Best Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders 2018

Best Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders 2018

In Massage Chairs by Consumer FilesLast Updated: July 13th, 2018

Ratings for Top Pick - Panasonic EP MA73

  • Ease of Use
  • Overall Massage Quality
  • Customization Options
  • Value for the Money

Summary

The Panasonic EP MA73 has some of the most advanced massage technology on the market, and for the price, you’d expect it to. But where the Panasonic EP MA73 really excels is in its neck and shoulder massage. Thanks to its advanced roller technology that extends the rollers over the tops of your shoulders, its neck and shoulder automatic program, its neck stretch program, and its heated massage rollers, the EP MA73 is our pick for the best massage chair for neck and shoulders.

4.6

If you’re looking for the best massage chair for neck and shoulders, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the top five massage chairs that excel in these areas. Plus, we break the massage chairs down into categories to further help you decide which is the best for you. So whether you’re looking for the overall best massage chair for neck and shoulders, the most affordable option, or the most feature-rich model, you’ll find what you’re looking for below. Let’s get started!

Panasonic EP MA73

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Inada DreamWave

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Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer

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Infinity IT 8500

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Human Touch HT-7120

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PROS

  • 3D rollers
  • Heated massage rollers
  • Advanced roller technology that extends rollers over tops of shoulders
  • Heat therapy under feet
  • Self-adjusting arm massagers
  • Full-body air massage (33 airbags)
  • Comfortable sitting chair
  • 3D rollers
  • Neck traction device
  • Full-body air massage (100 airbags)
  • Proprietary DreamWave seat technology
  • Over 1200 square inches of massage coverage
  • Most auto programs of any chair on our list
  • Back and seat vibration
  • 3D rollers
  • Foot rollers
  • Heat therapy for shoulders
  • Zero Gravity
  • Chromotherapy lights
  • Music system
  • Vibration massage
  • Full-body air massage (48 airbags)
  • Foot rollers
  • Zero Gravity recline
  • Spinal (posture) correction technology
  • Neck rotation pillow
  • Music system
  • Heat therapy for lower back
  • Seat swivel technology
  • Full-body air massage (38 airbags)
  • Adaptive Comfort Control technology for intensity adjustments
  • FigureEight CirQlation paddle massage for calves and feet
  • Rotating and retractable legrest
  • Heat therapy for lower back
  • Comfortable sitting chair
  • Calf width adjustments

CONS

  • No foot rollers
  • No Zero Gravity
  • Expensive
  • No foot rollers
  • No Zero Gravity
  • Most expensive chair on the list
  • No space-saving technology
  • ​2D rollers
  • No space-saving technology
  • No arm massage
  • Short massage track (25 inches)
  • No air massage
  • No Zero Gravity
  • Calf or foot massage (not both)

OUR VERDICT

The best overall massage chair for neck and shoulders.

A great (but very expensive) all-around massage chair that excels at neck and shoulder massage.

The most feature-rich massage chair that also provides a quality neck and shoulder massage.

The most popular Infinity model that provides a powerful neck and shoulder massage, although it lacks 3D rollers.

A great roller massage chair that will provide a vigorous neck and shoulder massage — with few additional features.

Massage Track Style

S-Track

S-Track

S-Track

S-Track

S-Track

2D or 3D rollers?

3D

3D

3D

2D

2D/3D since the chair has intensity adjustments

Body Scan Technology

Zero Gravity

Full Body Air Massage

Calf Rollers

(paddle massager)

Foot Rollers

(paddle massager)

Heat Therapy

(heated rollers and foot heat)

(lower back and seat)

(shoulders)

(lower back)

(lower back)

Number of automatic programs

7

16

8

4

3

Number of automatic programs

7

7

6

6

5

Best Overall Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders: Panasonic MA73

The best overall massage chair for neck and shoulders is the Panasonic MA73 — hands down. Why? Allow us to explain.

3D Roller Technology

The Panasonic MA73 has quad rollers — two sets of two — that not only move up and down and side to side but also outward. This outward movement determines how deep the rollers penetrate into your muscles, which determines the intensity of your massage.

With this feature alone you're already guaranteed a better massage than what you'd get from a 2D massage chair simply because you have more control over the rollers.

