"Note that the products discussed on our site are independently selected by (obsessive) editors. At no extra cost to you, things you buy through our links may earn us a commission"

Best Massage Chairs 2020 – Reviews, Specs, Video and Buyer’s Guide

Who doesn’t love getting a good massage with the best massage chair? Regardless of your profession and lifestyle, there’s nothing better than kicking back and treating your body to some self-care. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, the industry made more than 18 billion dollars in 2018. Research predicts that the market will grow by almost 2 percent by 2024. It’s not hard to see why people love massages so much. They have been shown to reduce stress and provide a range of benefits to your body.

When most people think of massages, they typically picture luxurious spas and weekend retreats. While you can certainly invest in those endeavors, they are going to cost you a pretty penny. On average, a simple massage costs $60 an hour. However, the costs associated with relaxing can fluctuate significantly based on your location, the type of massage you get, and the amenities a professional masseur offers. Once you start factoring in the recurring costs associated with professional massages, it starts to look unfeasible to most people.

best massage chair 2020

Luckily, there are ways to experience the benefits of a massage without having to constantly foot the bill. A massage chair is a worthy investment that lets you get the relief you are after. Best of all, you don’t have to drive to a spa or pay any additional costs. With just one purchase, you’ll be able to relax from the comforts of your own home for many years to come.

You may have seen these robotic massage chairs at your local mall. They are often coin-operated and cost a few bucks for only a short massaging session. At-home massage chairs operate very similarly. However, you’re not limited in terms of relaxation time. Plus, you don’t have to worry about people watching you trying to get a few moments of peace.

The first patent for a massage chair was filed all the way back in 1948. Nearly ten years later, they were first brought to market in Japan. In the decades since the technology powering these devices has changed a lot. They’re no longer simple vibrating machines that are designed to poorly simulate a massage. Today, high-quality massage chairs have advanced features that replicate the hands of a professional masseur.

Throughout this guide, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about modern massage chairs. Our goal is to help you make an informed purchasing decision that you’re confident with. There’s no shortage of product options out there. If you don’t know what to look for, you could easily end up buying a massage chair that doesn’t meet your needs. We’ll help you learn more about what a massage can do for you and give you valuable information that you can use to find the best massage chair for your home.

Top Rated Massage Chairs Comparison Chart 2020

To make your search for that perfect massage chair even easier, we’ve created a comparison chart that includes all of our recommended picks. Use it to quickly see how each chair stacks up against one another. We’ve included some key features and basic information to give you a general idea of what the massage chair has to offer. For more detailed reviews, you can find the same massage chairs in our review section below.

Best Massage Chair 2020 Reviews – (Handpicked Models)

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the very best massage chairs that money can buy. We aim to provide you with the freshest product selection, so we update our picks regularly as the industry changes. We have gathered all of the pertinent information that you need to know about each product, making it easy for you to choose a massage chair that you’ll love.

1. Kahuna SM-9000 Superior Massage Chair

Kahuna SM-9000 Superior Massage Chair ReviewQuick Features:

  • Performs kneading, tapping, knocking, and finger-tapping massages
  • Eight Signature programs
  • Five manual programs
  • Airbags around legs, feet, hips, shoulders, back, and arms
  • Zero Gravity design
  • Six infrared rollers
  • Supports up to 320 pounds and people as tall as 6 feet 5 inches
  • LCD remote and LED lights
  • Five-year parts and labor warranty

As our top pick, we’ve chosen the Kahuna SM-9000. This best rated massage chair has all the bells and whistles you’ll need to relax from the luxury of your home. When it comes to comfort, this chair is the best of the best. There is no shortage of sophisticated features. It has innovative infrared rollers. Rather than having an integrated heating pad, the rollers themselves provide the heat therapy. It’s a nice touch that not too many massage chairs have. Plus, the rollers are 3D. They can move a variety of ways to deliver a truly sensational massage.

On top of all of that, the massage chair uses an SL-track. The rollers extend from the top of your shoulders and moves all the way down to your thighs. When you factor in the large array of airbags and the dedicated foot massager, you truly can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Despite the massage chair’s large size, it doesn’t need a ton of room to operate. When you initiate the zero gravity massage, all you need are three inches behind the chair. To make things even easier for you, the chair comes with an intuitive LCD remote. With it, you can choose between several automatic and manual programs. Whether you choose to stick with a light massage or crank up the intensity as far as it goes, the Kahuna SM-9000 will feel like a luxury the entire time.
Pros
  • Space-saving design
  • Includes Yoga stretching mode
  • Modes for various lifestyles
  • Fast muscle recovery mode
  • SL-Track with 3D rollers
  • Three intensity settings and three speed settings
  • Foot and leg massage
  • Slick upholstery cover
  • Treats entire body
  • Built-in Bluetooth speakers
  • Removable zipper cover
Cons
  • No cup holder
  • Shorter power cord

Click here to check the price of the Kahuna SM-9000 on Amazon.

2. Kahuna SM-7300 Superior Massage Chair with SL-Track Rollers

Kahuna SM-7300 Quick Features:

  • Nine auto programs
  • Performs kneading, tapping, knocking, and Shiatsu massages
  • Zero gravity position
  • Heat therapy
  • Enclosed foot and leg massager
  • Acupressure tracker
  • Airbag system with five intensity settings
  • Supports people as tall as 6 foot 5 inches and 320 pounds
  • LCD remote and LED lights
  • Two-year parts and labor warranty
  • Available in four colors

Also, from Kahuna is the SM-7000 massage chair. This is an elegant-looking model, but it falls behind its big brother, the SM-9000. The massage chair has a considerably lower price tag than our top recommended pick. To provide you with those savings, Kahuna had to take out some notable features. First is the quality of the rollers. This machine still uses six rollers, but they’re much more limited in terms of movements. They’re merely 2D rollers, thus, they’re not as precise as the ones on the SM-9000.

Another flaw of this model is that it simply doesn’t have all the great extras as our top pick. It’s lacking Bluetooth speakers, has a less-intuitive remote control, and doesn’t allow you to save your own manual programs. Plus, the quality of materials is nowhere near as nice as the SM-9000.

