If you’re shopping for a massage cushion you’ll quickly realize you have so many options!
Do you go for a chair pad that you can use at home or something smaller that you can pop in your bag to use wherever you need it?
Our 10 Best Massage Cushion Reviews
To help you make your decision, take a look at our list of the best massage cushions for 2021:
Types of massage cushions
There are two main types of massage cushion:
Massage Chair Pad
A massage chair pad is a massage device that is strapped on to a chair to deliver a full back massage. Massage chair pads often use either rollers, nodes or air chambers, or a combination of all of them.
Massage Pillow / Cushion
A massage pillow or a massage cushion is a device available in various shapes and sizes that includes massage nodes or vibration points. It can be placed at the site of the pain to provide relief.
Features of massage cushions
Design and Dimensions
Chair pads tend to come in a standard shape to fit any chair however the shape of massage cushions varies widely so it’s worth considering how you’ll use it to find the right shape for you.
You also need to consider the size, will it give your neck good coverage? Is it too large to be portable? All should be considerations to make the right choice.
If you want a massage cushion you can travel with day to day then consider the weight of the device when making your selection.
Some massage cushions are specifically designed to blend in with a home or office environment, perhaps by being disguised as furniture or a chair pad being so slim it fits seamlessly in to an office chair.
Style of Massage
Air Bags / Pockets
Some chair massaging pads come with air bags or air pockets which are essentially air bags that inflate / deflate to gently squeeze the body, mimicking the hands of a masseuse.
The number of massage nodes that the device offers may be important to you if you’re looking for a deep and intense massage.
Percussion is a style of massage and users have described this technique as “thundering on your back”, so perfect if you want a deep tissue massage perhaps not ideal if you’re looking for something a little less intense.
Look for this feature, a Japanese massage technique, if you want to replicate the hands of a masseuse as closely as possible! Some massagers include an optional direction mode so the nodes can change direction for a more satisfying massage.
If you have knots and want a massage that is really going to work them out then you might want to look out for the kneading function.
If you have good days and bad days and want a massage that can flex with you then you want to look for a massager with a selection of intensity settings. Some devices only come with one setting so make sure you choose what is right for you.
As well as intensity settings you need to look at what speed settings are offered if you want something fast and rigorous or if you’re looking for something slow and gentle.
Some products offer an additional vibration function which might be something you want to consider for that added extra relief.
Heat can offer comforting relief from pain as it heats the skin which stimulates the sensors and blocks the pain signals being sent to the brain, many different massagers include this option so it’s worth looking out for. Infrared heat is also a feature offered by some devices.
A timer can be handy if it takes you a while to get to the source of your pain, so you can set a period of time and then just sit back and enjoy the relief.
Auto Shut Down
Auto Shut Down can be great as it protects you and the unit from overheating, however if it takes you a while to get to the source of your pain, a short auto shut down could be frustrating.
Some massagers are rechargeable making them handy to be used in the office or on the go, look closely at the length of time advertised when the product is fully charged.
Speed of Charge
You may also want to consider the speed at which the product goes from flat to fully charged, as that may be something that’s important to you.
If you’re wanting to take the massager on holiday or use it at work then a portable option might be the one you’re looking for, that is an appropriate size and lightweight.
You can also choose a massager for in the car, however this can only be used when stationary or as a passenger.
Memory / Recall
If your pain is hard to reach and you get the intensity just right it can be frustrating to have to go through the various settings each time. Memory / recall functions remember the intensity, speed and style of massage you enjoy which can be helpful day to day.
Using your device in your car, between meetings for example, might be important to you, so look for a massage cushion that comes complete with an in car charger.
Another extra that may be offered with your massage cushion is an instructional video. It may sound like just a nice-to-have but if you want to get the most from your product then it can be a handy extra.
Benefits of massage cushions
Massage cushions mimic the hands of a masseuse stimulating the muscles and nerve endings. Research has shown that massage therapy is an effective treatment for chronic neck pain, and a neck massager is essentially simulating this technique.
Massage cushions can also work well for shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is one of the most common pain complaints reported in the US, and by stimulating the muscles with a massager it is believed that this provides relief.
Whether you get a stiff neck occasionally or you suffer from chronic daily pain you’ll understand how uncomfortable it can be. It is believed that around 10% of the adult population are suffering from a stiff neck at any one time, with massagers being suggested as a natural way to treat the pain.
Muscle Pain / Tension
Tension in the muscles can also be relieved by a massage cushion whether in your neck, shoulders or back.
Migraine / Headache
Massage as a therapy is used both as a treatment and a preventative method. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache in the world, and often cause both neck and shoulder pain along with pain in the head.
Massage therapy can be an effective treatment for arthritis, however for certain forms of severe arthritis in can have a negative effective so it’s important to consult with your doctor.
Back Pain Relief
You might want to invest in a massage cushion for back pain. It stimulates circulation and relaxes stiff muscles and research proves that massage as a technique is very effective for short term relief from back pain.
