About Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Jan 24, 2018

The designer Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow features a powerful motor that turns four rotating massage nodes in a clockwise rotation for deep, soothing relief. Then, after 60 seconds, the nodes automatically reverse direction to vary the pattern and deliver better results.

Combined with its optional heat that can help boost circulation, speed recovery, and relieve soreness; as well as its decorator fashion styling that looks perfect anywhere, the website advertises that the pillow can help relax tense, tight muscles and help relieve overall stress whenever and wherever you need it.

Based on what we learned from Zaahn’s website and commercial, it seems like the nodes inside their Shiatsu Massage Pillow could provide some measure of kneading to help relieve muscle soreness and tension. And with its portable design, that it could be useful whether you’re at home, the office, the gym, or relaxing in bed.

In this article, we’ll distill what we learned during our research and focus on helping you find out if it really will deliver “a sensation similar to a fingertip massage by a professional massage therapist,” and whether or not it’s deserving of your hard-earned money.

Is Shiatsu Massage Effective for Muscle Pain & Tension Relief?

The University of Minnesota tells us that the Japanese word “shiatsu” translates as “finger pressure” in English, which uses “kneading, pressing, soothing, tapping, and stretching techniques” to help “a wide range of internal, musculoskeletal, and emotional conditions.”

They report these include reducing muscle stiffness, aiding digestion, stimulating the skin and the nervous system, and treating “a wide range of chronic conditions, such as headaches, PMS, digestive disorders, fatigue, insomnia, fibromyalgia, stress, anxiety, and musculoskeletal pain, including low back, neck, and joint pain.”

Despite these potential benefits, they note that clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of formal shiatsu massage is limited, although “the risk is low and there are significant anecdotally-reported benefits.”

Now, the next logical question is: Will the Zaahn Pillow actually provide you with a shiatsu massage?

Taking a Closer Look at How the Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow Works

Very little detail is provided on the Zaahn Pillow website indicating exactly how the device works, although we are told that it contains a powerful motor underneath its fabric cover. This appears to power two spinning discs, each of which has two spherical nodes attached (see image below).

These discs and their attached nodes start by spinning in a clockwise direction and then reverse after 60 seconds. This, the website advertises, will allow you to “experience a sensation similar to a fingertip massage by a professional massage therapist.” But will it deliver on this claim in the real world?

Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow NodesA screenshot taken from the Zaahn commercial showing the four spinning nodes found underneath the Shiatsu Massage Pillow’s fabric cover. Credit: Thane Direct

We didn’t test the product ourselves to provide firsthand feedback, although we’d imagine that the intensity of the massage, and therefore its ability to deliver a shiatsu-like experience, would largely depend on the amount of pressure applied (which is determined wholly by the user).

Another consideration is that other than their ability to reverse direction, Shiatsu Massage Pillow’s nodes are static; i.e., they can’t dynamically move across your muscles and adjust pressure like a professional masseuse might. Furthermore:

  • How comfortable are these nodes when applying pressure? Other than the fact that they’re covered by the pillow’s fabric, are they padded in any way?
  • Based on what we saw in the commercial, the pillow is attached to a cord. Is this required in order to power the device? Or, just to recharge it? How long is the cord?
  • When not turned on, how comfortable would the pillow be for everyday use? Is it otherwise functional as a real-world pillow?

We spoke to several customer support representatives looking for answers to questions like these, although none were able to provide additional insight.

Pro tip: Another factor we think is important to point out (again, we didn’t test it ourselves) is that, based on the images on the website, it appears that you can see the rotating massage nodes through the fabric of Zaahn’s Beige model.

Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow ColorsWhile the Zaahn Shiatsu Pillow appears to feature an attractive fabric cover, the buttons are clearly visible in the left image. Also, the red nodes underneath are fairly obvious in the Beige model on the right. Credit: Thane Direct

How Much Does the Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow Cost?

The Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow is available in gray and beige colors, along with two purchasing options:

  • A 30-day trial for $14.95, plus $9.95 S&H. You’ll be billed three subsequent installments of $19.95 every 30 days.
  • Single payment of $59.85, plus $9.95 S&H (save the $14.95 trial fee)

Note: The Zaahn website indicates that you can order a bonus matching decorative throw pillow for additional S&H, although we weren’t presented with this option when attempting to check out.

Regardless of which purchasing option you choose, all Shiatsu Massage Pillows come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less S&H. In order to request one, you’ll need to reach out to Thane Direct customer support at 800-676-1604.

Are There Other Shiatsu Massage Pillows Like Zaahn?

Based on our years of investigation, any time you’re researching a new product, we’ve learned one of the fastest and easiest ways to find out if it has any competition is by browsing online marketplaces like Amazon and Google Shopping.

Doing so in this instance returned dozens of shiatsu massage pillows in just about every imaginable design, shape, and size, most of which ranged in price between $20 and $40. However, some were priced as high as $150.

These pillows varied similarly from a functionality perspective, with anywhere between two and four nodes, with or without heat, as well as some measure of vibration and adjustability.

Which of these is right for you is largely going to depend on your needs and preferences. For example, are you looking to mainly relieve tension in your neck? If so, a smaller, more contoured option could fit the bill.

On the other hand, are you looking to soothe several different areas of your body, without using a device that sticks out like a sore thumb? In this instance, the Zaahn Massage Pillow could work well. Just keep in mind that it appears to require an outlet as a power source, so you’ll need to remain within a few feet of one when in use.

And depending on your design tastes, its visible nodes (especially in the Beige model) might present somewhat of a hindrance.

Let’s go ahead and bring everything we’ve learned together and come to a final conclusion.

Our Final Thoughts About the Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow

Again (not to sound like a broken record), we didn’t try the Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow ourselves. But based on everything we learned during our research, it seems like its four spinning nodes and auto-reverse motion could deliver a soft rolling motion to gently relieve muscle tension, without being too intense or painful.

And while customer service wasn’t able to tell us what temperature the Pillow’s heat reached (along with several other important details), we’d imagine that it could help provide some measure of boosted circulation and relaxation.

With this said, will the Zaahn Shiatsu Massage Pillow deliver the level of relief displayed by the actors in its commercial? Will it actually help you "experience a sensation similar to a fingertip massage by a professional massage therapist"? Regarding claims like these, we think it's important to maintain realistic expectations in order to maximize your likelihood of satisfaction.

If it ultimately doesn’t meet needs, though, the manufacturer stands behind it with a 30-day refund policy. Just remember that you’ll lose your initial S&H fee, any fees associated with the trial offer, as well as any costs related to sending the pillow back to the manufacturer.

Read next: 6 Ways to Naturally Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity

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