Published on January 27th, 2006 | by Greg0
Personal massagers are becoming almost omnipresent- you can even buy them at some grocery stores now! Often they are simply vibrating motors put inside some packaging, usually cheap plastic, and aimed at use on airplanes or for gift-giving.
Conair's massagers are better- but still don't acheive results anywhere near a "real" massage. They aren't supposed to, despite claims like the "ancient healing theory" of magnets.
We tested the Body Benefits Neck Massager with Magnets and Heat ($40), and found it easy to use. The controls are simple, and it can even run on batteries. However, be warned- only the vibration function works if you try to use batteries, to get the benefits of heat you'll need to plug it in. Also, despite the claims of "ergonomic design", a few of our testers found it pretty uncomfortable- either it didn't fit snugly or (when using the included strap) made it hard to move your neck. Also, you can't comfortably use it lying down, or when seated in any high-backed chair. This model doesn't seem to be available any longer, replaced by models with "Sound Therapy" or a cold option.
We also tried out their Compact Heated Massager ($30), which was acceptable by any standards, not too heavy, reasonably comfortable to hold. As with many massage devices, you are offered either "Hi" or "Lo" speeds (sic), and the option of heat being on/off. It'd be nice to have greater control, but that would probably add to the cost.
The heat on both devices never got to a point that our personal massage therapist would consider truly therapeutic- it was definitely warm, but barely. Bottom line- vibrating massagers are cheap and easy- but certainly don't expect any significant results.