This $50 heated massager is the perfect antidote to carrying around a heavy backpack — it relieves my shoulder and back tension
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- I recently purchased the InvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager with Heat from Amazon for $50, and it is a game changer for anyone like me who struggles with back and neck pain on a daily basis.
- My life is very different now that I get daily, professional-grade massages. If I were to visit a masseuse that regularly in New York City, I’d be down close to $100 per week at minimum.
- What makes this at-home massager even better than going to a professional, however, is that you remain in total control as you use it.
- This massager also has a timer, so it automatically shuts off every 15 minutes.
As a freelancer in New York City, I’m regularly hauling around a backpack filled with my computer, its charger, a work book, a fun book, hand sanitizer, a water bottle, a just-in-case umbrella, and about 14 inkless pens. My bag not only burdens my back, but it also strains my neck, shoulders, legs, and arms as I contort my body to fit into crowded subways and carry it in one hand while the other roots around for an elusive, working pen. Then when I arrive at my destination, I sit down and type for hours, hunching over my laptop like Golem guarding his precious.
None of this activity helps ease my back pain. After I tried repeatedly to hand-massage myself for relief (about as satisfying as scratching that itch at the middle of your back), my friend whose job entails a lot of upper body work let me try her at-home shiatsu back, neck, and shoulder massager with heat. I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. I immediately went home and ordered my own off of Amazon for $50.
Those times when I’ve tried to get a knot out of my upper back by using the edge of a door frame? This kneading massager from InvoSpa is infinitely more effective in its ability to dig deep into my muscles, relaxing tensions I barely even knew I had. Its pack-like shape – featuring two straps you can slip your arms through while positioning dual massagers comfortably on your neck, back, or shoulders – mimics that of my backpack, allowing me to hit all the sore spots that wearing my bag daily creates.
The apparatus has a groove for your neck, with one massager on either side, each consisting of four, rotating nodes. The four larger nodes loosen up your muscles while the four smaller nodes really get in there, tackling the most stubborn knots. Four controllers on one strap let you turn the massagers off and on, change the direction of the rotation, alter the speed, and switch on and off the heat, respectively. I find that the direction of the nodes changes regularly enough, so I end up pressing the heat button most. Using heat at the start of the massage helps relax my muscles before I apply more pressure for heavy kneading, at which point I turn the heat off.
I mentioned that this massager has changed my life, and it’s true – my life is very different now that I get daily, professional-grade massages. If I were to visit a masseuse that regularly in New York City, I’d be down close to $100 per week at minimum.
What makes this at-home massager even better than going to a professional, however, is that you remain in total control as you use it.
The straps make it very easy to manipulate its position, letting you reach the nagging sore parts that are nearly impossible to explain to other people (“No, a little more to the left…”). And even though it’s called a “back, neck, and shoulder massager,” it feels amazing on the soles of my (clean) feet.
However, you can’t use the massager on any old body part. I learned this the hard way. The manual warns you’re not supposed to put it on “joints and bony parts of the body,” which I didn’t read until after I’d ended up with some sore knees joints – a fate people who read manuals (or this article) can easily avoid. As with all massagers, it’s also not good for you to use it for too long. Luckily, this one has a timer, so it automatically shuts off every 15 minutes.
This massager’s only other minor downside is that it has to be plugged into the wall to work. That being said, the cord is plenty long. I’ve never had a hard time getting it to my couch, bed, or desk chair, some of which are closer to outlets than others. Impressively, it’s still portable. It comes with a car plug and a convenient, handheld case.
Even if you don’t lug around a full backpack every day and hunch over your computer, doing any kind of physical work, exercising, or even just experiencing stress can lead to tight, painful muscles. I use my at-home massager both after work and after runs, and I’d highly recommend others do the same. It’s giving me a foot massage right now.