We live in a stress filled world. Long hours behind the wheel, long hours at our desks, long hours hunched over a computer screen, long hours on our feet, and long hours worrying about any number of things from our fortunes to our families, put a strain on mind and body. This stress and strain can turn into pain, but the good news is, there is something you can do about it!
Information published by the Mayo Clinic suggests that massage can do a lot more than just relieve stress; it can provide some relief from any number of issues including anxiety, headaches, soft tissue strains, sports injuries, and a number of other ailments. That having been said, at $60.00 or more per hour, going to the masseuse every day, or even every week, may be out of reach for the average budget. What’s more, where is that masseuse at 11:30 at night, when that aching back is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep? An effective, and affordable, supplement to the occasional massage, is a massage cushion.
Massage cushions are designed for your pleasure, and convenience. They are there when you need them, and store easily away when you don’t. You can use them at home, at work, and in some cases, even in the car! On the list below you will find a variety of massage cushions that range in price from about $30-$300 dollars. Even the most expensive of these options will have paid for itself in as little as five uses, and what is more, they won’t require you to make an appointment! Just slip it over a favorite chair, plug it in, take a seat and let your massage cushion do the rest. If this sounds good to you, then take a look at the list of massage cushions listed below, and take your first step towards the relief that you want, need, and deserve.
Choosing the Right Massage Cushion
Each of the following entries contains valuable information to help you choose the massage cushion that is right for you. In addition to the name, current pricing information, and a sample summary of customer comments and reviews, you will find a link in each entry to Amazon.com where you can order your massage cushion today!
Zyllion ZMA14 Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Cushion
Best Feature: The best feature offered by this massage chair is its flexibility. You can customize the area, and the type of massage settings, choosing from shiatsu massage motion, a rolling massage motion, back and neck, or just one or the other, it can be set to massage the entire back, or if you prefer the rollers can be adjusted to focus just on target areas.
Customer comments summary: There is no question that this massage cushion packs some power. The positive customer comments overwhelmingly praise it, and even the negative comments acknowledge that it is a powerful cushion…perhaps too powerful for some. The rolling massage is quite comfortable, but the shiatsu setting can be quite intense.
Summary Review: This cushion packs a punch. It is great for stiff backs, and sore muscles, but if you are looking for simple relaxation, a softer touch might be in order. Many of the customer reviews, the many, many good reviews, as well as many of the few negative ones, all acknowledge the power of this particular device. The commonly used word is “intense…” so, if you are looking for a cushion to really work those knots out of your sore muscles, this may be the cushion you are looking for; but if you are looking to simply slip into the serene, check out some of the other options on this list.
Zyllion ZMA14 Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Cushion
Best Feature: The key word is “adjustable,” whether you are talking about the moving Shiatsu Kneading Massage Nodes that apply pressure to your neck, or the 13 airbags that provide pressure to the back, this cushion can be adjusted to fit your particular preference.
Customer comments summary: With only 17 reviews posted to date it is difficult to draw too many conclusions from their comments. Most seem to be very, very pleased, but are not very specific about what it is that pleases them, except to say that it is very portable and sturdy, if perhaps a bit too bulky, and that it delivers a great massage.
Summary Review: The jury is still out on this model. The adjustable features seem to be pretty customizable, and there are few complaints about pressure being too intense, but even from the pictures it seems clear you might have some trouble fitting it into some chairs, as it does appear to be a bit bulky.
HoMedics MCS-510H Total Back and Shoulder Massage
Best Feature: Versatility and mobility. With a wide range of pre-programmed settings this massage cushion offers solid construction and durability.
Customer comments summary: Most customers seem to be very pleased with the versatility, durability, and portability of this product. There are adjustments that can be made that all a differentiation of pressure depending upon whether the back pad is flipped up, or down. The most common detraction seems to be with the effective range of the massager, it just doesn’t quite go high enough, but most customer seem pleased with the product insofar as it reaches.
Summary Review: This is a quality product, with an adequate number of good reviews to give the purchaser the confidence that they are going to be happy with their purchase. The fact that is not currently available through Amazon means that you may have to find it elsewhere if this is the purchase you decide to make.
Gideon™ Seat Cushion Vibrating Massager for Back, Shoulder and Thighs
Best Feature: The price. At less than $50.00 it would be hard to say this product isn’t worth the money. With heat, vibrating massage, and a thin enough construction to actually allow you to lay down on the cushion, this product promises some regularly available relief for tight and sore muscles.
