Neck and shoulder pain is probably one of the most common modern-age ailment that many in our community nowadays suffer from. So much so, that 1 every 5 would have had some sort of aches in these areas, albeit in varying degrees.
Indeed, we are so prone to straining our neck and shoulder nowadays, be it from working in front of our computers for long hours or having slept in an uncomfortable position, neck and shoulder pain has became something most of us are very much accustomed to.
Thankfully, there are now various devices we can engage to help alleviate these symptoms instead of having to go to the doctors or chiropractors all the time. One of it being - the neck and shoulder massager.
Best Neck and Shoulder Massager Review
Out of all our neck and shoulder massager reviews, the RESTECK Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager is the winner in terms of being the best shiatsu neck and shoulder massager.
An Amazon's Choice, it is probably one of the most popular, if not the most popular neck massager on the market.
Here's why it continues to receive close to perfect rating from users worldwide.
For firsts, it gives one of the most natural-feeling massage that is comparable to that of a professional masseuse.
Aside from that, it also warms up much more quicker and has a heat that penetrates more into the body than other models. Because of this, we also regard it as one of the best neck massager with heat.
What really stood out for us though, is that the RESTECK has the ability to allow you direct where the massager works and let you control the precise intensity on the muscles. It can be placed anywhere along the neck, shoulder or back, but you can also use it on other body parts to alleviate acute joint and muscle pain.
The capability of a much more precise and fluid control is what sets the RESTECK apart from its competitors continue reading here...
Coming close in second is the Nekteck Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager.
This too, is one of the best rated neck massager in the market. Unsurprisingly so, given the many similarities it shares with the RESTECK.
Featuring also 8 deep-kneading massage nodes, these nodes do a bi-directional massage with an auto-reverse rotation button option to select from.
The built-in infrared advanced soothing heat function enhance blood circulation which you can turn off manually should you wish, otherwise its 15-minute overheating auto-shut off function gives adequate peace of mind and safety protection.
There are 3 speed strength level for you to select the best pressure you need but if you are to adjust the incorporated long handle straps, you too can manually adjust the strength as well besides using it to adjust the massage position.
Compared with the RESTECK, this shiatsu neck massager feels a little bulky when placed on the shoulder though. This is probably the only aspect the Nekteck loses out on but if you’d like a slightly lower price point, this is the next best heated neck and shoulder massager you can consider.
Reading on, you will find just how outlier the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager is amongst these best neck shoulder massager reviews here.
This is the only shiatsu neck and shoulder massager that well, don’t quite look the same as the rest.
Yes, instead of coming in the usual handle strap design, this one here employs the massage pillow design.
In fact, this is the very first original shiatsu pillow massager that has been featured in publications like Business Insider, USA Today, Travel+ Leisure and the likes and it continues to be the brand's bestseller since its release.
Out of all, the Zyllion is probably the most versatile. Not only does it massage the neck and shoulder, it is able to cater to the back, leg, feet and arms.
Because of this, it is also regarded by many to be the best neck back and shoulder massager. Read more here...
The Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager resembles the Nekteck in many ways.
For one, it also employs 8 deep-kneading Shiatsu massage nodes to soothe and relieve tired and tight muscles.
Heat of up to 45 degrees Celcius with 20 minute overheat protection is incorpoated and there are 3 levels of intensity for you to choose from.
The reason we rate it lower than the Nekteck is because we find that you may have to spend a few minutes adjusting the massager first after turning it on to get it to the right position.
This has got to do with the placement of the nodes, which we find to be not as strategically placed as the Nekteck. It may just for us though, certainly, it is not a dealbreaker because once adjusted correctly, the massage is divine.
Nevertheless, we do like this slightly better in terms of its multi-functionality for other body parts because it is slightly bigger in size, therefore more coverage.
In fact, it is the No.1 Bestseller in the electric back massager category at Amazon so yes, if you're in the hunt for the best neck and upper back massager, the Naipo is one model you can consider.
Another Amazon’s Choice, the Snailax Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager is the next shiatsu neck and shoulder massager we’d like to review.
What we like about this massager is its size – one that is neither too big nor too small, making it ideal to also massage the back, leg and belly with ease besides just the neck and shoulders.
You see, if it's any bigger, it’d be a rather heavy burden on the neck and shoulder which defeats the purpose of massage.
But should it go any smaller, it will not be as versatile as it is now in catering to the back or thighs because the coverage will then be too small and it’d take too long to massage the entire area. This size of it is therefore, just right.
