massage works.

Carrying the principle of massage over to the massage hook tool, the massage hook works very well at pinpointed massage and applying appropriate pressure - two keys to finding pain relief.

The massage hook works best on the upper back region. The lower back area can require more pressure than a massage hook provides - and it is difficult to massage the lower back while standing because those muscles are needed to keep you standing.

For lower back massage, I'd opt for a tool like QL Claw, which is specifically made for the lower back, hips, and glutes. It will apply more pressure in a more precise fashion.


Massage Hook Review

Massage hooks have value, and they do what they say they will do. However, depending on your pain level and pain location, it may or may not make sense to invest in a massage hook.

Upper Back Pain: In my opinion, massage hooks are best for the upper back. They are much more forgiving and pressure-controllable than a ball, and the angle works well with the handles.

Lower Back Pain: You can get a little massage here, but lower back pain is often a beast too rough for a massage hook. I couldn't get enough pressure, and it didn't make much sense to massage while standing.

Other Body Areas: I haven't tried a massage hook on any other body areas, but I assume it would work and positively help.

Conclusion: If you are frequently developing trigger points or muscle pain, and respond well to massage, a massage hook belongs in your house. It is a great tool to grab when you need a little tension relief in the upper back but can't quite reach the spot. Nothing is as great as a massage from the hands of a professional, but a massage hook is about as good as you can get at home - and it is there right when you need it.


Massage Hook Alternatives

QL Claw: For lower back pain, I'd check out QL Claw. It was designed to hit all major muscles that can contribute to lower back pain when tight, and is the best tool for the job I've found (and we made it).

GoFit Muscle Hook Alternative

Back Buddy: The Back Buddy is a massage hook with a little more to it. Back Buddy has several massage knobs and can hit the same areas as a GoFit muscle hook, for potentially less cost.

Body Back Buddy Self Massage Tool

Massage Ball: If you want the cheapest alternative, using a massage ball (or tennis or lacrosse ball) on a wall or floor is probably your best bet. Balls are less precise, but can often apply the necessary pressure with a bit of luck and diligence.

Massage Ball For Back


Massage Hook FAQ:

What Is The Massage Hook Used For?

Targeted trigger point massage applied to muscles, often for difficult to reach areas.

How Do You Use A Massage Hook?

Apply the knob of choice to the muscle of choice, attempt to relax, and gently massage the area. Feel for tender spots - they are often where massage is needed most.

Why Does Releasing Knots Feel Good?

Muscle knots can pull on joints and impinge nerves - both feel like "pain" in the body. Releasing muscle knots can release tension on joints and pressure off nerves, which feels good.

Muscle Hook Target:

The upper back muscles (Rhomboids being popular) tend to be the most common targets of the muscle hook, but you can apply massage anywhere that works for you.


Thank you for reading about massage/muscle hook! Read next to learn more:


Knot In Lower Back

Turtle Neck Syndrome

Rhomboid Muscle Pain



[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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