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While there is no shortage of massage mats and cushions on the market, if you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious, you may want to check out a new stretching massager that incorporates yoga into your relaxation.
The stretching massager from Baloom features 22 air chambers that are designed to provide a full body yoga session. The mat offers pre-programed stretches that improve blood circulation while releasing muscle tension and soothing sore muscles.
To use, simply plug it in, lay down and choose your program: either “energize” for a whole body massage, “stretch” for gentle movement, “twist” for slightly more movement on each side and “flow” to gently loosen and relax your body.
Along with these four options, you also have the choice of choosing from three levels of intensity. You can also turn on heat, as well as a timer and you can zero-in on specific areas if you’re not looking to work on your full body.
The Baloom Stretching Massager Mat is currently priced at $297 on Amazon, but you can save $60 by applying a coupon at checkout, taking the price down to $237.
Baloom sent me the stretching massager to test out and compare the stretch it gives to an actual yoga practice.
The stretching massager was ready to go right out of the box, with the only set-up being to unzip it, roll it out and plug it in. The cord is a bit short, so you will need to set it up near a wall or grab an extension cord.
I must preface my review by saying that I have been practicing yoga for more than a decade, so I in no way expected the massager to give the same stretch as a full yoga class. With that said, I was impressed by how much it did actually stretch me, and by the parts of my body it was able to get to.
Stretching your back is a bit tough — even for a yogi — unless you have a yoga wheel. However the massager was able to lift me up, giving me a quality stretch with no effort. It felt great on my back and was the best stretch I’ve had there in a long time.
I actually found that I liked the “flow” setting the best, and when it came time to stretch my neck, it felt almost exactly like an actual masseuse turning my head from side to side.
My favorite feature, however, is that it takes a short pause in between inflating each section. This is great, because if you find a certain position is too much for you, you can quickly turn it off — or hit pause if you want to stay there longer. When the air moves to a different part of your body, it feels like you’re letting out a big sigh and is quite relaxing.
If you exercise regularly, settings like “twist” are not going to twist you as far as you can twist yourself. However, for those that don’t do spinal twists often, or are simply looking for a relaxing way to work their muscles, it may exceed your expectations.
I’m also prone to hyper-flexibility issues and sometimes accidentally push my body further than I should. However, because the mat has limited movement, it didn’t push me too far, and I found it gentle and relaxing.
The only downsides I found were the length of the cord, and that the head area isn’t comfortable until it fills with air. When it was working other parts of my body my head was completely flat on the ground, which made my neck hurt a little. Unfortunately this is a downside that probably can’t be fixed, because if this part did have a pillow it wouldn’t be able to fill with air. While it’s not something I think could be improved, it’s worth mentioning for anyone who has neck issues.
As an added bonus, it also rolls up and zips closed so you can store it or take it on the go.
While I couldn’t find another massager that’s quite like this one, Amazon does have some that are similar, like this Comrelax Full Body Massage Pad that also offers some twists and stretching. Priced at $169.99, it is currently on sale for $109.99, plus you can save another $10 by clipping a coupon at checkout. While it’s significantly cheaper than the Baloom, it has a range of positive and not-so-great reviews you might want to consider.
Other massagers on Amazon include this Jimugor Electric Lumbar Traction Device Massager, which offers both a massage and stretch for your lower back. Priced at $100.97, the Jimugor Electric Lumbar Traction Device Massager is mainly for lumbar traction, although it does have a massage element. If you’re looking for just a massager, however, you may want to shop for something else, like this HoMedics Total Recline Massage Cushion that I also had a chance to review.