Customer comments summary: Most of the customers who were unhappy with the product either had higher expectations, or paid the list rather than the sale price. This product’s functions and settings produce various levels of vibrations rather than using rollers of any kind, and some customers found this to be disappointing. Those customers who left positive comments focused primarily on the flexibility and portability of the cushion, some even using it in their car. With this thinner pad it avails itself to such use. Those with positive comments seemed to have more realistic expectations of a product at this price point.
Summary Review: This is an excellent product for the sale price, but probably a bit over priced without the sale. If your expectations are reasonable, and you will be happy with a light massage, and comforting heat to aid in relaxation of slightly sore muscles, and need the portability of a cushion that can go most anywhere, then this would be a good investment for you. If however, you are dealing with more serious discomfort, and need a product that provides more direct muscular manipulation, you will likely need to make a bigger investment in a higher end product.
Homedics Air Compression and Shiatsu Massage Cushion
Best Feature: This unit adds the feature of air compression for the lower lumbar region. In addition to the Shiatsu pressure point settings for upper back, lower back, or both, the compressed air applies varying degrees of pressure to the lower back that isn’t available in any of the other massage cushions that we have reviewed thus far. This unique feature sets this device apart from the others within its price range.
Customer comments summary: Many of those who commented positively were impressed with the air massage function. They were very pleased with the product, and how they felt when they used it. Even the negative comments seemed pleased with how the product worked so long as it did; the problem, many of the dissatisfied said, was that it stopped working after just a short period of use. The percentage of units that experienced malfunction or no function, seems to be fairly small, but unreliability is not an attractive quality.
Summary Review: The air pressure massage for the lower back is a huge selling point for this product, but they may be relying too heavily upon this novelty. The Shiatsu Massage function lacks the ability to pause in a particular place, and this is disappointing. That having been said, if you are looking for something specifically for your lower lumbar region that will provide comfort and support, this product may be just what you want.
New Five Star FS8812 10-Motor Vibration Massage Seat Cushion with Heat
Best Feature: Price, portability, and a gentle massage are the best features this product has to offer. The product description is adamant to let customers know there are no roller balls in this product, it is not a Shiatsu massager, but relies on vibration and centralized heat alone to provide comfort and relaxation.
Customer comments summary: There seems to be very little middle ground on this product. 73% of the respondents either loved it, or hated it. One review boasted of sitting in it for 8 to 10 hours a day, which would seem consistent with the complaints of others that claim the vibration feature is not particularly powerful. One very scary comment reports of a malfunction that actually burned a hole in the cushion itself and left a first degree burn on the back of the person using it. This is the first massage cushion injury that this author has read about, and is certainly a cause for concern.
Summary Review: As with all things, it all comes down to personal preference. What is it you are looking for? If you want a cushion that is going to pummel you tired muscles into submission, keep looking because this isn’t it. But if you are looking for a product that will gently vibrate, provided some comforting heat for your lower lumbar region, and provide the portability and flexibility needed to take it on the road with you, then this is a pretty good product for the purchase price. Just keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Wagan IN9989 12V Infra-Heat Massage Magnetic Cushion with AC Adapter
Best Feature: Designed for use at home, or in your car, this versatile massage cushion offers the additional feature of “10 strategically placed bio-magnets (that) emit a magnetic field that promotes blood circulation and oxygen in the muscle tissues…”
Customer comments summary: With an overall satisfaction rating of just 3.5 the reviews, by and large, were pretty mediocre on this product. Those who did not like it were disappointed with a variety of issues ranging from the fact that it only vibrates…(they should have known that when they ordered it), to more reasonable complaints such as insufficient, or slow, heating of the heating pads within the cushion, and the fact that only the seat and lower back get warm.
Summary Review: Most of the customers who purchased this product seemed to have done so to use in their vehicle. Certainly, it can be used at home, or at the office as well, but the light weight cushion fits nicely in the seat of your car where the vibrating massage, gentle heat, and ten strategically placed magnates, combine to offer some comfort to the achy traveler. The cushion is very affordable, so if it offers at least a little comfort, you can feel good about having gotten your money’s worth.
Wagan IN9989 12V Infra-Heat Massage Magnetic Cushion with AC Adapter
Best Feature: This Sharper Image product combines some basic Shiatsu massage with an adjustable strength air massage. While a few other cushions also offer the air massage for the lower lumbar region, this cushion provides the added benefit of three different intensity settings. So select high, medium, or low as you will, and enjoy the gentle pressure of this air massage feature.