When all is said and done, however, this is still a top-rated massage chair. If the lack of features isn’t a deal-breaker for you, the machine can still provide you with an enjoyable experience at far less price. There are massaging mechanisms at every turn and the chair comes with nine unique programs that all serve different purposes. The SM-7000 is a high-end massage chair that offers zero-gravity massages and a sleek design, so it’s well worth the investment.
Pros
  • Only needs three inches of rear clearance
  • Includes programs for athletes, office workers, and seniors
  • Fast muscle recovery mode
  • Uses tracker to customize programs to your body
  • SL-track rollers
  • Foot and leg massage
  • Optional leg cover
  • Treats entire body
  • Attractive LED light
Cons
  • No cup holder
  • Cheaper plastic used on armrests
  • No speaker or Bluetooth
  • No 3D rollers
  • No manual programs

Click here to check the price of the Kahuna SM-7300 on Amazon.

3. Medical Breakthrough 4 v2 Recliner Massage Chair

Medical Breakthrough 4 v2 Recliner Quick Features:

  • Medical body scan
  • Zero gravity design
  • Pre-programmed and customizable massages
  • L-Track rollers
  • 4D arm massage
  • Heat therapy
  • Chiropractic back stretch
  • Built-in wheels
  • Compression airbags
  • One-year limited warranty

Across the board, the massage chair from Medical Breakthrough does a pretty good job at giving you a world-class massage. The cool thing about this product is that it was designed by over 25 doctors and pain specialists. So, you know that it’s going to provide you relief when you need it most. A big part of what makes the massage chair so effective is the medical body scan. From the moment you sit down, the chair is actively measuring your body and adjusting to fit your height. This ensures that you’re getting massaged in all the right places.

The downside of this massage chair is that it doesn’t include 3D or 4D rollers. While the components do adjust, they don’t do as well of a job as imitating the hands of a masseur. With that being said, special attention was put towards the arm sections. The 4D technology takes care of your arms from every angle down to your fingertips. It’s an interesting feature that helps this massage chair stand out. Of course, while you’re enjoying your massage you can go into zero gravity mode. It puts you in the perfect position to enjoy everything that the rollers and 167 air cells can do for your body.

Pros
  • Designed by doctors
  • Simple to use
  • Customizable massages
  • Heating functionality
  • L-Track rollers extend to thighs
  • Medical scan adjust rollers from lower back to neck
  • Stretches spine
  • Includes 167 air cells
  • Extra cushioning available at no extra charge
  • Arm massage treats from shoulder blade to finger tips
Cons
  • No 3D back rollers
  • Foot massage does not adjust for height
  • No lights or audio speakers

Click here to check the price of the Medical Breakthrough 4 v2 Recliner on Amazon.

4. Kahuna LM6800 Massage Chair Recliner with Yoga

Kahuna LM6800 Quick Features:

  • L-Track with four rollers
  • Three different Zero gravity stages
  • Body scanning feature
  • Air bags located throughout
  • Dual foot rollers
  • Five manual massages
  • Six automatic programs
  • Three adjustable speeds
  • Heat therapy on back and calves
  • Three-year limited warranty

If you’re looking for a comfortable massage chair that can provide you with quick relief from the daily grind, this just might be the chair that you’re looking for. It’s made from Kahuna, so you can rest easy knowing that the quality is there. However, it does have fewer features than some of their other products. There are only four rollers in total. For the money you’re going to be paying for this chair, those rollers are capable of doing a lot.

In total, this good massage chair comes with six automatic programs. These include a Yoga stretching session and an SH-Chiro program. The latter program is designed to stretch your spine and reduce pressure. As the name would suggest, it’s capable of realigning your spine and getting rid of a lot of issues that stem from compressed nerves. It beats paying for regular chiropractic sessions. Not only that, but you get a ton of great extras, too. For example, you can take advantage of the zero-gravity position, multiple airbags, heating function, and dedicated foot rollers. Let’s see your chiropractor try to give you all of that!

Pros
  • Only requires three inches of rear clearance
  • Simple to use
  • SH-Chiro program
  • Yoga stretch program
  • L-Track rollers can decompress entire spine
  • Timer function
  • Provides deep shoulder massage
  • Performs five different massaging techniques
  • Washable cotton foot area
Cons
  • No cup holder
  • No manual memory function
  • Thin fabric on foot massage may make massage uncomfortable

Click here to check the price of the Kahuna LM6800 on Amazon.

5. Real Relax Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair

Real Relax Full Body Zero Gravity ShiatsuQuick Features:

  • Eight massage rollers
  • 50 compression air bags
  • Includes seat vibration system
  • Built-in heat therapy
  • Four auto programs
  • Three intensity settings
  • Three stages of zero gravity
  • Simple remote control
  • Three-year limited warranty

The Real Relax Massage Chair is one of the most popular options for those who are looking for great features at only a fraction of the cost. While this chair won’t give you everything you need for a full spa-like experience, it gets pretty close. The chair uses a series of eight rollers on your back and feet. The flaw of this model is that they don’t extend all the way down to your buttocks like on other machines. To make up for that, the manufacturers added a vibration pad, which is a nice touch.

Fortunately, the massage chair does offer full customization if you choose to use a manual program. There are some automatic options, but it’s quite limited. To round off the chair’s best features, it has three stages of zero gravity. As a cherry on top, you can use the massage chair as a recliner when it’s off. This makes it a great option for use in the living room.

Pros
  • Wheels for portability
  • Simple to use
  • Very customizable
  • Can be used as a recliner when off
  • Dedicated foot rollers
  • Timer function
  • Ergonomic arm rests
Cons
  • Rollers stop at lower back
  • Weak neck massager
  • No cupholder or extras
  • No stretch program
  • Takes up more room in zero gravity position

Click here to check the price of the Real Relax Full Body ZG Massage Chair on Amazon.

6. 3D Kahuna HM-078 Exquisite Rhythmic Massage Chair

3D Kahuna HM-078 Exquisite Rhythmic Quick Features:

  • 15 massage programs
  • Comprehensive HSL-Track
  • Five intensity levels
  • Three foot roller speeds
  • Extending leg massager
  • Over 100 airbags
  • 17 separate air control systems
  • Head massage
  • Controlled via smartphone app
  • Zero gravity position
  • Three-year limited warranty

The Hubot from Kahuna is one of our favorite massage chairs in terms of program availability. It has 15 different programs for you to choose from. They’re not simple options either. You can choose a massage for better sleep, Yoga stretching, sports recovery, and so much more. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also customize most aspects of your massage. There are multiple intensity settings. Plus, you have the option to turn individual air compression systems on or off as you please.