On the Panasonic MA73, the rollers are powered by advanced technologies and components that produce four major benefits:

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  • Gliding rollers. A high-performance brushless motor allows the rollers to seamlessly glide across your back — reducing roller resistance or “snag.”
  • Intensity Sensor. An intelligent intensity sensor automatically adjusts massage pressure for optimal comfort.
  • Intuitive Microprocessor. High-speed processing gives the rollers a high degree of precision and responsiveness to perform intricate massage techniques.
  • Wide Neck and Shoulder Range. The rollers extend outward up to 4.9 inches to provide deep tissue treatment to stiff and sore muscles. The massage range covers 8.25 inches horizontally and 30.75 inches vertically.

The rollers also have another trick: when rolling up your back toward your neck, instead of simply going straight up, when they reach your shoulders, they extend outward to massage your neck, the tops of your shoulders, and various parts of your trapezius muscle.

Its thumb-like rollers actually grab your neck and roll across the tops of your shoulders. This technology is developed and owned by Panasonic, so no other massage chairs feature it.

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Junetsu Ultra Kneading

Another piece of proprietary technology only found on Panasonic massage chairs is Junetsu Ultra Kneading. This massage technique allows the rollers to perform small, calculated circular movements to really target and work out the knots.

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Heated Jade Stone Rollers

Did we mention the rollers are heated? On the Panasonic MA73, the rollers are made of jade stones which can be heated. The heated rollers mimic the feeling of a hot stone massage and the warmth of a masseuse's hands. Also, it helps to “warm up” the muscles for a deeper, more effective massage.

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Neck and Shoulder Automatic Programs

For those times when you want to sit back, relax, and let the chair do all the work, the Panasonic MA73 has an automatic program dedicated specifically to the neck and shoulders. It's called Neck and Shoulders.

The program starts with rolling, shiatsu, kneading and Junetsu massages on the neck followed by a neck stretch. Next, the rollers knead, roll, and perform Junetsu massage on the shoulders, followed by a chest stretch.

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Then, the rollers move back to the neck to knead and perform Junetsu massage. Finally, the program ends with another neck stretch and rolling down the back.

In addition to its automatic programs, the Panasonic MA73 also features additional stretch-specific programs that treat certain body areas including the neck.

During the Neck Stretch program, the airbags in the seat inflate to lift the body. Then, they slowly deflate while the rollers gently hold the neck to provide a lengthening stretch to the neck and upper back.

Neck and Shoulder Manual Massage

But if you want total control over your neck and shoulder massage, the Panasonic MA73 gives you lots of manual massage options. These options let you customize settings like roller location, massage technique, and intensity among others.

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Let's illustrate what that looks like:

Let’s say you have neck pain, but don’t want to use the auto program. First, you’d select the location you want the rollers to focus, so select “Neck” from the remote.

Then, using a set of arrows, you’d choose a massage technique — Junetsu ultra kneading, shiatsu, kneading, Swedish, rolling, or tapping.

Next, you’d adjust the massage intensity (up to five levels depending on the massage action) or add additional massage features like shoulder air massage or back heat. Then, you'd keep making adjustments until you find the right combination of settings.

Once you have all your manual massage settings dialed-in, you can save them with the Panasonic MA73’s memory feature. Therefore, you won't have to reselect them each time you use the chair.

Feature Highlights of the Panasonic EP MA73

Sure, you could select the Panasonic MA73 for its neck and shoulder features alone, but it’s also one of the best all-around massage chairs. Here’s a look at some of the other features that make the Panasonic MA73 the excellent massage chair that it is:

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  • Body scan technology for a custom-fit massage
  • Full-body air massage with 33 airbags that treat the shoulders, arms, hands, seat, hips, IT bands (outer thighs), calves and feet.
  • Pop-up self-adjusting arm massagers that move with the chair as it reclines
  • Luxury recliner aesthetics, a comfortable sitting chair when not in use
  • Rotatable and retractable ottoman
  • Heat therapy pads in the ottoman under the feet
  • Voice guidance system that walks you through the chair’s functions
  • Seven automatic massage programs
  • Seven massage techniques
  • Four stretch programs for specific body areas
  • Shiatsu nodes for foot massage
  • LCD remote with pedestal stand
  • Five-year limited warranty
  • Can comfortably fit tall users

To learn more about the features of the Panasonic MA73, check out our full review.

