Let's be honest here. Most products (and massage cushions not being an exception here) promise to deliver results.
But, in reality most of the products are not going to deliver results or even live up to your basic expectations.
The answer is - Marketing!
Not too long ago, my friend recommended a pad for my mother who were experiencing some back pain, because he researched it online and wanted to buy one. So, in order . device (Garbage - Do not Buy), that ended up causing more pain instead of helping to alleviate it.
The sad 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.
#2 Homedics MCS-510H
#1 Zyllion ZMA-14
#3 Gess18 Shiatsu Back Massager
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.
The advances in robotics and massage technique are many and some health benefits can be seen within just a few weeks.
People experience less neck and shoulder pain, more stress relief, better cardiovascular health, better circulation and digestion, and fewer headaches and backaches.
There's no doubt that a good and extensive shiatsu massage chair could be a worthwhile investment, but a good device is expensive. However, if you invest in one best massage chair pad, you can experience the benefits of more expensive devices.
You indeed can receive the most benefits of a full chair - less stress, great pain relief, an improved immune system, and a healthier mind and body--without any major cost.
Below, I compile a list of the top devices that I Tested and listed some PROS and CONS of each.
Top Rated Shiatsu Pads and Cushions (2020 Update)
#1 Zyllion ZMA-14 Massage Cushion with Soothing Heat Function
Editor's Choice 
Best rated by not only users, but many medical professionals, this 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 is also a vibrating massage pillow and includes 3 levels of vibration massage.
It's portable, of course, so you can easily take it with you to use with your favorite chair, including the one in your home office or at work.
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 shiatsu massage for your back and neck, three levels for your seat, and a 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-shutoff 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 full body shiatsu massage seat cushion only, this one might just be too big and bulky for you.
#2 Homedics MCS-510H Back Massager
Homedics i a well-known brand that's been around for years. 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 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 in at about fifteen pounds.
More advanced Homedics Mcs-750h is available, I tested it I will include it in my next review office chair (it most likely will be y #1 choice, possibly beating the ZMA-14 model). Do not confuse it with the HoMedics Triple Shiatsu Pro 3D Kneading model which is not that good.
#3 Gess18 Back Massager / Massage Chair Pad
This massage cushion is our #3 choice. It features airbags as well as twelve shiatsu massage nodes - eight for your upper and lower back--and four for your neck and head (provides great neck massage) .
The whole device is heated, which you can choose to turn on or off, and the seat pad section delivers a vibrating massage, which you can set at low, medium, or high. It comes with 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 cushion 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.
Gideon Seat Massager (Good Budget Option)
At last check, this one was going for a steal, so if you want to snap up one of the best massage cushions at a fraction of the cost, check out the Gideon. It's currently retailing online for just under fifty dollars.
With this massage 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 is also one of the massagers with heat function and 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.
Another good budget option is Relaxzen 10-Motor Massage Seat Cushion with Heat or Dr Scholl's Soothing 5 Motor Massager.
Gideon Luxury Six-Program Seat Massager Customizable Pillow 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 massage cushion. It comes with six customizable modes and features shiatsu deep kneading, shiatsu neck, rolling as well as vibration massage.
You can opt for heat, 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 programmable remote control.
The pros of this massage cushion are the 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 Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat
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 massage with this massager. It is strictly a vibrating massage seat cushion. What you do get, however, is ten motors, which deliver vibrating massage to your back, thighs, neck, and shoulders; heat function 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 (can use a car seat massager).
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.
Are Massage Chair Pads Worth It?
There are a few different types of massage chair pads available. They're generally made of leather, and designed for your specific chair. If you're sitting high and looking down, leather tends to be a better choice. Soft leather, for example, is light and airy and feels very comfortable. Over the last few years, manufacturers have introduced a whole new collection of plush leather recliner pads that won't block the view. I tend to prefer these over the traditional laminate material pads, as they are very well made. The best pads, however, are those with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) technology. These pad systems are made out of softer, more breathable materials.
Although they don't protect your chair from more abuse, they are more forgiving when it comes to abrasion. What About Lumbar Support? Lumbar support is a matter of personal preference. I own a massage chair with a separate seat and back as well as separate lumbar pads. I've never experienced any pain associated with back support, but many customers with deep-seated lower back problems find it extremely beneficial. Do You Need Protective Pads or No? Depending on the type of injuries you suffer from, a massage chair with these special treatment pads can help.
Do Massage Pads Really Work On?
Yes, massage pads can indeed provide therapeutic benefits when used appropriately. These devices are designed to deliver mechanical stimulation to muscles and tissues, and their effectiveness depends on various factors, including the individual's specific needs and the quality of the massage pad.
Here's how massage pads work and the scientific basis for their efficacy:
1. Mechanical Stimulation: Massage pads use vibrations, rollers, or other mechanical elements to apply pressure and movement to the targeted area of the body. This mechanical stimulation can have several physiological effects on the body:
2. Muscle Relaxation: The rhythmic pressure and movement applied by massage pads can help relax tense muscles. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with muscle stiffness or tension due to stress, physical activity, or medical conditions.
3. Increased Blood Flow: Massage pads can enhance blood circulation in the treated area. Improved blood flow can promote the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles and tissues, aiding in the removal of metabolic waste products and potentially accelerating the healing process.
4. Pain Relief: Many individuals use massage pads to alleviate pain, such as back pain, neck pain, or joint discomfort. The mechanical stimulation can trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers, which can provide relief from mild to moderate pain.
5. Stress Reduction: Massage, even when administered by a pad, has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. This effect is likely due to the relaxation response triggered by massage, which can lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and promote a sense of well-being.
Scientific Evidence: Several scientific studies have explored the effectiveness of mechanical massage devices, including massage pads. Research has demonstrated that these devices can provide relief from muscle soreness, improve range of motion, and reduce perceived pain in various populations, including athletes and individuals with chronic pain conditions. For example, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2020 found that using a vibrating massage pad on the neck and shoulders led to significant reductions in muscle pain and tension.
It's important to note that the effectiveness of massage pads can vary depending on the quality of the device and the individual's specific needs. Some people may find massage pads more effective for certain conditions, while others may prefer hands-on massage therapy.
In summary, massage pads do work in providing therapeutic benefits by delivering mechanical stimulation to muscles and tissues. However, their effectiveness can vary, and individuals should choose a massage pad that suits their needs and consult with healthcare professionals when dealing with specific medical conditions.
Prospera Kneading Massage Cushion
I love this seat cushion because it's so small and it delivers a shiatsu massage.
It's small, elegant, and you can take it 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 or playing video games.
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.
As far as the 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 massage seat 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 trip to the massage therapist.
Quick massage cushion reviews video:
If you are looking for a quick massage for the back neck and shoulders check out one of the best massage pillows with heat such as Zyllion ZMA13BK (bestseller for the last 3 years). BK meaning black color.
Zyllion is my #1 go-to brand when it comes to massage cushions devices, but I recently tested a Homedics MCS750h massage chair pad model, which I think might become my #1 choice. Check it out and tell me what you think.