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Massage therapy can help reduce pain in the body. Massage cushions may be a beneficial way for a person to relieve pain in the back, shoulders, and neck.

Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria:

  • Budget: Products are suitable for a range of budgets.
  • Style of massage: Products offer different types of massages, such as shiatsu or a rolling massage.
  • Additional features: Products come with various features, such as variable speeds and automatic shut-off timers.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best rolling massager: HoMedics 2-in-1 Shiatsu Massage Cushion

This massage cushion provides deep shiatsu or rolling massage. People can choose to target a specific area of the body using the included remote control.

The 2-in-1 Shiatsu Massage Cushion is rechargeable and cordless. The company states it is suitable for use on the back, legs, thighs, and arms.

Additional features include:

  • a remote control for customization
  • optional heat and vibration in the lumbar area
  • variable speeds

Switching between shiatsu and rolling massage is one of the chief benefits of this massage cushion. Zone control through the handheld remote and rechargeable cordless technology are added pluses.

However, only the massage pillow is cordless, and some users found the chair did not fit their bodies.

Key product characteristics:

  • Price: $295
  • Weight: 17.55 lb.
  • Dimensions: 29.53” x 17.72” x 5.12”

Best heat and massage device: Snailax Memory Foam Massage Seat Cushion

This polyurethane memory foam massage cushion provides a vibrating massage.

According to the company, people can choose to target the upper, mid, or lower back, as well as the thighs and hips.

Additional features include:

  • six massage motors
  • four vibration intensities
  • three optional heat levels
  • an automatic shut-off function to prevent overheating
  • a nonslip base and elastic straps to adjust to any chair

The massage cushion also has memory foam padding for comfort.

However, there are some reports of units arriving broken or breaking within weeks. Additionally, some users found the massage pressure inadequate.

Key product characteristics:

  • Price: $69.99
  • Weight: 4.03 lb.
  • Dimensions: 1.57” x 18.5” x 42”

Best rechargeable device: Comfier Cordless Back Massager

This cordless back massager provides a deep shiatsu massage. It has a rechargeable battery and is small and lightweight.

The company states that the battery lasts approximately 70 minutes.

Other features of this product include:

  • 12 massage nodes and two rotation modes
  • two levels of intensity
  • an optional heat function with a 15 minute switch-off safety mode
  • a carry handle to enable portability

This massage cushion is cordless and rechargeable, making it very portable. Additionally, people can use it on different body parts, from the shoulders to the legs.

According to customers, some negatives include being unable to change the heating setting or extend it past 15 minutes. Some users also found the cushion uncomfortable, and there are reports of some cushions malfunctioning upon or shortly after receipt.

Key product characteristics:

  • Price: $104.99
  • Weight: 7.95 lb.
  • Dimensions: 19” x 14.5” x 6”

Best smartphone-controlled device: HoMedics Perfect Touch Masseuse Heated Massage Cushion

This massage cushion provides a deep kneading shiatsu massage, rolling or percussion massage, or a combination of both.

People can control the product via the HoMedic smartphone app.

Additional features include:

  • adjustable height
  • optional heat
  • a strapping system to fit most chairs
  • a retractable cord for storage

This product’s strengths include four different massage styles. Additionally, people can control and manage their massage experience using their smartphone.

It is also heavier than most massage cushions, making it harder to move around and store. It may not be suitable for short people. And some users received defective, repackaged units.

Key product characteristics:

  • Price: $379.99 from Amazon, $429.99 from HoMedics
  • Weight: 26.95 lb.
  • Dimensions: 34.63” x 10.13” x 20.5”

Best portable: Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat

This massage cushion was designed to provide users with a relaxing, pain-relieving massage at work, at home, in the car, or on the go. It is cordless and rechargeable, with a 70-minute charge requiring only 2 ½ hours of charging. The neck pillow also comes with a car charger.

A strapping system helps users secure the massage cushion on most chairs.

It has three massage zones, four traveling deep kneading massage nodes, and a detachable intensity flap for those who prefer a more gentle massage. The seat area of the massage cushion can vibrate at three different speeds. The heat option warms the shiatsu balls, which Snailax claims increases circulation and helps muscles relax.

The pros of this product are its three massage zones, four traveling deep kneading massage nodes, heat with an automatic “off” to prevent overheating, and its easy portability.

The cons include some users finding the massage function too rough, plus reports of loud noises in some massage modes and some problems with product quality.

