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Homedics SBM-310P

By Staff writers | 10:13 am 06/02/2008

The Homedics Shiatsu+ Massage Cushion is a great device for relieving back, shoulder or lower back aches and pains in the comfort of your own home while you work, study, read, or simply watch TV. The beauty of this device is that you can use it on most chairs, thanks to a strapping device that allows you to fasten it to the back of most chairs. This strapping device ensures the cushion won’t slip or slide away while you are enjoying a massage. It’s not recommended to use it on wooden chairs, however, as the massaging mechanism could damage the timber and you should be careful using the device on upholstered chairs for similar reasons.

Setting up

You simply remove the massage cushion from its packaging and, using a supplied allen wrench, remove a screw from the back of the unit which was positioned to ensure the massaging mechanism doesn’t move during shipment. A tiny black plug is supplied, to place in the hole left by the removed screw, but this is a fiddly and tiny piece of rubber which, if you aren’t careful, goes missing under the couch. Homedics has advised that this plug is not integral to the working of the massager, thank goodness.

Homedics advises that failure to remove the screw could permanently damage the massaging cushion… so, in a nutshell, read the instruction manual and heed visual warnings! It is very hard to miss the clearly marked, bright yellow warning panel that tells you to remove the screw. Next, you simply plug in the power adaptor, attach your massage cushion to a chair using the handy velcro straps, switch it on (using a handheld controller) and away you go.

Features

The Shiatsu+ gives you a shiatsu-style, deep kneading, circular massage and you can select from three preset programs. The shiatsu massager’s dual mechanism travels up and down your back. You can choose from full, upper, or lower back shiatsu programs by pressing a button on the handheld controller which is attached to the right side of the cushion and an LED illuminates to confirm your program setting.

If you only want to ease the aches in a certain part of your back there’s the spot shiatsu option. When the unit is in shiatsu massage mode you can press either the up or down arrow marked ‘spot’. You adjust the mechanism’s position by holding the button down until you hit the right spot. Once you release the button, the mechanism stays in that place.

There’s another massage available on this device called a rolling massage. Rolling mimics the feeling of two hands or thumbs working up and down your spine. You can choose from three preset programs: upper, lower or full and you operate the handheld controller in the same way as when you are having a shiatsu.

When the unit is in the rolling massage setting, you may also adjust the distance or width between the massage heads. This is great for pinpointing sore spots as it adjusts the area that is being massaged, allows you to customize your massage.

Finally, on the seat you can enjoy an invigorating vibrating massage, choosing from low, medium or high intensities. It is very relaxing.

Homedics has included a 15-minute auto shut-off on the massage cushion, which is simply a precautionary inclusion for consumers that might fall asleep using the massage cushion. You can use the cushion for as long as you desire, simply by switching it back on. Ultimately, it’s about whether it feels right for your individual needs.

Performance

While no mechanical device will ever replace the experience of a real shiatsu massage, for $299 this product provides a comfortable, relaxing massage solution for those who want instant relief from aching muscles in the convenience of your own home. This product is all about customising the massage experience according to your personal needs.

You can feel the shiatsu mechanism working hard to access different points on your spine. Having a width adjustment feature available during the shiatsu cycle would be great for accessing hard to reach spots.

The spot mechanism in the shiatsu cycle is a very practical inclusion as you can continually massage a sore point for as long as it’s needed.

Having the handheld controller on the right side assumes every user is comfortable using their right hand to operate it so it would be nice to have a left handed option, or some way of relocating the controller to the left if required.

If you are looking for a more intense massage, you simply lift the protective flap on the chair.

Warranty

With this massage cushion you get a two-year limited warranty. If you experience a mechanical fault, you can return the device to the store where you bought it and a replacement unit will be supplied by Homedics. If, for example, your dog chews on the power cord and damages it beyond repair, or you want to replace the cushion’s removable flap, Homedics will charge a small fee (about $30 for a new adapter or around $10-15 for a new flap).

Conclusion

The Homedics Shiatsu+ Massaging Cushion (SBM-310P) provides a very satisfying way to relax and unwind at home for a reasonable $299. I think it would make an ideal Father’s Day or Mother’s Day present for Mums or Dads of any age.

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Price (RRP)

$299

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Fits most chairs, affordable at-home massage, spot massaging options, full, upper and lower massage settings, dual massage mechanisms

Product Cons

Right handed controller operation only

Ratings

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