Death by massager? - All Access Sporting News

Updated April 1,  4:15 PM  CT


Photo/Hokkaido police department

Death by massager

Monday, July 2017 07:31:22

Foot massager involved in yet another death.

An elderly woman in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido was killed last week when she apparently tried to use a foot massager to relieve tension in her neck and shoulders.

It’s thought that the 77-year-old Japanese woman suffocated when her clothes became caught in the machine’s powerful electric rollers, which were exposed as the device’s cover had at some point been removed. Her relatives found her lying unconscious on the floor of her home but she died a short while later, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Made by Saitama-based Matoba, the massage machine has been in the news before for all the wrong reasons. This is not the first time a death has been attributed to the machine. Three separate fatal accidents similar to last week’s tragedy were reported back in 2008, prompting the firm to accompany its product with a note warning owners not to remove the cover, and to use it with feet only.

The warnings are evidently failing to deter some people from removing the cover and applying the machine to their neck and shoulders, a particularly dangerous act as it appears the foot massager has no mechanism to make it automatically stop should fabrics or other items become entangled in the rollers.

A good rule-of-thumb: If it say's "DO NOT OPERATE WITHOUT COVER"... don't.


In 2015 a South Korean woman had fallen asleep on the floor when her autonomous vacuum trundled over and tried to sweep her up. Unfortunately for the woman, her long hair got caught up in the machine’s rotating brushes, resulting in a rude awakening that led to a “desperate rescue request” to first responders, who arrived in time to free her from the machine’s clutches before any serious injury occurred.

Sources for this article include:

 Digitaltrends, Wikipedia, Twitter, AASNSports

~ All Access Sporting News

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