There are plenty of extra fancy features, too. It’s fully equipped to stream audio directly from your smartphone. You can even take control of the entire massage chair from a mobile app. It does have an attached remote, but the app is far more intuitive.

Pros
  • Massage wheels stretch from head to bottom
  • Built-in speakers
  • Programs for a variety of lifestyles and needs
  • Can accommodate up to 300 pounds
  • Heat therapy for back, legs, and feet
  • Available rhythmic compression massages
  • Ability to individually control airbag systems
Cons
  • Larger footprint
  • No memory function
  • No cupholder
  • Can only accommodate people as tall as 6 foot 1 inch

Click here to check the price of the 3D Kahuna HM-078 on Amazon.

7. RelaxonChair MK-II PLUS Full Body Zero Gravity Massage Chair

RelaxonChair MK-II PLUS Full Body Zero Gravity Quick Features:

  • L-Track roller system
  • Four automatic programs
  • Five manual programs
  • Performs kneading, tapping, Shiatsu, and rolling massages
  • One-handed remote control
  • Three zero gravity positions
  • Three levels of airbag intensity
  • Dedicated dual roller for feet
  • Two lumbar heating pads
  • Zero gravity position
  • Three-year limited warranty, structural warranty for additional two years

While RelaxonChair is a lesser-known brand, this massage chair offers loads of great features for the price. One of the chair’s strongest suits is the rolling massager. There’s an L-track that extends down to your glutes. Once you put the chair in the zero-gravity position, your body weight does all of the hard work for you to get relief on your spine and back.

Another thing that we like about this model is its remote. Most massage chairs have a simple remote with only a handful of buttons. However, this one takes the cakes in terms of design. It’s meant to be used with one hand. There’s even a handy little screen to give you in-depth information about what your massage chair is doing. Sure, the remote control doesn’t do much to affect the overall massaging performance of the chair. But, it does help you explore the machine’s features comfortably.

Pros
  • Beautifully designed remote
  • Body scanning feature
  • Rollers move down to glutes
  • Spinal decompression program
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • No cupholder, speakers, or lights
  • No heat therapy for legs
  • Takes more room in zero gravity position

Click here to check the price of the RelaxonChair MK-II PLUS on Amazon.

8. BestMassage Zero Gravity Full Body Electric Shiatsu Massage Chair

BestMassage Zero Gravity Full Body Electric Shiatsu Quick Features:

  • Long roller track
  • Computerized body scan
  • Six massage modes
  • Zero gravity design
  • Dedicated foot roller
  • Five massage programs
  • Built-in speakers
  • Space-saving technology
  • 32 airbags
  • Two heating pads
  • Intuitive remote

Finding a solid massage chair at this price point is not easy. However, this model from BestMassage goes above and beyond our expectations. We like the unique LSS-track system. Like most L-Track roller setups, it extends below the seat to provide some relief to your glutes. What makes it different is that it’s designed with noise levels in mind. Regardless of the intensity level you choose, it’s quiet and pleasant to use.

The massage chair offers zero gravity positioning. To ensure that it doesn’t use up too much space, only six inches of clearance is needed. In this regard, the chair falls behind some of our other top picks. But, it’s still much more space-conscious than other massage chairs on the market. From an aesthetics standpoint, the chair looks great. It has a modern flair that helps it stand out in a sea of basic designs.

Pros
  • LSS-Track reaches under the seat
  • Body scan automatically customizes massage
  • Automatic programs for Thai and Chinese massages
  • Zero gravity position only requires six inches of space
  • Quieter than other options
Cons
  • Fewer airbags than other models
  • Only two heating pads
  • No memory function
  • Remote control requires both hands to operate

Click here to check the price of the BestMassage Zero Gravity Massage Chair on Amazon.

9. FOREVER REST FR-5Ks Zero Gravity Massage Chair

FOREVER REST FR-5Ks Zero Gravity Quick Features:

  • Seven massaging techniques
  • Four automatic programs
  • Independent foot rollers
  • Quad roller
  • Zero gravity design
  • Three intensity settings
  • Three roller width settings
  • Airbags on shoulders, legs, arms, and calves
  • Seat vibration
  • Heat therapy
  • Five-year warranty on frame, three-year warranty on parts

If you’re on the lookout for a massage chair that’s versatile enough to work for a wide range of people, consider the FR-5Ks from Forever Rest. There is no body scanning function. But if that’s not an issue for you, there is an option to extend the leg massager to accommodate taller people. The caveat is that you must extend it manually. The good news is that the leg and foot massager is quite robust. Compression bags are used around the calves while dedicated acupressure rollers are used under the feet.

Despite those positive benefits, problems start to pop up when we get into the back area. Roller mechanisms are used. Unfortunately, they don’t extend past the lower back. To make matters worse, there are no airbags in the back area at all. They’re reserved for the shoulders, arms, and legs. Aside from those low points, the massage chair offers a range of programs, all of which can be customized.

Pros
  • Versatile program options
  • Acupressure massage on feet
  • Remote control has LCD screen
  • Vibration pad stimulates glutes
  • Includes Yoga stretch program
  • Telephone support every day of the week
Cons
  • No airbags on back or hips
  • No body scan
  • Leg extender requires manual adjustment
  • Requires more room in zero gravity mode
  • No cup holder or extras
  • Rollers stop at lower back

Click here to check the price of the FOREVER REST FR-5Ks on Amazon.

10. Tinycooper Massage Chairs by Ootori

Tinycooper Massage Chairs by Ootori ReviewedQuick Features:

  • Eight massage rollers in back
  • Separate foot rollers
  • Three intensity settings
  • Three airbag compression settings
  • Zero gravity design
  • Two heating pads
  • Seat vibration
  • Weight capacity of 287 pounds
  • Three-year warranty

Don’t let the lower price tag of this massage chair fool you. It has some great features available. The chair offers a full-body massage from your shoulders down to your feet. The foot massager has its own spinning rollers. They’re paired with compression airbags around the ankles and calves. Up top, there are eight rollers to perform the massage. That’s much more than expensive models.

Though, the downside of the robust roller system is that they don’t operate on a long track. In fact, they stop short of going under the seat. Instead, there’s a vibration pad. While it can still provide a decent massage, the lack of an L-Track is a bit disappointing. The chair does make up for it with the airbags though. You can easily adjust the intensity to suit your needs. To keep you safe and comfortable, the airbags have sensors that prevent them from getting too tight. This is a great feature that should be implemented in more massage chairs.