Function-wise, this one too has 8 rotating nodes that give 3D deep-kneading shiatsu massages. It comes with optional heating that you can switch off separately with an overheating protection system. Likewise, it has a 15-minute auto-shut off safety feature.
The only thing we’d fault the Snailax is that it doesn’t provide different intensity level for you to choose. You can adjust the intensity manually by pulling at the armrest handle though should you like more pressure to be applied to a certain area but yes, it’d be better if there’s different intensity level incorporated.
If this is really an issue for you though, its SL-632NC version may be a better fit for you because not only does it come with 2 intensity levels, it is also a cordless design.
Nevertheless, the Snailax Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager SL-632 is one of the most affordable neck and shoulder massager in the market that despite the many tough competitors out there, continues to receive high ratings from users worldwide so you know it does have its appeal there.
At a glance, the InvoSpa Shiatsu Back Shoulder and Neck Massager is quite similar to any other neck and shoulder massagers.
Indeed, its 8 massage nodes with bi-directional movement control, 3 speed settings and infrared heat function may not be anything new here.
In fact, these are considered basic requirements for a high-end neck and shoulder massager.
How InvoSpa stood out is that by having different sizes for its massage nodes - 4 are smaller while the other 4 are bigger. What this does is that the different-sized nodes provide an additional layer of sensation when they rotate, thereby truly achieving the 3D deep tissue massage effect that mimics the human hands.
Because of this, it helps release stress, sore muscles and tensed tissues all over the body when you place it on the neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, waist, feet, thighs, calves, leg and arms.
If you have been doing your research, you would certainly have came across the MaxKare Shiatsu Neck Shoulder Massager at some point.
This is amongst the most popular neck and shoulder massagers in the market alongside contenders like Nekteck and InvoSpa.
Featuring 8 bi-directional rotation knots with optional heating therapy mode and 3 adjustable intensity, this device can be fully customized to massage the whole body.
The only thing we have to say about the MaxKare is that its heat function is quite weak.
Not that we are expecting something scalding hot (that will never be the case – see why further down below) but this is probably one with the gentlest warmth out of all the models here.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a relatively cheap massager that wouldn’t cost you much, you will love the MaxKare Shiatsu Neck Shoulder Massager.
If you think the MaxKare is cheap, you will be even more surprised when you find out about the price of the Mirakel Shiatsu Back Neck Shoulder Massager.
This is easily the most affordable model out of all that are reviewed here.
When it comes to low price points, many would be concerned if quality will be compromised.
Not with this one here.
Not only does it use the usual soft PU leather that most other models have, it also uses a special linen fabric to upgrade its overall outlook as well as improve its breathability.
Function wise, there are 8 bi-directional massage nodes with optional infrared heating and 15-minute auto-shut off function. The usual.
What stood out to us, is the precise and smooth control of the massager thanks to the precisely positioned massage nodes.
Because of this, it is easier to target specific muscles in the neck, shoulder and back which some massagers may not be able to reach. For a neck and shoulder massager at this price point to be able to achieve this, is truly remarkable. No wonder it has received such rave reviews!
The only cordless neck and shoulder massager amongst all these best neck massager reviews - the TruMedic InstaShiatsu+ Neck Back & Shoulder Massager is for those looking for the best portable neck massager.
With a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides hours of cordless relief in just a single charge, you can have your massage anywhere you want with this one here.
No longer will you have to be near a power outlet all the time, and the auto-shut off feature will activate after 20 minutes of use to ensure the life of your battery. Even if it does run out of battery, you can still continue using it in plug-in mode like any other massagers reviewed here.
Another thing that we like about the TruMedic is its handle strap. This one here has additional velcro wrist straps inbuilt within so that your wrists can rest more comfortably when you control the intensity of the massage via lengthening or shortening the velcro straps.
Nevertheless, even if you don’t adjust them manually as such, there are 2 different massage intensities to choose from from the control panel. Speaking of which, this one has a rotation button for when you need to change the rotation direction of the massage rollers.
Other features are pretty standard – 8 shiatsu massage nodes and heat function, applicable on the back, thighs, feet and abdomen besides just the neck and shoulder.
Last but not least, we have the Homedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck and Shoulder Massager.
Compared to the rest, this one here is considerably smaller in size.
Depending on your requirements, this can be a good or bad thing. We think it certainly make for one of the best home neck and shoulder massager for the petites because its smaller size is a better fit to those smaller in frame.