Most Expensive Best Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders: Inada DreamWave

Inada left no stone unturned when they designed the DreamWave — the first real full-body massage chair — and that includes neck and shoulder massage. While it’s true that the Inada DreamWave is one of the most expensive massage chairs (and the most expensive on our list), it’s also one of the best.

Let’s take a look at why the Inada DreamWave is one of the best massage chairs for neck and shoulders.

Neck Traction Device

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While the Panasonic MA73 treats the neck with advanced roller technology, the Inada DreamWave takes a different approach — its proprietary Cervical Neck Traction Device. If you suffer from neck or back pain, you’re probably familiar with traction. But if not, allow us to explain.

Traction is a method of pulling and stretching areas of the spine to create space between the vertebrae to release constrictions, pinched nerves, and provide pain relief. The Inada DreamWave incorporates these same stretching movements into its Cervical Neck Traction Device. Here’s how it works:

At the top of the headrest on the Inada DreamWave is a horseshoe shaped pillow. This is the traction device. When you’re lined up correctly, your head fits in the middle of the device and the bottom of the device touches the tops of your shoulders. Then, airbags in the device inflate to push down on top of your shoulders, effectively pushing them away from your head.

This elongating motion performs a gentle traction stretch. At the same time, protruding rubber nodes on the airbags press into the tops of your shoulders to perform trigger point massage to the often achy areas of your trapezius muscle.

If you’re looking for the best massage chair for neck pain, the Inada DreamWave should be high on your list.

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3D Roller Technology

When you’re ready for a powerful, targeted neck and shoulder massage, it’s time to remove the neck traction device and turn to the rollers. The rollers on the Inada DreamWave are 3D which means you can make your massage as intense as you want.

Choose from seven different massage techniques, use the arrows on the remote to position the rollers on the area you want to be treated, adjust the intensity, and you’re ready to go!

Feature Highlights of the Inada DreamWave

The Inada DreamWave is one of the best massage chairs for neck and shoulders because it treats the areas few other massage chairs can. In fact, the Inada DreamWave offers the most massage coverage of any chair in the world — over 1200 square inches.

So if you want a massage chair that can treat your entire body and has a powerful neck massage, the Inada DreamWave delivers. Let’s take a closer look at the other features you’ll find on the DreamWave:

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  • Designed, engineered, and manufactured in Japan
  • Optical point sensor body scan for custom-fit massage
  • Full-body air massage with 100 airbags that treat the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, hips, IT bands (outer thighs), seat, calves, feet.
  • DreamWave technology for lower back mobilization and stretching
  • Near 360-degree coverage of forearms; airbags extend from shoulders to fingers
  • 16 automatic programs (with proprietary youth-specific program and full-body stretch)
  • Seven massage techniques
  • Designed by renowned product designer Toshiyuki Kita
  • Leather-like upholstery or real leather options
  • Heat therapy pads in back and seat
  • Vibration massage in back and seat
  • Shiatsu nodes for foot massage
  • Three-year warranty with optional five-year extension
  • Can comfortably fit tall users

To learn more about the features of the Inada DreamWave, check out our full review.

Most Feature-Rich Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders: Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer

Of all of the massage chairs on our list, the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer is the most feature-rich. You might be thinking, more feature-rich than the Inada DreamWave?

In terms of flat out features, yes, the Osaki OS Pro Dreamer has more. But here's the catch…

While all of the DreamWave’s features specifically contribute to your massage, the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer has many of the features that add to your overall massage experience. For example, its music system.

These additional features may or may not appeal to you, but one thing will for sure: the Osaki OS Pro Dreamer is one of the best massage chairs for neck and shoulders. Here's why:

3D Roller Technology

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Like most of the other massage chairs on our list, the Osaki OS Pro Dreamer features 3D roller technology that extends the rollers outward over 3 inches to perform an actual deep tissue massage. The dual rollers move along a 30-inch S-Track (from Osaki’s updated series of tracks) that extends from the top of your neck, past your waistline, and to the upper part of your glutes — providing good coverage to the entire back.