Pros
  • Powered by five separate motors
  • Weighs less than other chairs
  • Vibration pad stimulates can improve circulation
  • Air pressure detection system
  • Easy-to-use remote
  • Smaller footprint
Cons
  • No heat therapy for legs
  • No airbags on back
  • Lower weight capacity
  • Can’t adjust for height
  • No cup holder or extras
  • Rollers don’t go past lower back

Click here to check the price of the Tinycooper Massage Chairs by Ootori on Amazon.

11. Ootori Electric Full Body Massage Chair

Ootori Electric Full Body Quick Features:

  • 3D massagers
  • Eight rollers in back
  • Curved massage rail
  • Vibrating seat pad
  • Zero gravity position
  • Waist heating pad
  • Seat vibration
  • Foot rollers
  • Multiple auto programs
  • Three-year warranty

For those interested in a massage chair that doesn’t use traditional rollers, we present this Ootori model. This machine uses what the brand calls “manipulators.” Essentially, they’re smooth kneading balls that are meant to replicate the feeling of fingers. They do a pretty good job in this regard and offer a unique sensation when compared to rollers. One of our favorite things about this massage chair is that there are eight sets of massagers. The two on the top are a bit larger to provide great neck relief.

Like some other lesser-known brands, Ootori opted not to use a full track system for the rollers. Instead, there’s a vibrating pad. Plenty of airbags are implemented throughout, though there are none on the lumbar area, which is a bit of a sour spot for this massage chair. Luckily, it makes up for it in the customization department. In addition to being able to adjust speed and intensity settings, you can move the massagers to fine-tune where you’re getting treated.

Pros
  • Simple controls
  • Massage heads move in many positions
  • Rhythmic airbag program
  • Massagers automatically adjust to your height
  • Can adjust speed, intensity and position of massage heads
  • Covered in durable synthetic leather
Cons
  • Heating pad only covers lower back
  • No airbags on back
  • Takes up more room in zero gravity position
  • Thin fabric on foot roller may be uncomfortable for some
  • Massagers don’t extend past back

Click here to check the price of the Ootori Electric Full Body Massage Chair on Amazon.

12. Titan Chair Apex AP-Pomp Zero Gravity Massage Chair

Apex AP Pomp

Quick Features:

  • L-Track rollers
  • Heat therapy in lower back
  • Series of rollers under foot
  • Space-saving zero gravity design
  • Gliding massage head
  • Body scanning feature
  • Four auto massage programs
  • Foot rollers
  • Airbags in foot, calf, thigh, and shoulder
  • One-year parts and labor warranty

One of the first things you’ll notice about this massage chair is its unique look. It takes on a “space pod” design motif, which is a refreshing change from the standard chairs we typically see. The shape isn’t just about aesthetics, but also the functionality. You see, the curved back already puts your body in a comfortable position. When you’re ready to go into zero gravity mode, the massage chair doesn’t need too much additional room in the back to get you there. It only requires two inches of wall clearance, which is considerably lower than some other models.

Design aside, this nice massage chair has a lot to offer. It uses L-Track rollers that can provide relief all along your spine. There’s even a body scanning feature that will adjust the movement of the rollers to accommodate your unique spine curve. When you consider the chair’s extendable leg section and customizable program options, you’re looking at a very versatile massage chair.

Pros
  • L-Track goes under the seat bottom
  • Only requires two inches of wall clearance
  • Foot massage is adjustable
  • Remote and control panel
  • Fully adjustable manual modes
  • Body scan adjusts to curvature of spine
Cons
  • Heating pad only covers lower back
  • Must make leg adjustments manually
  • no cupholder or extra features

Click here to check the price of the Titan Chair Apex AP-Pomp on Amazon.

Why You Should Trust Us

Like most Americans, we know what it’s like to experience muscle pain and discomfort after a long day of work. Our team is comprised of people from all walks of life. Some of us are avid athletes who are constantly pushing their body to the limit while others spend their time sitting at a desk performing creative work. Despite our differences, there’s one thing that we all have in common: the need for relaxation and relief.

We all strive to take care of our bodies. While there are a lot of people out there who don’t invest in self-care, we have firsthand experience using products that are designed to improve mental and physical health. This includes massage chairs. The members of our team are just like you. We don’t want to spend money on a machine that doesn’t serve our needs well. Instead, we prefer to purchase products that are efficient and long-lasting.

So, we’ve performed countless hours of research and used products in all price ranges. This experience with massage chairs has helped us identify what features make the biggest difference in terms of comfort and relaxation. Throughout our investigation, we also learned more about how massage chairs work and what they can do to improve your everyday life.

On top of all of that, we took a closer look at what other massage enthusiasts think about products. Alongside our own findings, we have taken overall brand reputation and user feedback into account. All of these factors have been combined to create this guide and recommend our top picks.

If you are looking for recommendations that are well-researched and unbiased, we’re here to help. We look at each massage chair individually to better understand what it has to offer. Then, we compare it to other options to see how different chairs stack up. So, why should you trust us? Because we take care of all the hard work for you. We use our expertise and real-world experience to provide you with the valuable information you need. All while keeping things balanced and honest.

What are the Health Benefits of a Massage Chair?

massage chair reviews

Massage chairs aren’t just a luxury. They provide many benefits that can improve your health and mental state. The history of massage therapy goes back several thousand years. The first texts came from ancient China. This text was published in 1949, but it’s estimated that it was written in 2700 BC.

As a testament to how effective massages can be, much of the same techniques in the text are still used today. Here are some of the most notable ways that regular massages can benefit you.

  1. Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Tension

    Stress and anxiety are a huge problem in America. In fact, anxiety affects over 40 million adults in the country. That’s more than 18 percent of America’s entire population. Unfortunately, not enough people take anxiety seriously. Stress is your body’s way of telling you that you need to change your environment or situation. It’s not just an emotional response, but rather a chemical one inside your body. Failing to address stress is healthy way can lead to a host of serious health issues later on down the line.

    Getting massages on a regular basis beats dealing with the ramification of stress later on. When you have the opportunity to relax with a massage, your body’s cortisol levels drop by up to 30 percent. Cortisol is a stress hormone that’s released by your adrenal glands. It’s responsible for that “fight or flight” feeling that you get whenever you’re faced with a stressful situation or overall uncertainty.

