A massage can help relief muscle pain and tension. For those who exercise, a massage can also improve circulation, reduce muscle soreness and help remove waste products such as lactic acid. It also feels good and lets you relax, after a long work day!
Made by healthcare company TruMedic, the InstaShiatsu+ massager promises to be your always-own personal massager at home, without the hassle or expense of paying a professional.
Does it fulfill its promise?
I bought it with my own money, and I have no relationship with the company. I consider this as a fair and honest review.
I have not done prior research and did not know this kind of machine existed. I was using a self myofascial release foam roller previously. It’s a foam cylinder you roll through your lower back or legs. I am running (and cycling) intensively and the idea of massager immediately interested me. Those who are sedentary or who never have any sore muscles might not be.
The InstaShiatsu+ massager has circular massage nodes, simulating the fingers and hands of a shiatsu massager. Two of those work in tandem, rotating at a gentle speed. The massager can also heat the massaging area. You can slip your hands through wrist supports to get deep massaging.
See how the massaging nodes work:
The device comes with a packing bag for travel, and also has lithium batteries for stand-alone operation. In my experience, the batteries last about half an hour, more than enough for a full body massage.
The optimal massage for the device is the neck area. The effect is soothing. I close my eyes and soon, I also feel the gentle heat. It just feels good!
Since I need a massager after a run, I then massage my back, quads, hamstrings and hip adductors, calves, feet. The handling is less optimal. Since you cannot use the wrist support anymore, I either push on the device to get deep pressure, or I let my leg weight do the job. Each area takes around four minutes. If you find a tight spot, you can spend more time and efforts on that point.
Being optimized for the neck, the massager is awkward for the back or smaller areas like the feet. I would love a version that can be shortened or extended in the middle.
Overall, it’s easy to use and relaxing. Actually, I often watch Netflix on the couch while using it.
Does it work?
I am positive the massager reduces muscle soreness. After a hard run, I might experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) for two, three or more days. DOMS means debilitating pain and weakness. Walking down stairs is tricky and involves putting my weight on the handrail. Muscles are stiff. I find a good session with the massager, with other techniques, let me know shorten the recovery to a day or so. This means less pain, and also being able to continue with another workout sooner than planned.
Another positive effect is relaxation. After a workout, there is a lot of adrenaline and restlessness. The massager is a clear sign to the body to calm down and prepare for recovery sleep. Relaxation is often overlooked in our busy lives. This can help you.
I also had a painful cycling crash a month ago. I knew the pain could inhibit recovery, later restricting movement and range of motion. The massager can reduce muscle pain, and get out of the stress dominated state.
If you are exercising often or if you are stressed, I would therefore recommend the InstaShiatsu+ neck and back massager. I haven’t used the foam roller since. I bought it for $120 at Costco, and I have not seen any defects in two months of operation. A daily massage from a professional would have cost a fortune, while this lets you relax in the comfort of your home. There are also many cheaper variants on Amazon. Just search for “shiatsu massager” and you will find a good deal.
On a finishing note, I would highly recommend to consult a professional massage therapist if you have acute muscle pain, or if you have muscle pain lasting for several days. A massager like this doesn’t know trigger points or knowledge of human anatomy. You can injure yourself if you put too much pressure or do not listen to your body!