I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't care for the massage chairs at the mall. Even when I've tried one out that is worth thousands of dollars it just seemed to hurt my back more than help. However, when I stood up my back felt better but the actual process was pretty painful. I have also tried several versions of massage pads that work either in the car or just on a regular arm chair.

The less expensive versions all had the same problems in common. The pads and even the more expensive chairs didn't reach up all the way to the neck. Plus, there really wasn't any actually kneading going on in just the plain massage pads. Instead, it was just a vibration which was more annoying than healing.

The other reason I didn’t have a massage chair was just the expense. It would have been the most expensive item in my home, but for all of the back pain I was suffering it might have been worth it. The other really big negative was that it just didn’t match the overall style of my decor. These chairs usually are black leather and very modern looking and wouldn’t fit in my Southwest home at all. I didn’t want it to notify guests immediately that I have back pain.

So when I got the Homedics Shiatsu Plus Vibration Massage Pillow for Christmas I was somewhat doubtful. I had no idea that it would quickly become one of my most prized possessions. One of the best things about it that makes it completely different than any of the other options was that it was portable so it would work well for both the shoulders and the neck. Plus, it was fairly economical and you can find it between $30-$50. (Yes, I looked up the price of a present). You'll need to read the instruction booklet because it cautions you not to use it for more than fifteen minutes at a time and if you have certain medical conditions.

Some of the positives to the Homedics massage pillow are that it's surprisingly strong and the shiatsu feature makes all the difference. There are three different settings, one with the shiatsu massage, one with shiatsu and vibration, and one with just plain vibration. However, you can't adjust the strength of the actual massage although the instruction manual recommends putting a towel on it if it's too strong. There is also a heated option as well. Overall if you can’t afford a more expensive massage chair, as far as portable versions go this works great.