  2. Relax and Loosen Sore Muscles

    Whether you like to stay active or not, muscles are prone to damage with excessive use. Pushing your body too far or performing physical movements that you’re not used to can result in muscles that feel tight and tense. In most cases, this uncomfortable feeling is a direct result of microscopic injuries. Tears within the muscle fiber can lead to inflammation.
    A massage forces your body to relax, tight muscles and all. A couple of different things happen during a massage that leads to a relaxation response. Your breathing gets slower and your overall blood pressure goes down. In the area that you’re getting massaged in, circulation is improved. With better blood flow to the area, your muscles are finally able to release all of that tension they’re bottling up. This can reduce pain and speed up the recovery process.

  3. Relieve Postoperative Pain

    No one likes dealing with postoperative pain. Depending on the procedure that was done, it may take several months for the pain to subside. On top of that, you may be bedridden or unable to move around your home freely. It’s like being trapped in a world of hurt.

    Luckily, massage therapy is used quite extensively for postoperative recovery. Research has shown that massages can help decrease pain and even accelerate the rate of recovery. It’s not just conjecture. There’s a lot of science backing up that claim. Essentially, massages affect how neurons react to signals of pain. After an operation, large neurons in the spinal cord can amplify pain signals, making the whole ordeal feel much worse than one would expect. Massages prevent that amplification process from occurring, effectively decreasing pain levels and improving overall comfort.

  4. Improve Blood Flow

    Proper blood circulation is a crucial part of good health. Your heart needs to be able to deliver vital oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body. Poor circulation deprives your organs and muscles of the things they need to thrive. As a result, many health issues can occur.

    The very nature of getting massage helps to improve circulation in just one session. You see, as pressure is applied to your muscles, the congested area can be cleared. The squeezing and pulling motions flush out the fluids that are causing you muscle pain and allow fresh blood to come in. Because the new blood is enriched with oxygen and nutrients, improved circulation to your muscles can lead to faster recovery.

  5. Boost Immune System

    Your immune system is meant to fight off disease and keep you healthy. Though, lifestyle choices and certain medical conditions can cause it to weaken. This is especially true with older individuals.

    Despite all of the other health benefits that massages provide, it wasn’t until recently that scientists were able to show that the activity can help to strengthen the immune system. Ultimately, it all comes down to your blood. A deep massage improves circulation throughout the body. Not only that, but it increases white blood cell activity. Because your blood can flow through your body better, those white blood cells can work harder to prevent illnesses from taking hold. More specifically, it’s the lymphocytes that are affected. They’re one of three different types of white blood cells.

  6. Help Fibromyalgia Pain

    Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disease that can affect everything you do. It’s a serious disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain. Those who suffer from it can experience daily pain even if they didn’t do anything to strain their muscles. About four million people in the United States are diagnosed with the condition. While there are a variety of treatment options available, regular massages can complement them.

    The reason that massages are so effective is that it targets specific muscles while also benefiting the entire body. As we mentioned earlier, massages help the muscles relax. Your body’s natural reflexes to the pressure applied are to stretch, which can make the fibers more pliable and less likely to rupture.

    Additionally, the increased circulation helps. As your body starts to relax, your circulatory system will flush out pain-causing fluid, which is the primary culprit of muscle pain.

  7. Mobilize Lymphatic Circulation

    Perhaps one of the most noticeable benefits of getting a massage is pain reduction. We mentioned earlier that increased circulation gets rid of pain-causing fluids. Those fluids are called lymphatic fluids. They are part of your lymphatic system, which is responsible for delivering toxins away from organs and tissue.

    As you exercise or exert more physical energy than you’re used to, lymphatic fluids start to build up in your muscles. That increased pressure is, in most cases, the main cause of muscle pain. It takes some time for the fluids to be released naturally, especially if your lymphatic system isn’t doing so great.

    A massage gets those fluids flowing. Deep tissue massages are the most effective for this job. The stimulation of your muscles paired with the improved circulation of your blood and lymphatic system can cause the fluids to drain out pretty quickly.

  8. Alleviate Pain and Headaches

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could relax in a massage chair instead of reaching for that bottle of pain pills whenever you experienced a headache? Headaches are fairly common. They can be caused by certain stimuli you were exposed to and may take several hours to subside.

    There are a number of reasons why you’re feeling pain. Most often, the awful sensation is caused by tension in the muscles around your head. Poor blood flow can also be the culprit. Whatever the case may be, a massage can treat it. Like we said earlier, massages can dramatically improve blood circulation and force your muscles to relax. Pain relievers, while effective, use drugs to achieve those same results. A massage is an all-natural alternative.

  9. Decompress and Improve Spine Alignment

    One of the biggest issues of hard labor and physical jobs is back pain. 80 percent of all Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life. While there are a couple of different reasons why your back may be causing strife, muscle problems are one of the most common.

    You see, as the muscles in your back tense up, they can affect your spinal alignment. They can push your vertebrae out of position, which makes you susceptible to a host of other problems in the future. Your spinal cord is a crucial part of your central nervous system. So, any pain caused by your back muscles can feel amplified.

    Typically, spinal decompression is the way to deal with spinal alignment issues. However, massages can help, too. Why go through an awful procedure to get relief when you can just lay back in a massage chair? The functions of the chair will get rid of tension in those back muscles and promote healing.

  10. Improve Posture

    You don’t have to be an athlete to experience muscle pains. For many people, poor posture is the offender. When your body is in an unnatural position, your muscles, joints, and tendons will react negatively. Your muscles will become tense while your joints will cause unnecessary pressure on sensitive spots.

    Getting a massage is a lot like hitting the “reset” button on your body. As your muscles relax, they will naturally align themselves back to where they are supposed to be. This may come as a surprise, but most cases of bad posture are a direct reaction to pain. You experience some discomfort standing or sitting a certain type of way. So, you shift positions without even thinking about it. Over time, your body will just get used to going into these positions. By resetting the natural position of your muscles, you can avoid those subconscious movements. To see the best results, it’s recommended that you get massages regularly.

