Are you feeling the tension in your neck and shoulders? And struggling to find a way to release it? You're not alone: a tense neck and shoulders from bad posture, strain during exercise, sleeping with your neck in the wrong position, or just hours of sitting, is a common problem these days.
The good news is that the right hot tub can provide a deep tissue massage that can really help to release this kind of tension.
In this article, we'll explore models from five premium spa brands: Bullfrog Spas, Jacuzzi, Hot Spring, Marquis and Master Spas. All have features designed to specifically target these problem areas. We'll focus on the features of each model that make it an excellent choice for people with muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders.
Bullfrog has a unique JetPak Therapy System which lets you customize a spa with 18 distinct jet configurations, each focusing on a particular kind of massage therapy.
This means several of their spas can be designed for neck and shoulder relief, because you can choose the specific kind of jets and massage treatment you get in each seat to create a truly personalized hot tub.
There are several JetPak options aimed at neck and shoulder massage, depending on which series of spa you're interested in.
M Series: NeckRelief JetPak
The M Series is Bullfrog's elite line. Here, you'll want to look at the NeckRelief JetPak.
This special JetPak is designed to relieve muscle tension in the neck and upper back. The combination of high-pressure massage jets and penetrating water pulsation work together to provide a thorough full-back massage, but with a focus on the neck and shoulders.
A & R Series: NeckBlaster or NeckMasseuse JetPak
Both these series use the same type of JetPak, but they are different to those of the M Series. Here you have a couple of choices: the NeckBlaster and NeckMasseuse.
The NeckBlaster JetPak features the most neck and shoulder jets of any hydromassage in the JetPak lineup, and the NeckMasseuse offers a more targeted high intensity neck massage, but with a simpler jet configuration overall (only 7 jets compared to 14 in the NeckBlaster).
Ideally you can wet test both to see which you prefer, but the NeckBlaster offers a more all-around massage in addition to its neck and shoulder focus.
Hot Spring Aria
This is probably not the best option you could pick (I'll explain why in a second), but I wanted to include it because Hot Spring are at least widely available, and you might have limited choice in your area.
The Aria is a fairly decent spa overall, but it only has one seat designed with neck and shoulder massage in mind. The Quartet Jets in this seat are four precision jets that work to release tension in your neck and shoulders. You can see them on the left here:
Admittedly they do a great job at this, but still, only having them one seat is a bit limiting. Maybe you don't mind taking turns, or only one person really cares about neck and shoulder massage. In which case, this could be a great way to go.
If you want a hot tub that does offer this kind of relief (but only to some extent), the Aria is worth considering. But if you have multiple family members who all want neck and shoulder massage, there are better spas out there.
The interesting feature of the J-365 for folks with neck tension is its HydroSoothe massage pillow. This is essentially a headrest which offers a neck and head massage, coupled with a relaxing cascade of water around the neck and shoulders.
One nice thing about this pillow is that it is no-splash, so the water won't get your hair wet. A lot of powerful shoulder jets will leave you with soaking wet hair, so this is something to be aware of if you want to be able to get a neck massage without getting your hair wet.
You also get some addition neck massage capabilities in the PowerPro® Therapy Seat, so unlike the Aria, you're not limited to just one seat with the J-365.
The Resort is one of Marquis' most luxurious models, and it certainly delivers when you're looking for a spa with strong hydrotherapy capabilities in general—including neck and shoulder relief. It has pretty a wide range of seats, with two really aimed at deep tissue massage.
The Shoulder H.O.T. Zone jets are the main thing to pay attention to here, as they're aimed at relieving tension in the neck and upper back. You also get Lumbar H.O.T. Zone jets in the other seat, which can be used to focus more on the lower back.
We're mainly concerned about neck and shoulder massage here, and I know this spa only has the one seat really targeting that. But if you have shoulder tension and, say, your partner is more interested in lumbar massage, this spa could be an excellent choice overall.
Master Spas Twilight Series
Last but definitely not least, the Master Spas Twilight Series is a very popular and well regarded spa line. The StressRelief Neck and Shoulder Seat is mainly what you're looking at here, as this seat is designed with neck and shoulder massage in mind.
The seat has an ergonomic design that includes a ledge with specially designed downward-facing jets. This allows you to conveniently position your neck and shoulders under the jets for a powerful stress-relieving massage. The seat has 16 total jets, 4 of which are focused directly on the neck and shoulders.
You can find this seat in their Clarity, Twilight, and Michael Phelps Legend Series, but the Twilight Series strikes the best balance between features and value for money.