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Shiatsu was officially recognised as therapy by the Japanese Government in 1964. It is a physical therapy used to support and strengthen the body’s nature ability to heal and balance itself. The concept originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine with influences from more recent Western therapies. While the word “Shiatsu” means “finger pressure”, the practitioner tends to use a combination of touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques to achieve the necessary aim of adjusting the body’s physical structure and balance in its energy flow.
Based on the techniques of Shiatsu is the Handheld Shiatsu Massager from HoMedics. This product has been designed to soothe tired muscles and consists of the main handheld unit with a permanently attached power cord and three-pin plug plus two replacement attachments for applying different massaging effects. A small Instruction Manual is also included with the package.
Containing a mixture of white, grey and silver panels with dimensions of 140 x 135 x 115mm and weighing approximately 1kg, the handheld unit has the appearance of a paint spray gun or, from certain angles, a ray gun from a science-fiction film. Most of the product’s weight seems to be located within the massager’s bulbous head applying the massage. I found this weight distribution, combined with the rather short grip element, makes manipulating this handheld device a trifle tricky.
A series of controls are positioned on the outside of the short handle. Arranged from the top downwards are buttons for power on / off, adjusting the intensity (speed) of the massage up and down plus an auto mode for relaxing sore muscles. While this massager is not exactly silent in use, the noise level emitted is well within bearable standards and it does give an indication as to the current speed governing the intensity being applied.
This handheld massaging tool comes with three (one already in situ) interchangeable head attachments plus a soft mesh cover which fits over the top of the other three attachments and should always be in place. The three attachments consist of a Wave head for a soothing massage; Arc head, divided into four raised sections, for an invigorating session; and a Roller head featuring seven hard balls for use when applying deep tissue massage. When using this massager, it is advisable to go for short, sharp sessions on designated areas with the sessions lasting no more than three minutes at best. You will need to provide the timer element as it does not form part of the standard package.
I felt that changing the supplied attachments could be a little fiddly until you got use to the process. You first needed to twist a white collar holding the soft mess element in place. This collar runs around the head of the device and needs to be turned in a clockwise direction. This action will then give you access to the current attachment which can be prised from a mount which delivers the massaging effect. Having replaced the attachment with your chosen tool, the collar can be replaced and locked into position with an anti-clockwise motion.
The weight of the handheld massager means it is not the easiest device to manipulate when dealing with some parts of the body. However it can help ease tension and tiredness in your muscles. The product comes with a two-year warranty. HoMedics has priced the Handheld Shiatsu Massager at £39.99. A quick surfing check revealed that Amazon.co.uk currently have this product listed at £30.00.
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