  11. Reduce Muscle Tension

    Muscle tension is usually caused by injury and inflammation. When the muscles are overworked, the tiny fibers making up you the tissue are torn. Your body’s natural defense mechanisms kick into gear, causing inflammation. Unfortunately, things don’t always get better with time. Those tears have to heal. Scar tissue is formed, which results in tight muscles that have much less mobility than they once did.

    So how does a massage help? Well, the pressure that’s applied to the muscles helps to break down the scar tissue. Scar tissue is much tougher than the muscle tissue. If you have ever experienced a physical scar on your skin, you’ll notice that it’s thick and discolored. The same thing happens inside your body as well. By breaking down that tissue, your muscles can properly heal.

  12. Generate More Flexibility

    When the scar tissue is manipulated, you may also experience another great benefit. Because that tight feeling is removed, your flexibility is improved. The localized pressure is sort of like stretching. While you may be doing nothing but sitting in a massage chair, your muscles react to the pressure by lightly flexing. Over time, you’ll notice better agility and more mobility.

    Massages can even help to improve joint health, which affects flexibility. Like muscles, joints can get stiff with time. A massage can cause produce more joint fluid, which makes it easier for them to function without any issues.

  13. Regulate High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is an issue that can have lasting effects on your health. Severe health complications can occur if you don’t take the steps to reduce your blood pressure levels. These include strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, and more. High blood pressure is no joke. It’s estimated that over 75 million people suffer from it.
    While your diet and activity levels can affect your blood pressure, one factor that contributes to it is much harder to manage. Stress levels can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket. In times of extreme stress, you’re at a higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.

    Massages are great for managing stress levels. Your body’s natural production of stress-causing hormones decreases significantly after just a single massage session.

  14. Reduce Pain of Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is a fairly common issue that plagues people all over the world. People with osteoarthritis don’t have the support in their joints that they need to stay comfortable. Wear and tear breaks down the crucial cartilage that cushions the joints. Without that support, the joints can cause immense pain. This leads to decreased mobility and noticeable stiffness.

    Massages are often a regular part of the treatment plan for osteoarthritis sufferers. Localized massages in the knees, legs, and arms promote relaxation. The muscles surrounding the joints are able to release their tension. Also, the increased circulation may result in more joint fluid, which can do wonders in terms of comfort. Many osteoarthritis sufferers experience less pain and more flexibility after a short targeted massage.

  15. Decrease Stress in Cancer Patients

    If you’re dealing with cancer, stress can take its toll. Battling cancer is no easy endeavor. Depending on the type of treatment you’re using, you may be faced with constant illness and fatigue. To make matters worse, your body is undergoing big changes. All of these factors add up to increased stress.

    Many cancer hospitals have started to implement massage therapy into their treatment routines. They have found that regular massages help patients manage their stress levels better. From a biological standpoint, massages reduce cortisol levels while increasing endorphin levels. Endorphins are hormones that are responsible for joy and positive feelings. Those changes can have a significant effect on a patient’s mental well-being.

  16. Enhance Exercise Performance

    For seasoned athletes, massages are simply another part of the training regime. That’s because they can improve performance over time. A deep tissue massage is capable of speeding up the recovery process after an intense workout. Not only but, a targeted massage is capable of improving flexibility and range of motion. Pair those benefits with increased blood circulation and you have the perfect recipe to help your body reach its peak performance level.

  17. Improve Balance in Older Adults

    Once people start to get older, many bodily functions are affected. One of the biggest is balance. Whether you realize it or not, your balance directly affects everything you do. It helps to keep you safe and aware of your surroundings at all times. Once the sense of balance starts to go, you’re at risk for serious injury. Slip and fall accidents are more common than they should be. About a third of all people over the age of 65 report a fall every year.

    Massages can be used as a tool to combat balance issues. The biggest way that massage therapy can help is by improving circulation. A common complaint among seniors is that they start to lose the feeling in their lower body. Eventually, this causes a bit of a disconnect, increasing the likelihood of a fall. Increase circulation can help to restore feeling in the legs and improve proprioception.

  18. Sleep Better

    Do you have issues falling asleep at night? If so, it’s not something you should take likely. Insomnia can lead to a number of issues the longer it goes unaddressed. Not only do have decreased alertness while you navigate the world, but your physical health can also take a toll.

    There are many reasons why people experience sleep issues. However, lower serotonin levels are commonly found in people with insomnia. Serotonin is a hormone that’s responsible for making you feel calm and light. Massages are all about relaxation. We already know that a massage can decrease stress hormones. You’ll be happy to know that the activity is also capable of triggering more serotonin production as well. So, kiss those sleepless nights goodbye.

  19. Keep Depression at Bay

    All of the previous benefits play a big part in keeping depression at bay. It’s estimated that over 300 million people suffer from depression. Though, that’s only an estimate. There’s likely to be many more that suffer in silence. Plus, there are people who have chronic depression over long periods of time.

    It’s a real epidemic that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, there are far too many factors that contribute to depression. Physical pain, emotional stress, ongoing anxiety, and so much more can cause people to feel void and emotionless. A massage can help in many ways. Not only are you able to address issues that are causing depression in the first place, but the activity can also cause a chemical response in the brain.

    Massages have been shown to trigger more endorphin production. Endorphins can increase mood levels and produce more positive emotions.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Massage?

best massage chairs

Beyond the previous health benefits, there’s a lot that getting a massage can do for you. Massage therapy is a broad form of treatment. It’s used to tackle a ton of different health conditions and ailments. The coolest thing about massages is that they can be focused on one central area. Even still, you can reap the benefits throughout your entire body.

Types

Before we get into some of the benefits, it’s important to know that there are several different types of massage techniques. This ancient practice goes back thousands of years. While modern humans have definitely put their own spin on things, many of the same methods are still used today.

  • Swedish Massage

    Swedish massages are, by far, the most well-known out there. However, the techniques used in a Swedish massage are relatively new compared to ancient practices. The advent of the practice is usually credited to Pehr Henrik Ling, who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    A Swedish massage focuses on providing deep pressure through long strokes. Masseurs will often use the palms of their hand or a balled-up fist to manipulate the muscles. For circulation purposes, the gliding motion is usually aimed in the same direction as the blood’s return to the heart. Occasionally, percussive movements are made as well. These massages are great if you’re looking for something that’s relaxing yet energizing.

  • Deep Massage

    Commonly referred to as a deep tissue massage, this technique is one of the most effective for muscle relief. There are good reasons why it does such a great job at helping you recover from pain. First, involves deep kneading motions that penetrate much further into your body than a Swedish Massage. This action helps to break down scar tissue and forces your muscles to relax.

