If you have neck, back, or shoulder pain or tension, please raise your hand (or just nod).
Now step away from your computer if you can afford a massage every day.
For those who are still reading, I’ve got a challenge for you.
It’s called the i-need® Neck and Shoulder Pro Massager with Heat from Brookstone ($99.95, plus tax and shipping), and it is not for the faint-hearted. Unlike other namby-pamby neck massagers, this one must be plugged into the wall. No batteries will suffice. That fact alone should give you an idea of its potential.
The tagline for the device is: “Deep, heated relief for hard-to-reach neck, shoulder and back muscles.” The description reads: “Wrap the massager comfortably around your neck, then choose from Energize, Pulse or Soothe pre-programmed massage settings or low, medium, high intensity – with or without heat in the front. Use the handles to easily move the massager up and down your back to target problem spots, or snap in place for convenient hands-free operation.”
I first came across this little wonder in an airport after a long business trip. My neck was killing me, and I was desperate for something that actually made a dent in my pain. I hadn’t yet made the i-need’s acquaintance, and foolishly set it to “Energize” right there in the store. A fellow shopper came across me giggling in shock as the thing pummeled my back. After I regained my composure, I switched the setting to “Low” and turned on the heat. As the description promises, the device is programmed to deliver random, pulsating massage, combined with heat.
The i-need is not for everyone. Brookstone cautions that it’s not for “any individual who may be pregnant, has a pacemaker, suffers from diabetes, phlebitis and/or thrombosis, is at an increased risk of developing blood clots, or who has pins/screws/artificial joints or other medical devices.” It’s none too travel friendly, as it must be plugged into the wall and it’s rather heavy (it’s weighted so it doesn’t topple off your back when set to the more intensive modes). Even the lower settings might be too intense for folks who are a little more fragile. I am definitely too fragile for the "Energize" and "High" modes.
But. For those up to the challenge, this is hands-down – and hands-free – the best massager I’ve found so far.