Neck tensions? Everyone hates that! I dozed off at my desk while writing an article the other day after working on a 20-hour writing marathon. (Editor’s note: that’s an exaggeration. I’m no slave driver.)
It’s not uncommon for me. I have time-management issues and I often end up facing the choice of burning midnight oil to finish my work, or sleep and hope I wake up to continue where I left off. I get my work done on time, and suffer a sore neck. Maybe my dear editor knows what I go through to pen these articles, so I was tasked with reviewing Alpha Neck, a portable neck massage device. (Editor’s note: No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.)
Stiff necks go away on their own, but they can be an annoying distraction or even affect your quality of life. You can relief the discomfort with a good massage. But that means you need to know someone with good massage techniques, or you’ll have to book an appointment with your physiotherapist or masseur.
Alpha Neck lets you get your neck and back massages right from the comfort of your home.
What is it
Alpha Neck by Hot Circle is a portable neck massager inspired by Thai, Shiatsu and hot stone massage techniques. It uses infrared heat technology to provide heat therapy to relax your inner layers of stiff muscles.
Using your body weight to apply pressure on your acupuncture points, it relieves neck tension. The device also uses traction techniques to complement the above functions to solve neck tensions.
The portable design of Alpha Neck means you can enjoy a good massage at home or when you’re travelling. Rotate it 90 degrees and it becomes a back bridge to stretch your upper back muscles and spine.
What problem does it solve
Sore muscles bring a lot of discomfort. It is even more so when they happen to be your neck muscles. You don’t realise how often you move your head about until you get a stiff neck. The number of times you accidentally try to turn your head and wince in pain. You try to remind yourself to turn your whole torso when someone calls out to you.
They generally go away after a day or so. But your quality of life is greatly affected in the mean time. Alpha Neck wants to solve this for you by making it easy for you to massage your neck and back muscles to try to relieve the pain. Just like the other neck massagers in the market.
Who is it for
Do you get stiff neck often? Even if you rarely get a sore neck (lucky you!), it is something worth keeping in your home just in case you want to ease the irritating discomfort.
Or you might be one of those who would get one just to pamper yourself regularly. Then again, if you fall under the latter group, you probably have a neck massager, foot massager, or even a full massage chair at home.
Alpha Neck lacks the dedication and specialised treatment you would get from your professional chiropractors and masseurs. However, it is the next best thing if you’re unable to book and appointment, or just can’t find time to make the trip for a proper massage.
Is it innovative
Portable neck massagers are nothing new. They are very popular judging by what I’ve seen on Amazon. That said, the design of Alpha Neck is rather innovative. It combines the acupuncture pressure treatment seen in traditional massage tools with an electric massager.
The benefits Alpha Neck brings not baseless claims. The team from Hot Circle created multiple prototypes and conducted over 100 clinical trials before they arrived at this final version. The studies show a 45% reduction in muscle fatigue after subjects used the product.
I have a question though. Why don’t they state the actual number of trials they conducted? That would give the campaign a lot more credibility and it is a number they should easily have on hand if they did indeed tested the products so many times.
I was unable to find anything on the clinical trials. It would be interesting to understand how they conducted the studies. We can’t really make any conclusions on the efficacy of this product without understanding the results from the control group. If they had a control group, that is.
The clinical trials were conducted on 20 subjects over a period of three months. This is for the final version. Even if they conducted the previous trials for a week, they would still need 99 weeks just for testing. This is not including the time required to modify and produce each new prototype. Their timeline put the prototype phase from 2020 to March 2021.
We are keen to understand more about the product studies to help us understand how Alpha Neck is better than the other neck massagers in the market, so we have reached out to the team about this.
Another puzzling thing is the thermal image they used to highlight the heating effect of the device. Are our basal temperatures so low as what the before picture shows?
Is it worth it
Alpha Neck costs $132. I went for a massage in my neighbourhood yesterday, and it cost me $80 for a 1.5-hour session. A one-time investment on Alpha Neck means I can save on the further massage sessions.
That said, a quick search on Amazon shows portable neck massagers retailing within the $30 to $50 range. Is Alpha Neck worth paying several times more for? Well, it massages both your neck and back, so it’ll cost a bit more. Having more information on the benefits of the product would help us understand if it is worth paying extra, as we discussed in the previous section.
Is there any alternatives
As I mentioned earlier, there are many portable neck massagers on Amazon. However, they are bulkier than Alpha Neck and only work on your neck. They come with heating and traction techniques too. They just aren’t designed to also function as a back massage unlike Alpha Neck.
Massage guns are another way of targeting the deep tissues in your neck. I am no expert in this field and cannot give you a in-depth analysis of which is better. However, with the Alpha Neck, all you have to do is lie down and let Alpha Neck do its job. On the other hand, the massage gun needs a hand to operate it, and it might be tricky for you to reach certain spots at the back of your neck.
Then, there are also larger massagers. These not only work on your neck and upper back, but also your head, lower back, arms and legs. Of course, these cost thousands of dollars and are not portable so they don’t make for a fair comparison. But they get the job done with more sophisticated technology. So I’m just putting it here to remind you of this option if you can afford it and have the space in your home for that hulking piece of machinery.
Poor posture happens all the time. We try to remind ourselves to maintain good posture but gravity’s a bitch and we often get lazy. When our muscles are sore, it affects our quality of life and we want to alleviate the discomfort. Proper treatment is important. I can’t stress this enough.
Poor treatment can worsen the problem or even cause long term damage to your body. As they say, health is wealth. An investment in a product like Alpha Neck, can help you ease your sore muscles without causing damage. That said, there are many other massagers in the market.
Given that it touts itself as an innovative product on Kickstarter, I would love to understand more about how it stands out from the competition and is worth 3 to 4 times more than other neck massagers.
Hi, I’m Big Cat.
I’m a young lion that identifies as a bear. Not a brave lion. No cat jokes.