The ShoulderFlex Massager is a personal massager that was originally released by King International in the fall of 2003. It was marketed towards people who experience neck, back, and shoulder pain who seek the benefit of a deep massage in the comfort of their own home for a relatively low cost (about $130). Consumers could buy it online, in stores, or in catalogs.
Because of causing at least one death due to strangulation, King International recalled the ShoulderFlex Massager on Aug. 31, 2011, and has since gone out of business. There have been other reports of people who came close to being strangled by the device as well. It was found that people using the massager could get their hair, jewelry, or clothing caught in it, possibly strangling them and putting them at serious risk. The massage ‘fingers’ inside of the device, which rotate during the massage, are what causes this. Their 800 number is no longer in service, and they have not followed through with other proper recall procedures either. Some retailers and consumers aren’t even aware that the massager is dangerous.
Due to the lack of communication between King International and retailers, there are still likely doctors who are recommending the use of this device to their patients and consumers who are completely unaware of the recalls. The FDA issued a a press release in late December of 2011, notifying the public of the dangers of this device.
It is recommended by the FDA that people not only discontinue using the device, but to throw it away properly to minimize the risk of it getting into someone else’s hands. They are also recommending that all stores stop selling the ShoulderFlex Massager and that any doctors who recommended the product to their patients to stop doing so immediately. To assure that a used device doesn’t get into the wrong hands, both the massage fingers inside of the massager and the power supply should be thrown away separately when getting rid of it. It is also suggested that anyone who used the device and suspected problems with it file a report with the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program, also known as MedWatch.
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