How to buy a Shiatsu massager?

What is a shiatsu massager?

Shiatsu massaging is a technique that originated in Japan, and it has been globally popular since the 1970s.

Over the years, this technique has found its way into several massagers. Shiatsu literally translates into ‘finger pressure,’ and this technique has been incorporated into seat and cushion massagers amongst many others. The Shiatsu seat and cushion massagers focus on loosening the muscles and straightening the tendons. Designed to replicate the traditional Shiatsu massaging technique, they are considered ideal for stressed-out office employees, sports people, and elders.

How does it work?

Shiatsu massagers use rollers and nodes that knead or roll on your back and neck muscle. They replicate the movement and pressure of a human hand. Sometimes heat is generated to help loosen the muscle and knots.

Some shiatsu massagers will simply use 2 rotating nodes while more sophisticated products will have multiple rollers or nodes going up and down the spine. Some products can even scan the body and adapt to its physiology.

What are the benefits?

The Shiatsu cushion massagers allows you to experience a massage close to a proper professional massage therapy every day, and at any time.

For the cost of one or two professional massages, you can afford a massager than can be used indefinitely.

A Shiatsu Massager is ideal for:

  • Relaxation:
    • Eliminates stress and releases tension accumulated after a day of work
    • Restores and maintains the body’s energy. It is particularly efficient for people suffering from fatigue. Using a shiatsu massager before going to bed will relax the body and prepare it for a full night of sleep
    • Reduces anxiety
  • Pain Management
    • Improves blood circulation
    • Helps the healing of sprains and similar injuries
    • Provides relief from headaches
    • Reduces problems of stiff neck and shoulders
    • Helps managing back pains and sciatica
    • Helps users suffering from arthritis

Type of Shiatsu massagers

The shiatsu massagers come in a large variety of shapes and forms, but they can be classified as such:

  • Back and Neck massagers:

These massagers are designed exclusively to massage these areas of the body as they allow you to reach spots that wouldn't be reached with self massage. Most of the time the device needs to be moved manually to the area that requires the massage.

Price range: From $60 to $130


  • Foot and Calf massagers:

This product is designed to provide a full foot and calf massage. Some can even be uysed in a lying position.

Price range: From $60 to $200

  • Seat covers:

These massager give a full back and neck massage and can be use anywhere as soon as a seat or couch is available. They provide a similar experience as a massage chair, but for a fraction of the cost

Price range:  From $200 to $500

  • Massage chairs:

These chairs provide are the most advance and the most comfortable massagers you can find. They provide a full body massage experience and come with a plethora of functionalities and  options.

Price range: From $1 000 to $10 000

Things to Consider before Buying

If you whish to invest in a Shiatsu massager, it is important to look after the following features:

Massaging Parts

The advantage of opting for a Shiatsu seat massager is the availability of different styles. In addition, it is advisable to opt for a product that does not limit its focus to the back alone. The Shiatsu massager should be capable of even catering to arm, wrist, legs, and calf. The higher end products even come with a massage head that mimics the thumb actions of a masseur.

Availability of Multiple Programs

Most powered Shiatsu massagers come with predefined programs designed to target specific parts of the body. While advanced users will be keen on a customisation feature, newcomers will certainly appreciate the presence of multiple programs – like rolling massage, targeted massage, and Shiatsu massage – designed for targeting each part of the body.


Some Shiatsu massagers like pillows provide more portability than a seat cover. Some of the expensive foot and calf massagers are also difficult to move around.

Battery or Plugs

Shiatsu massagers which come with batteries usually last around 2 to 3 hours on a single charge. While products that run on electricity are convenient for longer usage, aspects like the length of the power cord may restrict their usage.

Customisation of Rollers

Basic version of massagers come with a couple of nodes and rollers, while the higher end products offer multiple rollers. Further, these rollers can also be adjusted to achieve a high degree of customisation to suit the user. The adjustments can be made with regard to the width of the rollers or the direction of movement. High-end products offer a scan function to automatically adjust the rollers.

Quality of Upholstery

The quality of the upholstery used in a massager is a least-mentioned feature. However, it becomes extremely important for someone who intends to use the Shiatsu seat massagers quite frequently. Upholstery assumes greater significance in massagers that have heating functionalities.

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