And because it is lighter, it doesn’t put much weight on the shoulders thus further supporting our point. If you plan to go travelling with one, this will be a very good choice because of its size and weight.
Do note that it comes with 4 massage nodes only, but the Thera-P varies its massage sensation by segregating the size of the nodes to 2 smaller and 2 larger ones.
These nodes can be programmed to rotate in or outward that is completely up to you, controllable via the shiatsu reverse button. Heat is optional and there is a 15-minute auto-shut off mechanism.
Neck and Shoulder Masager Reviews – A Comparison Chart
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Neck Shoulder Massager
Now that you have read our neck massager reviews above, do you feel even more confused? What’s with the many models available in the market that frankly speaking, look quite the same at a glance?
We don’t blame you, we’d feel the same if we don’t have a clear understanding on their distinction ourselves which fortunately, we do.
Which is why we have put together the guide below to explain what are some of the indispensable things to look for in a neck and shoulder massager, as well as how to tell the good from the inferior ones.
1. Massage Technique
When it comes to choosing the best neck and shoulder massager, looking at the massage technique one offers should be the very first thing you look at.
Generally speaking, there are three massage techniques that are commonly found in neck and shoulder massagers:
This is the most popular massage technique that is employed in most models.
If you don’t already know, shiatsu is the rolling of the palm, fingers and thumbs of a professional masseuse over certain pressure points on the body to achieve overall muscle relief and relaxation.
Neck and shoulder massagers mimic this by having massage nodes installed in them, nodes that rotate around their axis to produce a similar massage result.
These nodes are not perfectly aligned, so every time they rotate, they are able to hit at a different angle, thereby working a different muscle.
Because of their spread-out coverage, they are able to work on different muscles simultaneously. This is something the human hands cannot achieve.
See what we mean by the illustration left?
Each time the massage nodes switch their rotation direction, they are able to hit a different muscle altogether.
As a result, all areas are essentially covered to give you the ultimate relief.
In that regard, the Resteck and Nekteck are among the best shiatsu neck massager that implement this aspect exceptionally well.
Kneading is another popular massage technique that you will see in almost all models.
This is the pressing of tissues against the hard surfaces of the bones. It is one of the most efficient ways of treating tight muscles (increasing their flexibility), as well as increasing blood circulation.
Given that it is especially helpful in alleviating joint and muscle aches, people who suffer from stiff shoulders and neck will find this technique particularly beneficial.
In comparison, vibration is lesser used and can only be found in a few neck and shoulder massagers. It is more easily found in massage chair pads or massage chairs, nevertheless, it is one technique that helps relax the underlying muscles.
If you suffer from chronic pain or aches, we wouldn’t suggest going for a neck and shoulder massager that provides vibration technique only because it wouldn’t do much from a therapy perspective.
On the other hand, if you’re just seeking some form of relaxation, this can be the way to go because it does have some great muscle relaxation proprieties, not to mention vibration-type massagers are also slightly cheaper in comparison.
Heat is the second thing to look for when choosing the best electric neck massager.
You may have noticed this already, but most best rated neck and shoulder massager on the market come with heat.
Understandably so, given the heat feature makes for the best massager for neck and shoulder pain.
First of all, it warms up the muscles. This increases the muscles' flexibility and ability to stretch which is a very efficient way to get rid of any knots that may be present in your muscles.
Secondly, and most of us should be aware of this already - heat stimulates blood circulation.
When more blood is able to reach the muscles, they get to receive more oxygen and nutrients. Also, any toxin that is present can be flushed out more frequently from them. As a result, the muscles feel more relaxed and less tight.
Inflammation can be reduced as well because your tissues get filled with white blood cells when blood circulation is stimulated. Not only does a higher concentration of these cells reduce any inflammation, a body’s immunity too is increased in triple fold.
There are a few things to keep in mind though when it comes to heat:
*It takes a while to warm up...
It is normal for a neck and shoulder massager to take around 5 minutes to heat up. In fact, that is the case with most heated home massage devices. You cannot expect it to warm up immediately upon switching on because the heating element used is not the same as those you found in say, radiators.
*Do not expect it to be burning hot!
It seems to be a myth that heat will be very high in these massage units. That is not supposed to be the case, as heat therapy is not designed to scald you. Just like when you stretch, you won't feel your muscles burn - they just warmed up. This is exactly what you should feel from a heated neck and shoulder massager.