Also, thanks to the Osaki OS Pro Dreamers’ 3D body scan technology that uses pressure sensors to map your back, the roller massage is incredibly accurate and efficient. It knows where and where not to treat.

Heat Therapy for the Shoulders

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Behind the shoulders on the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer is a heating pad that radiates warmth to the area.

Heat has three main therapeutic benefits. First, it dilates the blood vessels to increase circulation, which increases the flow of vital damage-repairing nutrients and oxygen.

Secondly, “Heat stimulates sensory receptors in the skin, which means applying heat will decrease the transmission of pain signals to the brain and partly relieve discomfort,” explains Vert Mooney M.D. in his article, Benefits of Heat Therapy for Lower Back Pain on Spine-Health.com.

Finally, heat relaxes the muscles, allowing the rollers to penetrate deeper into the tissues for a more powerful massage.

So if you’re looking for a great shoulder massage chair, this feature alone should put the Osaki OS Pro Dreamer on your list.

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Automatic and Manual Massage Programs

The rollers on the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer provide good coverage to the neck and shoulders during both the automatic and manual massages. At least four of the eight automatic programs specifically target and treat neck tension.

The manual massage options on the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer give you the ability to really hone in on pain points by giving you control over the location, intensity, speed, width, and technique of the rollers.

Feature Highlights of the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer

In addition to its powerful roller features, the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer also has many popular massage-enhancing features, including:

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  • Built-in speakers with MP3 connection
  • Music sync programs that syncs massage with music
  • ​Vibration massage
  • ​Zero Gravity recline
  • Mechanical foot rollers
  • ​Blue Chromotherapy lights that cast soft colors onto the walls around the chair
  • ​Full-body air massage with 48 airbags that treats the shoulders, upper back, seat, arms, thighs, hands, calves, and feet.
  • ​3D point navigation body scan
  • Eight automatic massage programs, including a full-body stretch program
  • Six massage techniques
  • Extendable ottoman
  • LCD remote with pedestal remote
  • Three-year parts and labor warranty

To learn more about the features of the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer, check out our full review.

Best Middle-of-the-Road Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders: Infinity IT 8500

The IT 8500 is the most popular model from Infinity. It’s also our pick for one of the best massage chairs for neck and shoulders. Here’s why:

Neck Rotation

Like the Inada DreamWave, the Infinity IT 8500 incorporates advanced air massage technology to treat the neck. But rather than having a neck traction device like the DreamWave, it has a neck rotation pillow. Here’s how it works:

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Imagine you’re in a chair with your head on a pillow. Inside the pillow on the left and the right sides of your neck are airbags. When the airbags inflate, they push against the sides of your neck. Then, the right airbag deflates. Next, the left airbag deflates, and the right airbag stays inflated. Each time the airbags alternate, your neck is gently rotated from side to side to create a soothing and gentle rotation massage.

Technology Upgrades

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Infinity has incorporated a lot of new technology into the IT 8500 — much of it specifically designed to increase the effectiveness of the neck and shoulder massage, including:

  • Accu-Roll Neck & Shoulder Sensors. Five sensors scan your neck and shoulders to help the chair perform an accurate massage in these areas.
  • Upgraded Shoulder Airbags. Multi-layer airbags wrap and encompass the shoulders to provide a powerful compression massage.
  • Spinal Posture Correction Technology. The shoulder airbags inflate to pull your shoulders back and into a proper posture alignment. At the same time, the rollers move up and down your spine to further help your alignment.

Deep Tissue Massage

The rollers on the Infinity IT 8500 may be 2D, but they’re powerful and produce a deep tissue massage. These move along a 30.25-inch S-Track that extends from the top of the neck (the suboccipital muscles) to the tailbone. The neck and shoulder massage are powerful and comprehensive in both the automatic and manual massage programs.

Inversion Therapy and Zero Gravity

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In other Infinity IT 8500 massage chair reviews, you may have seen that the IT 8500 has inversion therapy. This is kind of true. We say “kind of” because for a chair to offer real inversion therapy it must have the capacity to recline past 180 degrees — the Infinity IT 8500 reclines 178 degrees. But the Infinity IT 8500 does offer two stages of Zero Gravity recline, which some say if used in conjunction with the full recline position, can produce a slight inversion of the spine.

So if you’re looking specifically for an inversion therapy massage chair as part of your neck and shoulder treatment, the IT 8500 may not be your best option. However, its close relative, the IT 9800 does recline past 180 degrees and offers a more significant level of inversion.

Feature Highlights of the Infinity IT 8500

Although not a true inversion therapy chair, the IT 8500 comes packed with lots of other features users love, including:

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  • Although not a true inversion therapy chair, the IT 8500 comes packed with lots of other features users love, including:
  • Full-body air massage with 38 airbags that treat the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, seat, hips, calves, and feet.
  • Seat swivel technology
  • Mechanical foot rollers, three under each foot
  • Heat therapy for the lower back
  • ​Built-in speakers and USB music system
  • Four automatic programs, including a full-body stretch program
  • ​Six massage techniques
  • ​45-minute session time option
  • LCD remote with pedestal stand
  • Three-year warranty (one year parts and labor, two years parts) with extended options available
  • Designed to fit taller users

To learn more about the features of the Infinity IT 8500, check out our full review.

Best Affordable Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders: Human Touch HT-7120

The Human Touch HT-7120 lacks almost all of the additional features you find on the other massage chairs on our list, including body scan technology, Zero Gravity, arm massage, and shoulder airbags among others. But what the Human Touch HT-7120 does offer is a vigorous roller neck and shoulder massage — without the high price tag.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes the HT-7120 one of the best massage chairs for neck and shoulders:

Adaptive Massage Comfort Control Technology

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The Human Touch HT 7120 features Adaptive Massage Comfort Control technology that lets you adjust the intensity of your massage by seven levels. Here's how it works:

When you adjust the level of intensity, the HT 7120 changes the contour of the backrest — putting you in closer contact or moving you farther away from the rollers — to increase the overall intensity of your massage.

Additionally, on the HT-7120, you can control the width, speed, location, and range of the rollers to customize your neck and shoulder massage to your exact treatment needs.

The rollers move along a 25-inch track that extends from the top of the neck to the waistline on most users. So while it covers the neck and (most of) the back, the tops of the glutes to the tailbone aren’t. It's something to consider if you want a neck massage chair that provides the most coverage.

Upper Automatic Program

When you don’t want to worry about changing settings and want the chair to do all the work, the Human Touch HT-7120 features an automatic program that focuses specifically on the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It's called Upper. The program lasts for 15 minutes, which is ideal for when you need relief but can’t spend too much time in the chair.

Features Highlights of the Human Touch HT-7120

Although lacking many of the popular features you find on other chairs, the HT-7120 still offers quite a few features users love, including:

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  • Heat therapy for lower back
  • Calf (or foot) massager with FigureEight paddle technology
  • ​Rotatable and retractable ottoman
  • ​Four automatic programs, including a full-body stretch program
  • ​Five massage techniques
  • Power recline
  • ​Ottoman width adjustments
  • ​Luxury recliner aesthetics, comfortable sitting chair
  • ​Three-year limited warranty (one year in-home service, two years parts, three years structural)

To learn more about the features of the Human Touch HT-7120, check out our full review.

Best Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders Review - Conclusion


While all of the chairs on our list offer a comprehensive neck and shoulder massage, if you want the best chair for neck pain, the Panasonic MA73 will provide a level of quality, coverage, and technology the other massage chairs simply don’t offer.

However, if you want a massage chair that provides soothing relief, the Inada DreamWave has earned its keep as one of the best on the market, and its neck traction device will serve you well.

If, on the other hand, you want it all — best neck, back and shoulder massage chair — and all the latest features like Zero Gravity, a music system, and chromotherapy lights, the Osaki OS 3D Pro Dreamer is what you want.

And lastly, if you only want the best neck massage chair without much else, the powerful rollers on the Human Touch HT-7120 give you plenty of control over your massage without the cost of additional features.

Regardless of which you choose, we hope our review helped you find the best massage chair for neck and shoulders.

Related Reviews

Sources and Official Brand Websites


Best Massage Chair for Neck and Shoulders 2018 was last modified: July 13th, 2018 by Consumer Files
Which is the best #massagechair for neck and shoulders? In this article, we share five of the best and name our top pick.