The statistics on people who experience back and neck pain, headaches, and muscle and joint pain are staggering–it’s over seventy-six million Americans alone.
Doctors and physical therapists have been recommending massage therapy for decades, and for some that means weekly massage, a monthly visit to the spa, physical therapy, or a home massage chair.
The advances in robotics and massage technique via massage chairs are many, and for those who can afford to buy one, the health benefits are apparent within weeks. People experience less pain, more stress relief, better cardiovascular health, better circulation and digestion, and fewer headaches and backaches.
There’s no doubt a shiatsu massage chair is a wise and worthwhile investment. If you can’t or just don’t want to buy one, however, there’s an outstanding alternative, which is to get best massage chair pad.
They’re portable, effective, and in many cases, much more budget friendly. You get most of the benefits of a full chair–less stress, great pain relief, an improved immune system, and a healthier mind and body–without the major investment. Here’s a list of the top brands out there, what they feature, and the pros and cons of each.
Top Rated Shiatsu Pads and Cushions
This best rated massage chair cushion stands out among the lot due to its size, back and neck coverage, the addition of heat, and the fact that it delivers a shiatsu massage–four different modes for both neck and back.
It’s portable, of course, so you can easily take it with you to use with your favorite chair, including the one in your office. It’s shaped like a removable car seat, which is part of why it’s so effective. The coverage is unsurpassed in the world of massage cushions. It delivers rolling and kneading massage for your back and neck, three levels for your seat, and dual vibrating shiatsu massager for your hips.
On the pro side, you get a professional grade massage for your upper and lower back, hips, and neck. There are multiple modes, and you can adjust the height and width positions. The back strap is adjustable, so it’s customizable. It has an auto-shut off for added safety, and at around two hundred and fifty dollars, it’s an affordable option.
As far as cons, there aren’t many. If you’re looking for something that is a seat cushion only, this one will be too big and bulky for your needs.
Homedics is the top of the line, and a well-known brand that’s been around for ages. They are experts in designing and manufacturing massage products of all types, and you can’t beat the quality and features.
They also look great. Like the ZMA-14, Homedics’ MCS-510H is your portable, take-with-you-wherever-you-go deliverer of rejuvenating shiatsu massage.
It features three modalities to choose from: rolling, spot focused, and kneading. Coverage is complete for your entire back as well as your shoulders. It’s heated, you can adjust the width, and it comes with a remote control.
The pro list includes its accuracy in targeting specific points on your back. You can stop it and start it as you need, so once it gets to a trouble spot, it can stay in that one place for as long as it takes to work out the knot or loosen the muscle.
The Homedics back massager is top notch, and it has an auto shut off.
The only real con is that it’s on the bulky side, so it’s not a breeze to transport. It’s not overly heavy, weighing it at about fifteen pounds.
This cushion is top of the line. It features air bags as well as twelve massaging nodes–eight for your upper and lower back–and four for your neck and head.
The whole device is heated, which you can choose to turn on or off, and the seat section delivers a vibrating massage, which you can set at low, medium, or high. It comes with a remote control, and you can program the nodes individually. The back strap is adjustable, and it has an auto shut off timer.
This in affordable massager, right around the upper-mid range price-wise (just under three hundred), and packs a lot of features and quality for the bucks. It’s also substantial enough for tall people (easily accommodates those over six feet tall). The only downside is, at 24.4 pounds, it’s heavy.
At last check, this one was going for a steal, so if you want to snap up an one of the best massage cushion at a fraction of the cost, check out the Gideon. It’s currently retailing online for just under fifty dollars.
With this cushion, you get the gamut of massage styles for your hips, back, and thighs: rolling, kneading, tapping (tapotement), and pulsating. You can also just set it to auto, and like shuffle in the old days on your CD player, the chair will scroll through all the modes. The strap is adjustable, so you can use it on any chair or in your car.
You can choose to intensively focus on a single area for a massage with the ability to pinpoint, say, just your lower back or shoulders; and there are four levels of intensity to choose from.
Pros are obvious on this one. Price, and weight. It weighs only three and a half pounds. It also has optional heating, and a 12-volt adapter, so you can plug it into your car. Very hard to find any cons on this affordable gem.
Gideon Luxury Six-Program Customizable with Heat
Here is the best massage cushion from Gideon, this model is a Cadillac on features and quality, and still well within the affordable range. They’re under one hundred and fifty dollars, so for the money, you can’t beat this cushion. It comes with six customizable modes and features shiatsu deep tissue kneading massage, as well as vibration and rolling. You can opt for heat or not, and there’s an automatic shut off feature for added safety.
What I love about the Gideon line is that they’re lightweight and they come with a 12-volt adapter, so you can use them in your car. When you have a back injury, or do a lot of driving, one of the single worst things you can do for your back is drive. Being able to toss this into the car makes a huge difference in your back health. You will be hard pressed to find any negatives (or bad reviews).
Homedics Air Compression and Shiatsu Pad
This best back massager is a direct competitor to the Gideon Luxury Six-Program Customizable Massaging Cushion with Heat. It’s right about the same price, and delivers shiatsu massage.
You can choose to target any of the three zones: upper, lower, or entire back. There’s a three-mode setting for your lumbar, which offers massage via air compression. It comes with a programmable remote control.
The pros for this cushion are price and quality of massage. As far as cons, a downside is that you can’t pause or focus on a single area. You can receive the massage in any or all the targeted areas, but you can’t set it to just focus on say a knot in a certain section of your back. The air compression is also a little loud.
New Five Star FS8812
This is a basic model massage cushion without fancy bells or whistles. And by bells and whistles, I mean advanced or professional types of massage. There is no deep tissue shiatsu, kneading, or rolling with this massager. It is strictly a vibrating cushion. What you do get, however, is ten motors, which deliver vibrating massage to your back, thighs, neck, and shoulders; heat for the low back; three speeds; remote control; and four programs to choose from. It’s portable, lightweight, and has an adapter for your car.
This is a good entry level massager if you’re looking for a) low price; and/or b) a massager that only vibrates. It’s also very light–less than five pounds, so portability is a plus.
I love this cushion because it’s so small and it delivers a shiatsu massage.
It’s small, elegant, and you can take with you anywhere. It delivers a professional grade shiatsu deep tissue kneading massage, and it’s so thin and lightweight, that you can easily massage your whole body any time. It’s particularly nice when you’re hanging out at home on the couch watching a movie.
Pros are looks and portability (great design, lightweight (3.5 pounds), small (11″ X 7″ X 4″), and easy to take with you on the go); you can use it in your car; it heats up; and you can pick one up for less than forty-five dollars. A
s far as cons, it doesn’t have a lot of features. You can’t change the speed, and the massage is straight-up, like that of a hand-held massager. There’s not really a ton of cushion between you and the massage heads.
If a massage chair is simply not in the cards for you, a massage chair pad is a great option. The latest technological advances in robotic massage appliances is progressing at an amazing rate of speed, and the price is low enough to pay for itself after one fewer trips to the massage therapist.
Quick massage cushion reviews video: