I love a good massage – the kind that somewhat hurts, really – so much so that I regularly see a massage therapist. But it’s not a cheap exercise to do this fortnightly, nor is it something I can do right now living in Sydney. However, recently I was sent the Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager.
I know these types of devices aren’t new – hell, I’ve given my mum some kind of new massage device iteration every Mother’s Day since 2008. Not to mention, massage guns are all the rage right now too. But while I’ll be the first to admit the massage gun from this very same brand is amazing (it’s sold out now, anyway), it does take some manual effort. They don’t call them handheld massagers for no reason.
Naipo Back and Neck Massager
WHAT IS IT?
The reason I'm dumping my massage therapist
Lazy person's dream, three differing speeds, heat function, car-compatible, affordable
Bulky, not portable
The reason I like this shiatsu device is that I don’t have to use my hands, and can even multitask. But that’s just one of the reasons. Keep reading to see if this might too be your jam.
It’s basically a whole-body massager
Yes, back and neck massages are generally what we need and crave, but the good thing about the Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager is that you can plop it anywhere (your lap, your bum?) and it’ll do the lord’s work. Just check this guy out from the Amazon model shots, for example, who just stunningly illustrates the diversity of the tool:
What this also means is that you can sneakily cop a massage while you work, which is something my massage therapist could never, and will never, be able to do.
Speed, function and nodes
There are four buttons on the arm of the device. These include:
Power: To turn on and off.
Arrows: To change the direction of the nodes, from clockwise to counterclockwise and vice versa.
Three red wavy lines: To turn on or off the heat activation.
Three ascending straight lines: To turn up, or down, the speed between low, medium and high.
There’s no way I could fill the massage therapist-shaped hole in my life right now unless this device could make me moan. And it does. Once on, there are three massage speed levels (low, medium and high), which you toggle between by pressing the button with three straight lines.
The pressure on all three is relatively the same, it just feels wilder the higher you go. I pop this one on high when I want to finish up feeling a good kind of violated. It gets in there real good, thanks to the eight deep-kneading Shiatsu massaging nodes. It does hit different to a set of two hands, but that’s up to you when it comes to which you prefer. The circular motions of the device are pure bliss to me, personally.
Then there’s a massage direction button (the circulating arrows) that allows you to change from clockwise to counterclockwise and vice versa. However, the nodes transition to the opposite direction after about a minute of massaging regardless, which is a nice mix-up and helps you to endure the massage even longer.
The last button, although red, is possibly the best one. The three red-wave labelled button is a heat function going up to 40 degrees Celcius, and I felt noticeably warmer within around 30 seconds. It’s a real added bonus for winter. It automatically shuts down after 20 minutes.
Naipo Back and Neck Massager Design
The Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager isn’t dainty by any means. In fact, all those nodes mean that it’s quite chunky and appears to the untrained eye as an extra-bulky fanny pack.
It comes in a U-shape so you can put your hands through the straps to either side for a firmer massage, or simply just to hold in some situations, like on the top of your shoulders (it’ll fall off otherwise).
That being said, you don’t even need the straps for massages on the likes of your lap, lower and mid-back if, like me, you like a massage while you work. I also think the chunkiness has worked really well for my posture. It creates a space between you and your chair when using it on your lower or mid-back areas, meaning you have no choice but to sit upright.
Charging and noise
It’s not loud, but it’s not completely silent either. When I used it sitting at my desk, with music on the speakers at an acceptable volume, I had to hold it up to my ear before I could hear a thing. So using it while watching TV? You’re sweet. Using it while presenting a Zoom presentation? Maybe not.
When it comes to charging, it needs to be plugged into work which is a bit of a drag. The cord’s a decent length but could definitely do with a few more inches, and I wish that didn’t sound like a euphemism but here we are.
It also comes with a car-compatible charger which is a really great feature. Have you ever had to wait half an hour out the front of someone’s house for someone who said they were ready but clearly weren’t ready? Same. This is good for that, you’ve just got to remember to bring it along for the ride, literally.
Things to keep in mind
Like getting a crappy massage at a parlour or otherwise, improper use could cause harm. If your back (or other areas) are really problematic, you should consult a doctor. My back felt lighter, looser and more upright after just a few minutes, but that doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for you.
The straps are kind of annoying and weird for certain parts of your body, but also super necessary for other parts of your body. For the parts, you do need to hold the straps for, multi-tasking’s out – unless you count watching TV while copping a massage multitasking.
It’s quite bulky and heavy, meaning it’s not really something you’d put in your overnight bag, but, as I said earlier, I think the bulk is also what makes it so effective.
The manual suggests that you rest the product for 30 minutes after using it for 20 minutes. To be fair, I’ve never used it that long at once because of how deep it gets, and quick. There’s no build-up like there is with my dearly beloved massage therapist.
Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager Price
The Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager is $59.99 over at Amazon. This is cheaper than going to a massage parlour for an hour. One big difference though – you don’t have to pay for the massage device every time you and your bits need some love.