Massage can release endorphins which relaxes the nervous system and create feel good hormones. Back massage in general has been shown to be a successful technique for the treatment of anxiety.
Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, a massage cushion can help to ease this compression. Massage chairs in particular are suggested as an effective treatment for those suffering from sciatica.
Muscle knots are when the muscle tightens or contracts even when they’re not being used, massage helps to relax the muscle, in turn helping to loosen the knot.
Buttocks / Glutes
Tight glutes can cause back pain, so buttock massage as a therapy can be effective to help relieve those tight muscles.
A number of massage cushions can be used on other parts of the body including your feet. Regular foot massage has been shown to help improve your circulation and release tense muscles.
Locations to use a massage cushion
There are a number of different places you can use your massage cushion, perhaps even places you hadn’t thought of!
If your back pain gives you difficulty at work then a massage cushion or chair pad attached to your office chair could provide you with real comfort.
Armchair / Couch
If you want to get comfortable there are a number of different massage cushions that will fit comfortably on your armchair and couch, so you can enjoy a massage whilst enjoying your favorite TV series!
On really bad days when the pain means you struggle to get out of bed, you can use a massage cushion in bed. If you want one particularly for this purpose then look for a massager that is the size and shape that will mould to your body effectively.
Car / Truck
Some massage cushions come with a car adapter allowing you to use your massager while you’re stationary in your car during breaks on a long journey, or mid travel if you’re a passenger.
What is a massage cushion?
A massage cushion is a device that comes in many different forms, it could be a seat pad or a handbag sized pillow that can fit in the small of your back. Essentially it mimics the hands of a masseuse to provide you with daily relief from pain.
What does a massage cushion do?
A massage cushion replicates a manual massage, stimulating your circulation and relaxing stiff muscles to give you daily relief from pain. Different massagers can target different areas and use different massage techniques and intensities.
How does a massage cushion work?
A massage cushion works through nodes or rollers that work to stimulate the muscles to relieve tension and improve circulation.
How long can you use a massaging cushion for?
Manuals for massager products vary a little in their advice, however overall the consensus seems to be that to avoid bruising your muscles it’s best to use a massage cushion for short periods of time, the suggestion being around 15 minutes. Many products come with an ‘auto-off’ feature that encourages you to limit your usage to the recommended time.
Can you drive while using a massage cushion?
Advice from product manuals indicates that it’s not advisable to use a car massage cushion whilst driving. However you can buy massage cushions for your car seat that you can use when stationary or whilst traveling as a passenger.
Can I use a massage cushion while pregnant?
It is always best to check with your doctor before using a massage cushion when pregnant as advice is mixed. Some advice suggests not using a massager in the first trimester, with others suggesting to avoid certain areas on your body so always check with a medical professional.
Can I use a massage cushion with a pacemaker?
Medtronic, one of the leading manufacturers of pacemakers states there is “No Known Risk” associated with their implanted heart devices and using a massage chair/pad if the item is used as intended and in good working condition, however it’s always best to check with your doctor and the manufacturer of your device.
Can I sleep on a massaging cushion?
No, prolonged use of a massager, such as when you’re asleep, can cause bruising of the muscles.
How do I choose a massage cushion?
Doing your research is important before you make a purchase to make sure you choose a massage cushion that will provide you with relief. If you want to see whether massage helps your pain before making a big investment then a simple massage cushion may give you an indication. Speaking to your doctor or a medical professional could help point you in the right direction, however hopefully by reviewing some of the features above you’ll have more of an idea of the massage pillow that is right for you.
How much does a massage cushion cost?
Massage cushions vary hugely in cost, ranging from around $30 up to $1000 and beyond so it’s certainly worth shopping around to find the best product for your budget. Entry level chair massage pads tend to be more expensive than entry level massage cushions, so if you just want something simple and affordable then a massage cushion might be the way to go.
We hope our roundup and reviews of the best massage cushions is helpful and puts you on the track to finding just the right product to give you relief from your pain.
- Miller, J (2016). Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good? [Online]. Available from: http://physioworks.com.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=30990 [Accessed 10 November 2017]. ↩
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006). QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Reporting Joint Pain or Stiffness, – National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2006 [Online]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5717a9.htm [Accessed 6 March 2018]. ↩
- Virtual Medical Centre (2015). Neck Pain [Online]. Available from: https://www.myvmc.com/diseases/neck-pain/ [Accessed 6 March 2018]. ↩
- The Migraine Trust (2018). Tension-type headache [Online]. Available from: https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/other-headache-disorders/tension-type-headache/ [Accessed 6 March 2018]. ↩
- Healthline (2018). How to Treat and Prevent Muscle Knots [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-knots [Accessed 6 March 2018]. ↩
- Harvard Medical School (2018). Foot massage: The pause that refreshes and is good for you! [Online]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/foot-massage-the-pause-that-refreshes-and-it-good-for-you [Accessed 6 March 2018]. ↩