*Moderation is KEY
As with anything really, moderation is the key. Do not use beyond the advised duration as you may risk harming your muscles instead of alleviating them otherwise.
Also, do not expect to see an immediate result failing which you claim your neck and shoulders massager to be useless. Give it a good two weeks at least before assessing whether it works for you.
The third aspect to look out for is the portability of a neck and shoulder massager.
Now, neck and shoulder massagers are portable in general. By that we mean they are mostly quite lightweighted and can be folded up rather compactly for you to bring it anywhere you go.
Most packed into a carry bag as pictured left, so it's literally like a small gym bag that you can carry around.
Although it is common that brands include a carry bag in the package when you purchase a neck and shoulder massager unit, not all come with one.
For instance, the Homedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck and Shoulder Massager is one without.
Taking portability one step further are cordless neck massagers like the Brookstone shiatsu neck and back massager and TruMedics InstaShiatsu, which basically do not require you to even be anywhere near a power outlet.
This, is the best portable neck massager kind. If you’re required by work or your lifestyle to be on the move always, this is the type you should look for.
Nevertheless, even if it is not cordless, most models nowadays come with at least a car adapter so you can still enjoy a neck and shoulder massage in the car.
This is particularly useful to those required to be behind the wheels all the time i.e. people who drive RVs or truckers.
4. Power Source
Speaking of which, there are two types of neck and shoulder massagers – cordless or non-cordless.
The choices are pretty limited, with this being the one model we can find in the market that is equipped with the wireless function.
If cordless is essential to you, we suggest checking these ones out instead - they make for the best portable neck massager ever.
Nevertheless, a cordless neck and shoulder massager is battery-operated. Whilst this makes it super portable, the whole unit does require to undergo repairing instead of just changing out the battery should the battery stops working. This is because most manufacturers do not use changeable batteries.
Once fully charged though, most cordless massagers can last around 2 hours with some even up to 3 hours.
If you wish to use the heat function though, we’d advise plugging it in because this is a function that takes up the highest energy consumption. And yep, all cordless neck and shoulder massagers can be used while they’re charging.
As you would have guessed, these neck and shoulder massagers require them to be plugged into a power source before you can start using it.
Pretty straightforward, but you may want to check on the length of the power cord first because that affects the portability of a massager to a certain extent.
Last but not least, look at the versatility of a model.
The best kind are those that are not limited to just massaging the neck and shoulder only but can be used on other body parts as well.
But that’s not the only thing determining a model’s versatility. Size, is another important aspect to consider:
Get one that is bigger if you intend to use it to massage the back, hips and thighs or other body parts. This is because a larger surface has bigger coverage to massage more muscles at once. It won't be the best neck massager though because it wouldn't be too comfortable at a smaller area like the neck, so that's something to keep in mind.
Which is why this makes for the best choice for a highly versatile model because medium-sized models are slim enough to feel comfortable on the neck, while still being large enough to cover a bigger area like the back in a timely manner. A medium-sized model like this makes for the best neck and back massager combination in our opinion.
If the primary areas you are going to target involve just the neck and shoulders or at most, including the feet only, then you can do away with a small neck and shoulder massager like the Naipo. You can still use it to massage other body parts like the back for example should you desire, it just may take a longer time to get the job done.
Another feature to look at is the handle straps of a massager unit.
Although all the shiatsu neck massager reviews we've looked at above provide handle straps, know that not all offer the same length.
If you intend to use one in conjunction when you work, you may want to look for those that come with longer straps because this way, you can still move your hands while maintaining the unit’s position.
As in, you don’t need to keep your hands still holding onto the straps all the time to keep the massager in place.
A good example will be the truMedic, which has long enough straps for you to do just that with even adjustable velcro wrist supports for you to adjust the massage intensity.
Of course, weight is also a determinant of a massager’s versatility. The lighter it is, the easier it will be to move it to where you want to and keep it in place.
It also wouldn’t burden the neck and shoulder, which really, defeats the whole purpose of a massage if it feels heavy on the neck and shoulder.
Benefits of Neck and Shoulder Massages
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, neck and shoulder pain is something very common amongst the people in the community nowadays.
Stress is one underlying factor, but even the simple motion of swiping and looking down on our phones become one cause.
In fact, this is one of the most contributing factor because most of us do this for much more longer than required, thereby putting unnecessary burden to the neck thus further escalating/worsen the condition.