Key product characteristics:

  • Price: $129.99
  • Weight: 8.14 lb.
  • Dimensions: 40” x 16”

Best vibration only: FiveS F8816 Massage Seat Cushion with Heat

This massage cushion provides vibration-style massages. It has 10 motors, optional heat, and can massage the shoulders, back, lower back, and thighs.

The heat setting is independent of the massage function, so people can use this product as a heating pad. The heating element runs through the back and the seat of the cushion. It has overheating protection and an automatic 30-minute shut-off.

This massage cushion has three levels of intensity, four different massage programs, and four massage zones. A hand control unit allows users to select the massage option that best meets their needs.

For some, the vibration-only action of this massage cushion is one of its biggest benefits. Other positives are the heat function, the different massage programs, and the cushion size.

For others, the vibration-only action is a drawback. Additionally, a person must plug in the cushion to use it. Some users found the vibrations too strong while others found them too gentle. Other complaints include poor product quality and loud noise during operation.

Key product characteristics:

  • Price: $69.99
  • Weight: 4 lb.
  • Dimensions: 43” x 19” x 2”

The table below compares the products in this article on key features:

Type of
massage
HeatWeightDimensionsPrice
HoMedics
2-in-1
Shiatsu or
rolling
Yes17.55 lb.29.53” x
17.72” x
5.12”
$295
Snailax
Memory Foam
Vibration onlyYes4.03 lb.1.57” x
18.5” x
42”
$69.99
ComfierShiatsu rollerYes7.95 lb.19” x
14.5” x
6”
$104.99
HoMedics
Perfect Touch
VariousYes26.95 lb.34.63” x
10.13” x
20.5”
$379.99
Snailax
Shiatsu
Shiatsu and
vibration
Yes8.14 lb.40” x
16”
$129.99
Five SVibration onlyYes4 lb.43” x
19” x
2”
$69.99

When choosing a massage cushion, people may wish to consider the type of massage they are looking for. For example, some people may find a deep tissue massage shiatsu massage too intense.

People should also consider which additional features they may enjoy, such as rechargeable batteries, different massage levels, optional heat functions, and more.

There are several alternatives if a person does not want to purchase a massage cushion.

Some people may prefer massage guns, which are small handheld devices. With these, people can target a wider range of body parts, making them popular with athletes for post-workout recovery. They are typically similar in price to massage cushions.

Learn more about massage guns here.

Some people may prefer to invest in a massage chair. These are typically more expensive than massage cushions but target more areas of the body at once.

Learn more about massage chairs here.

People may consider finding a local masseuse. According to the NCCIH, 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia regulate massage therapy. Masseuses in these states must have a license or certification to practice massage. People should only make an appointment with a certified masseuse.

If a person experiences muscle aches and pains that do not go away or get worse, they should contact a doctor who can help make a diagnosis and suggest treatment.

Massage therapy involves manipulating the body’s soft tissues to relieve pain from sore and aching muscles. There are many different types of massage, including classical and shiatsu.

Learn more about massage therapy here.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) explains that massage may only provide short-term relief for those with:

The NCCIH also notes that massage therapy can reduce pain, anxiety, and depression in people with chronic conditions, such as cancer and fibromyalgia.

One 2015 review suggests massage can provide short-term pain relief in people with musculoskeletal pain. The review also found massage helped relieve pain, compared with no treatment. However, researchers note the studies in the systematic review only provided low or moderate-quality evidence.

A 2020 study found that vagus and shoulder massage reduce stress and increase relaxation in a laboratory setting. The researchers state, however, that more studies are necessary to determine which type of massage promotes the most relaxation.

Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about massage cushions.

What is a massage cushion?

A massage cushion is a device that stimulates muscle movement and blood circulation.

These devices may be helpful for those who experience aches and pains in the back, neck, or shoulders.

How much does a massage cushion cost?

The price typically ranges from $70-400.

More expensive devices may have additional features, such as variable speeds and massage options.

Can people who are pregnant use massage cushions?

There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that massage cushions are not safe for pregnant people.

However, if a person finds a massage cushion uncomfortable or painful, they should stop using it.

Can people with a pacemaker use a massage cushion?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), massage chairs and pads may pose a small risk to people with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

Massage chairs and pads may produce electromagnetic waves that interfere with these devices. If someone experiences any interference with their ICD or pacemaker when using massage chairs or pads, they should turn off the device immediately.

Massages may provide short-term relief for people with back, shoulder, or neck pain. Massage cushions may come with additional features, such as variable speeds and different types of massages.

These devices are usually suitable for most people. However, those who find them uncomfortable or have an ICD or pacemaker may want to consider alternative massage therapies.