    Secondly, the friction of the masseur’s hands gliding over your muscles causes some slight separation from the muscle tissue. Injuries can cause the fibers to become scrambled and out of order. That intense pressure and constant movement work to realign them.

    If you’ve never had a deep tissue massage before, there’s nothing to fear. The intense sensation you feel can be rather jarring at first. Just relax and let the masseur or massage chair do its job. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling bliss.

  • Sports Massage

    As the name would suggest, a sports massage is all about addressing aches and preventing injuries. World-class athletes often have masseurs on hand in locker rooms and training centers. That’s because the constant wear and tear of the job can quickly take its toll on the body.

    The cool thing about a sports massage is that it’s usually targeted. While you can experience the benefits throughout your whole body, having some special attention to specific spots can make all the difference. Muscle-tendon junctions are at the core of sports massages.

    A buildup of lymphatic fluids and micro-injuries can have a noticeable effect on a player’s overall performance and agility on the field or court. So, sports massages are performed regularly around the legs, arms, and hips. In terms of technique, the masseuse will use methods that are similar to those found in a deep tissue massage. However, their movements are focused more on quick muscle recovery, improved range of motion, and pain relief.

  • Trigger Point Massage

    Have you ever had muscle aches that seemed to affect other parts of your body too? If so, you were likely experiencing a trigger point. These are more commonly referred to as a muscle knot. Trigger points are very localized. While muscle aches usually affect all of the tissue in the area, trigger points are localized to one small spot. The fibers become tight, resulting in significant pain. The weird thing about a knot is that it can also cause neck or back pain, even if the knot is on your leg.

    A trigger point massage focuses on that offending spot. Masseurs have to find where the knot is located and figure out how it’s spreading. To address it, they will typically apply firm pressure. After a few moments, they’ll release. This process is repeated until the muscle fibers are able to finally loosen their grip and stop radiating pain.

Now that you know a little more about the types of massages that you can get, let’s take a look at how they can benefit you in a practical real-world situation.

  1. Temper Effects of Dementia

    If you know someone who suffers from dementia, you understand how life-changing it can be. The disease can completely change a person and make it difficult to live a normal life. Over five million people suffer from it but there’s no known cure.

    While scientific studies are still ongoing, it’s believed that massages can help to stave off some of the effects of dementia. The disease affects the brain and mental ability. So, many dementia patients have a hard time creating connections between themselves and those around them.

    A massage helps to break down those walls a bit. Not only are they getting the benefits of human touch and compassion, but they’re also able to eliminate some of the stress that’s associated with the disease. Patients can quickly become irritable due to the ongoing struggles they have to deal with every day. By eliminating some of that stress and anxiety, dementia sufferers are able to control mood swings. Even something as simple as a hand massage can help.

  2. Promote Relaxation

    Let’s face it, everyone needs a little more relaxation. A difficult job and busy home life make it hard for most people to just get a few moments of peace. Massages are centered around the idea of rejuvenating your mind and body. You don’t have to be in any physical pain to get one either. As long as you’re willing to relax, a massage can benefit you.
    Even if you have a hard time unwinding, a massage will get you there. As we talked about earlier in this massage chair guide, a good massage will cause more positive hormones to be released. After your session, you’ll feel calm, clear-headed, and relaxed. The best kind of massage for relaxation is a Swedish massage. Though, any form will give you great results.

  3. Lower Blood Pressure

    Deep tissue massages and Swedish massages are a great option if you’re looking for a natural way to lower your blood pressure. Of course, it’s always recommended that you make some lifestyle and diet changes as well to ensure that the improvements stick. But, massages can do wonders all on their own.

    Once again, it’s the increased blood circulation that saves the day. With regular massages, your body has an easier time transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Even the lymphatic system benefits. Better flow ensures that toxins can be filtered out of your body.

  4. Decrease Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Most people think that a desk job is one of the safest you can have. While they certainly keep you away from all of the hazards outside your office, they can actually cause you more harm in the long run. Aside from affecting your posture, working on a computer is one of the leading causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.

    The repetitive motion of typing away on a keyboard can result in a crucial nerve being pinched. What ends up happening after that is nothing short of awful. You’ll feel numbness and pain that can extend all the way up to your arm. Worst of all, the most common fix to carpal tunnel syndrome after you get it is surgery.

    Needless to say, it’s best to avoid this at all costs. One way you can do that is by getting massages. More specifically, a trigger point massage will benefit you. The muscles and tendons that cause your fingers to move are partly responsible for pinching the nerve that causes pain.

  5. Help Chronic Neck Pain

    Chronic neck pain is often a result of poor posture, muscle strains, and overuse. In some cases, the issue isn’t even located in the neck. A muscle knot from another part of your body may be a big contributing factor to the problem.

    While you may not be able to get rid of the pain forever due to its chronic nature, a massage can decrease its severity. Just make sure that you get a massage regularly. Studies found that more frequent massages provided more reliable pain benefits.

  6. Lower Joint Replacement Pain

    Recovering from a joint replacement is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Your body is having to get used to an entirely new joint. In most cases, these procedures don’t address the surrounding tendons or muscles that work alongside the joint. So, when you factor in the problems that arose before you had a joint replacement, you’re looking at a long road to recovery.

    Massages are frequently included as part of the treatment process before and after surgery. Prior to the replacement, massage therapists will use sports massage techniques to alleviate pain at the muscle-tendon junction. After the replacement has been done, the massages are focused on reducing any swelling you may be experiencing. The sessions are also designed to help you manage pain and regain mobility.

  7. Increase Range of Motion

    Sports massages are typically the go-to when it comes to improving range of motion for a particular muscle. Because the technique targets problem areas, you’re able to focus on any problems you’re having. With that being said, deep tissue massages work great too.

    Massages can benefit your range of motion a couple of different ways. The first is by relaxing the muscles around the joints and by strengthening the tendons. Stimulating these areas can reduce tension and promote proper circulation. The second way a massage can help is by breaking down scar tissue. Deep tissue massages will make the tissue more flexible and ready to move.

  8. Decrease Migraine Frequency

    The terms “migraine” and “headache” are often used interchangeably. However, migraines are a chronic problem that affects millions. The unique thing about a migraine is that it occurs in various stages. During the very first stage, many migraine sufferers can usually tell that there’s trouble brewing.

