What is a Back Scratcher?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 May 2020
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A back scratcher is a simple tool often used to reach an otherwise inaccessible itch on a person's back. One end of a back scratcher usually contains a rake-like tip or set of bristles to aid in the scratching process, while the other end might contain a shoehorn blade or other dressing aid. More likely than not, the non-business end of a common back scratcher will contain a loop of string fed through a hole and tied for easy storage on a nail or hook. While there are a number of collectible back scratchers made from materials such as ivory or stainless steel, the most common material used for a modern back scratcher is plastic or bamboo.

The history of the back scratcher is a bit sketchy, although a number of ancient civilizations did use extending devices to scratch under elaborate costumes and wigs during ceremonies. It's highly possible that the back scratcher was one of the first tools invented by early humans, most likely as the result of experimenting with branches and weeds. Even today, a number of animal species have been observed using sticks as simple back scratchers or reach extenders. The concept of a back scratcher could have been refined over the centuries until it became the tool we know today.

The tip of a modern back scratcher is often in the shape of a curved human hand, with the "fingernails" acting as sharp-edged scrapers. In recent years a more advanced back scratcher model featuring multiple soft rubber or plastic bristles has become popular. A good back scratcher should be able to reach the bottom of the user's back without creating excessive strain. The bristles or tines of a back scratcher should be sharp enough to create a beneficial resistance, but not sharp enough to cause injury to the skin. A simple back-and-forth raking motion should be enough to satisfy the itch.

Many back scratchers sold today are either plastic promotional novelties or cheaply constructed bamboo imports. This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that these products cannot produce satisfactory results. For many people, any object capable of reaching an inaccessible itch without causing injury constitutes a good back scratcher. For more advance back scratching technology, it might help to search medical supply stores or online stores specializing in dressing and medical aids.

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Post 1

Hi, I found the greatest back scratcher I've ever seen at an obscure little web store, Hard Wood Backscratchers. I think they are hand made in the USA and they do an amazing job of back scratching. They are also really pretty.

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