Shoulderflex Massager Recall Follows FDA Warning

About 12,000 Shoulderflex massagers have been recalled following an FDA warning that the devices have strangled and even killed some consumers. 

The Shoulderflex massager recall was announced on August 31 by the manufacturer, King International LLC, after the FDA urged consumers last week not to use the device. According to King International, at least one strangulation and death have been confirmed in connection to the recalled massager.

On August 25, the FDA issued a safety communication warning that the problems with the Shoulderflex massager could cause consumers to suffer serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. According to that warning, necklaces, hair and clothing can get caught in a rotating part of the massager, which could strangle consumers.

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The ShoulderFlex Massager is a deep tissue personal massage device designed to massage the shoulder, neck and back. Nearly 12,000 of the devices have been distributed by King International since October 2003. The massager includes the massage unit, a handheld controller, a memory foam pillow and machine-washable sleeve. The massage “fingers” can be removed and adjusted.

The recall affects all Shoulderflex Massagers by King International sold between 2003 and 2011. The Oregon-based company sold the massagers at various stores nationwide, including Relax the Back, through catalogs like Lifestyle Fascination and online via and other retailers.

King International does not appear to be offering refunds to consumers who purchased the defective massagers, and instead of asking that they be returned, the company is calling on consumers to disassemble the devices themselves and throw the parts away separately so they cannot be reassembled. The company said the most effective means of doing so is to throw away the power supply separate from the massager and to remove all of the massage fingers and throw those away separately as well.

The FDA is asking any consumers who experience an adverse event while using a Shoulder Flex to report those problems to MedWatch, the FDA’s adverse event reporting program.


  • GalenAugust 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Still have that massager? I'll buy it. The wife and I have been using it for years and it's the best ever on the market.

  • CheriOctober 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    My shouldflex is still in the box - haven't had time to use it. Wonder if we can return the devices for a refund? The letter I received was also tellingly silent regarding any customer service actions to be provided by King. After paying $120 for this device, I'll probably recover $2.50 in a class action lawsuit. sigh...capitalism at work.

  • ChrisOctober 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I just received the recall campaign letter today. No where in the letter does the company offer to refund me for my purchase, or replace the product with another safer version. What part of "RECALL" don't they understand?

  • SuzanOctober 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    I paid $119.00 for the ShoulderFlex last Christmas, so if I am supposed to disassemble it and make it useless, I want a refund!!!

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