Customer comments summary: The majority of customers who purchased this product were very happy with it. They felt that the two Shiatsu roller balls provided a firm and penetrating massage, and that the cushion heated nicely. Those who were not satisfied seemed to be frustrated with a variety of issues, and not any one thing in particular. “The balls were uncomfortable to sit against when the massage feature was not in use,” was one complaint that revealed that dissatisfaction may not have been so much with the product, as with massage cushions in general.
Summary Review: Some more expensive products offer numerous Shiatsu massage balls, whereas this product only two, for a product that is intended to be used in the car as well as in the home, this is a reasonable compromise, but give that some consideration before you place your order.
Gideon™ Powerful Vibrating Massager Seat Cushion
Best Feature: With eight different vibration points this massage cushion mixes it up by, well, mixing it up. There are eight different massage patterns that you can select from, and the cushion boasts of a particularly powerful vibrating massage.
Customer comments summary: The most commonly used adjective in the positive comment sec, tion for this product is “Amazing!” The heat feature gets very warm, and the vibrating massage is fairly intense. Those few who did not like this product seemed to be expecting something more than vibrations and heat, but that is what this cushion offers, and if they were looking for more, then they should have purchased something else. There were a few who said things like, “Worked great, until it didn’t,” indicating that they were pleased with the performance of the massage cushion but not with its reliability.
Summary Review: If you want a massage cushion that is going to shake things up, this is a good option. Powerful vibrating massage, flexible cushion, convenience, portability, and an affordable price combine with a strong showing in customer satisfaction to make this a purchase you can make with confidence, provided you know what you are looking for.
Homedics SBM-650H Shiatsu and Vibration Massage Cushion
Best Feature: This massage cushion allows you to stop the Shiatsu massage balls and isolate specific areas of your back. Few other massage chairs on our list near this price point offer this option, making this a premium feature worth noting.
Customer comments summary: One thing that stood out in the positive comments was the way that this massage cushion combined the best options available. Shiatsu massage, vibration, and heat combine to make this a really fantastic product. Those who did not like it were disappointed with its size, or were less than impressed with the vibrating massage, preferring the Shiatsu…to each their own. The nice thing is, this product offers both for a very reasonable price.
Summary Review: For the price, this may be one of the best options available. Many of the other massage cushions at this price range offer either shiatsu massage, or vibrating massage, but having both, and heating functions as well, is fantastic. Add to that the fact that you can isolate specific areas of your back and you have a massage cushion that is designed to please.
With so many options to choose from, how can you possibly decide which massage cushion is best for you? The list above is not a top ten list, nor is it offered in an order that is meant to imply that any one is better than the others. The reason for this is that there isn’t any one that is “the best,” because which one is “the best” is a matter of personal preference. You have to know what you are looking for. Here is a list of questions, or considerations, that you should keep in mind when choosing the massage cushion that is best for you.
- How much are you willing to spend?
- Do you prefer shiatsu massage balls, vibrating motors, or both?
- Where do you plan to use the massage cushion; at home, in the car?
- How important is heat?
- Do you want the chair to be adjustable, or are you happy with preset programs?
- What level of intensity are you looking for? How much pressure is perfect for you?
- How many customer reviews are there? The more there are the better.
- How reliable is the product?
- Do little extras like magnets or air massage functions matter to you?
- Does the company stand behind their product? How hard is it to return the product if it doesn’t work, or if you are not completely satisfied?
Whichever massage cushion you choose, the important thing is that it be the right one for you. If you have the opportunity to go to the store and try it out before you buy it be sure to do so. Reading about a product is no substitute for trying it on for size, but it is a good place to start. This kind of research can help you eliminate a lot of choices, and narrow down your options to a select few that meet all, or at least most, of your personal requirements.
The most important thing to remember however is this: Most of the people who were dissatisfied with these products were unhappy because the product did not meet their expectations for one reason or another. Sometimes their disappointment was quite reasonable, but often, these expectations were not realistic, given the purchase that they had made. It is not reasonable to complain that a massage cushion “only vibrates”, when you should have known before you bought it that it was a vibrating massage cushion. So make sure that you understand, and can articulate, the features that you desire, and do your research to make sure that the massage cushion you are purchasing will meet your expectations. If you do, you will have many comforting hours of stress reducing pleasure ahead.