Per Rawlins, similar to massage chairs and massage guns, massage cushions can often be helpful in reducing mild muscle-related pain and stiffness. “The combination of heat and vibration that most massage cushions offer can help to increase blood flow and ease tension in the muscles and tissues that could be contributing to your pain,” she shares. In fact, a recent study found that even just ten minutes of massage therapy can increase relaxation4.
While these cushions can offer great relief, it’s important not to overdo it. Kevin Cronin, PT, ATC, JSCC, owner of ARC Physical Therapy, often cautions clients about improper or overuse of massage cushions. “Using massage cushions, even high-quality, expert-recommended models can lead to injuries like bruising, sore muscles, tenderness and even nerve damage,” he says. Because of this, he points out that you should never simply turn the cushion on and forget about it. “Look for models that have an off-and-on type of application to avoid injury and limit sessions to 20 to 30 minutes at a time,” he suggests. With this in mind, we prioritized massage cushions that turn off automatically after a certain amount of time.
Cronin also advises evaluating how you feel the day after your first use, before starting up the cushion again. “It may feel good when you’re using it, but the next day could be a different story,” he explains. “And as always, if you have any pain, swelling, discomfort, or your ailment gets worse, stop using it and talk to your physician or physical therapist. You can buy the best massage cushion in the world, but if it’s making your pain worse, it’s useless.”