Massages work in the sense that it reduces and alleviates these pain and aches to a very large extent, but there are actually much more benefits than that.
Reduce Neck Pain
It could be of whiplash or inflammation, or it could be because we have very poor posture, Tech neck is a real thing, you guys.
A neck and shoulder massager is beneficial in the sense that they are able to massage from different angles thanks to a design that specially wrap around the neck and shoulder.
Compared to human hands which can only knead one spot at a time, the multiple nodes of a neck and shoulder massager work on different muscles simultaneously stimulating them.
Thanks to the increased blood flow that is generated as a result, you see your neck pain disappearing over time through massage therapy.
[If your pain gathers primarily in the neck area only, you may wish to consider getting one of these instead.]
Increase Shoulder Mobility
Now, aside from pain and aches, you can suffer from stiff shoulders too. Also known as frozen shoulders (or medically – adhesive capsulitis), this is a condition whereby there’s stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint.
Left untreated, it will get worse over time.
Neck and shoulder massagers help improve this condition by stretching the muscles and massaging them, as a doctor would advise for such condition.
If your neck and shoulder massager comes with heat, all the better as the warmth will further stimulate blood flow to bring more white cells into the area to reduce the inflammation. Done regularly, you’ll see an increase in your shoulder’s mobility over time.
Upper Back Tension Relief
While our body parts are all connected one way or the other, the upper back is very much adjoined to the neck and shoulder in that any discomfort or pain in the latter will have an immediate effect on the upper back.
If you don’t already know, the upper back is also one body part that is more prone to tension than any other parts of the body.
This is because of the bad posture that many of us are susceptible to (you know, slumping forward and such instead of keeping our shoulders straight at all times) which lead to increased tension in the upper back muscles.
Also, we unconsciously impose a lot of pressure on our upper back be it from exercising, doing physical labour or just sitting in front of a computer, all of which can lead to knots forming in our muscles.
By having regular massages applied to the neck and shoulder, it effectively helps relieve all these muscle tension and knots at the upper back as well to help them relax and stretch.
[If you have continuous strain at the upper back, you may want to combine this into your daily neck and shoulder massages to see double the effect.]
On the same notion, muscles contractions in the neck area can lead to headaches too and not just the upper back.
This is what's regarded as ‘tension headaches’ and they are often recurring be it just once or twice a month or consecutively a week or so, or even longer.
Getting rid of the cause, which is muscle contraction, is the best way to get rid of tension headaches once and for all.
Massaging the neck and shoulder muscles is one way to relax and relieve the tension in this area. When they are relaxed, they won’t cause the headaches. It’s that simple.
Increase Blood Circulation
Perhaps nothing new to many, given increased blood circulation is probably the most apparent benefit of any massage but neck and shoulder massages, too, will increase your blood circulation.
By stimulating the muscles, blood flow is increased and when this happens, more oxygen and nutrients are brought to the muscles and their nearby joints. In return, muscles are more vitalized and they began to regenerate themselves and if there’s any inflammation going on, the increased flow of white blood cells will actively reduce it.
This is actually one basis behind how people suffering from neck and shoulder pain find relief – because of increased blood flow that lead to improvement to mobility, pain relief and an increase in muscle’s vitality.
And when you’re relieved of all neck and shoulder aches, you get to sleep better at night. Massages do that to you – your muscles relax, your overall physique feels less stressful, you feel better.
Having said the above, if you are suffering from a medical condition or physical injury, you should always check with your doctor first before using a neck and shoulder massager.
In fact, any individual who may be...
pregnant or recently gave birth, has a heart condition or a pacemaker, suffers from diabetes or other sensory impairment, phlebitis and/or thrombosis, joint dysfunction, inflammation or injuries, weak bones, osteoporosis, high fever, an abnormal or curved spine, is at an increased risk of developing blood clots, has pins/screws/artificial joints or other medical devices implanted in his/her body or is under a doctor’s care
... should consult with a medical professional before using a massaging device designed for home use.
Neck and shoulder pain can be a real nuisance, even if it's just a dull ache.
You can always feel them there no matter how mild, and that can be quite the disruption in your efficiency and overall daily life.
Massages are helpful, but while spa sessions are divine, not many can afford to incorporate that regularly into their daily lifestyle. Hence the answer in a good neck and shoulder massager.
They may look quite similar at a glance, but no two are the same. We hope our reviews above will help you make an informed decision in choosing the best neck and shoulder massager that suits you in all ways.
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