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Firstly I have to say this is not a picture of the item I'm reviewing. I'm not sure how this picture came to be here as it isn't the one I submitted a link to but a helpful guide said to just point this out and write the review anyway so I'm going to do just that. For those of you that would like to see a picture of the proper item here is the link:
The Shiatsu Backstroke Massage System is allegedly a great way to hit the tight spots in your back and neck and also the balls are supposed to hit pressure points based on the Chinese meridian style of massage. The item itself is about a metre in length, there is a wide section for your back with 7 lines of balls and a headrest section where two balls are placed behind the neck. Strangely there are wheels under the head section which I can't explain at all! I would have thought the massager was supposed to remain stationary so why they would put wheels on it is beyond me.
Anyway, the balls on the back section are, as I just mentioned, placed on 7 lines and each one has either 2 balls in the middle that go either side of the spine and 2 balls further out that would hit shoulders, back of pelvis etc or they have 2 balls placed on each outer edge of the line and none near the spine. This I think is because of the whole meridian aspect. The 2 balls that go on the neck can be removed by pulling the plastic base they are on out of the massager and there is also 2 different settings designed to suit either short or tall people. I really recommend having a look at the picture through the link, it's hard to describe it clearly without the picture.
The rows of balls are blue and made out of firm foam. The idea is you either lay on the massager and let the balls sink into your body or you roll on the balls for massage or you use the massager to lay on while you do exercises. It's a smiliar principle to the item pictured above except the balls are about the size of tennis balls and made of foam and it is flat not arched.
I bought this for my tight back. I got it on ebay and it cost me £10.49 including p&p and according to the seller "it's recommended by physiotherapists and can cost up to £30". All I can say is don't waste your money!
I placed mine on the floor and attached the neck balls at the setting for short people, I'm only 5 foot 4 so this was more suitable for me. Expecting wonderful things I laid on the item and found immediately a big problem. The balls wouldn't lay in the right places. The rows that have balls that go either side of the spine weren't either side of my spine. I accept I'm not perfectly straight, no-one is, but to be this far off I'd have to hugely twisted! The second problem was also obvious right from the word go. The item is flat, unlike the one in the picture that has curves, completely flat and of course backs aren't. Or shouldn't be anyway. This meant the lumbar area doesn't even touch the balls unless you press your back down onto it which isn't where your lumbar spine is supposed to be and nor does this lead to a relaxing experience.
I got off the massager and realised I'd wasted £10.49. I decided to get my partner to try it. I actually do have some alignment problems so I thought some of the problem might be with me. He's well aligned so surely this would fit him wouldn't it?
In a word no. He had a similar problem with the balls being out of place around his spine and in order to lay on them he had to kind of twist himself. You might think this is the point of the item and by moving around until the balls fit you get aligned but I was watching him from above and when he had them in place he was out of alignment! I've got a good eye for these things and could see straight away he was twisted.
He also mentioned the lack of lumbar curve and that the item wasn't touching his low back so he didn't like it either. I can't explain why the balls don't fit the spine, looking at the item right now they are straight and can be moved about a centimetre either way by pushing the row of balls along the rod they are on but this doesn't seem to be enough.
The lack of curve in the lumbar area is a terrible design flaw. People who think they should push their backs down onto the balls aren't going to do themselves any favours and I can't imagine why they didn't put some curve in it.
Overall it's a complete waste of money and to be avoided. Ineffective and badly designed. As you can now see dooyoo have changed the picture to the correct item so thanks dooyoo, this will prevent others making the same mistake as me and buying one!