    As much as 72 hours before any pain is felt, the body starts warning sufferers of a problem. One of the most common signs is neck pain. By eliminating that pain when you first feel it, you may be able to stop the migraine from occurring. It’s not an exact science. Studies are being done to see how massage therapy can benefit migraine sufferers.

    Even once you get the migraine, you can use massage therapy to get some relief. The increased circulation and muscle relief you feel can alleviate many of the symptoms that come with a migraine.

  9. Improve Overall Quality of Life

    Whether you decide to get a monthly massage at your local spa or choose to do one every single day with a massage chair at home, you’ll notice a vast improvement in your quality of life. There are so many different factors that go into your overall happiness and well-being. As you can see in this buying guide, a lot of those issues can be resolved with a massage.
    By getting a massage to keep those benefits going, you’ll be able to avoid bodily pain and keep your mental state in a good place. Remember, massages are designed to help you relax. They can force your muscles to let loose and cause a change in your hormone levels. All of these elements can drastically improve how you live your day to day life. Massage enthusiasts will often say that they can’t afford to not get a good massage. Judging by all the things a massage can do for you, it’s not hard to see why.

  10. Reduce Chemotherapy-Related Nausea

    Chemotherapy is the most common treatment option for cancer. While it can help patients get into remission, it also has a ton of bad side-effects. Nausea can affect people at every stage of their chemotherapy treatment. Acute nausea kicks in within a few hours and may last a full day. Then, there’s delayed nausea, which can affect people a full five to seven days after they have had treatment.

    Massage therapy can be a great way to reduce the effects of nausea. Studies were performed to test that hypothesis. The results showed that a 20-minute massage before getting chemotherapy reduces the overall severity and length of nausea symptoms. Not just by a small margin either.

What are Some of the Risks Associated with Massage Therapy?

human touch technology massage chair

In this world, nothing is without its risks. Massage therapy is no different. Most people view getting a massage as a safe activity. However, some things can go wrong. Keep in mind that the following risks are relatively low. More often than not, therapy sessions are completed without a hitch. With that being said, it’s important to keep them in mind the next time you’re thinking about scheduling a massage. Many of these risks have increased prevalence at massage parlors and spas because all of the equipment is shared.

  • Infectious Skin Disease

    Like we said, that comfortable massage chair that you’re going to be using at the spa has been used hundreds, if not thousands of times before you. Who knows what types of infectious diseases the person who just left that massage room was carrying. While masseurs go to great lengths to keep things clean and sanitized, accidents still happen.

    It’s a very real possibility that you could experience a staph infection. One of the newest strains of MRSA, the bacterium that causes staph infections, can be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact. To make matters worse, the bacterium can continue to thrive for many days on surfaces.

    Most massage tables are covered in a slick material like vinyl or leather. The non-porous nature of the covering makes it the perfect environment for MRSA to stick around.

    If you contract MRSA from your massage session, you may experience rashes and boils on the surface of your skin. Sure, those issues are uncomfortable and painful, but they’re not the worse thing that can happen. Staph infections are capable of entering your bloodstream and invade several organs. These types of infections are the most serious. They have the potential to be deadly.

  • Rashes

    These are one of the more common negative side-effects of getting a massage. With the way massages are performed, the surface of your skin is experiencing a lot of friction. That’s why oils and lotions are used. The fluid acts as a lubricant to let the masseur’s hands glide over your body unencumbered. However, that doesn’t always stop the skin from becoming slightly damaged during the session. Massage chairs may also cause rashes. While the massaging mechanism is covered, getting into an awkward position can result in chaffing or rashes.

    Another reason why rashes occur is allergic reactions. At a spa, there are plenty of potential allergens lurking in those products. Chemicals, fragrances, and cleaning agents don’t react well to sensitive skin. So, you may want to reconsider using them if you’re prone to allergic reactions.

  • Unhealed Wounds

    Massaging a part of your body with an unhealed wound in a big no-no. It’s true that massages are capable of breaking down scar tissue within your muscle tissue. But treating a wound that’s still fresh can do way more harm than good. In fact, any professional masseur will downright refuse to treat the area until it has fully closed and healed.

    The biggest risk is ripping the wound open again. Whether you have a surgical incision or a flesh wound, there’s a chance that the massage could stop the healing process and put you back at square one. This applies to both professional massages and sessions in a massage chair. It’s important to wait until the wound is entirely healed before you treat it to a massage.

  • Risks Immediately After Surgery

    There’s some contention among professionals about the risks and benefits of massage therapy after surgery. On one hand, it may help to prevent the buildup of scar tissue while also reducing your overall stress levels. On the other hand, you have the risk of reinjury.

    You should never get a massage on the affected area immediately after surgery. The incision point is essentially an open wound that’s just waiting to be reopened. The key to recovery is to taking things easy and avoiding overexertion that could tear the stitching apart. If you do plan on getting a massage, make sure that you avoid the incision site completely.

  • Using Blood Thinners

    Blood thinners are a form of medication that’s meant to treat high blood pressure. They keep blood clots from forming and help your blood circulate through your arteries without any issues. While they can do a lot to keep you healthy, they do have some side-effects.

    One is that they make you more prone to bruising and bleeding. It’s important to exercise caution when getting a massage. Those on blood thinners have a higher risk of internal bleeding from the pressure that’s being applied to the body.

  • Circulatory Ailments

    Earlier, we talked about how massages can help to lower your blood pressure and improve your circulatory system. While this remains true, there are some risks involved if you already have high blood pressure. There’s always a possibility that you could experience a circulatory ailment, such as blood clot.

    People with high blood pressure often have plaque within their arteries. It’s essentially hardened clumps of fat and cholesterol. They attach to the walls of the arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow. During a massage, the pressure that’s applied could theoretically dislodge that plaque and form a blood clot.

    Those with deep vein thrombosis are at a higher risk of blood clots because the affected veins are deep within the body. Deep tissue massages can easily put pressure on those veins.

    Some other issues you could experience include phlebitis and varicose veins. Both of these issues revolve around direct trauma to the vein. With varicose veins, a damaged valve can result in blood flow stopping altogether. Instead of moving out the vein, it will pool inside it, resulting in that bulging and discolored appearance. Phlebitis is also caused by damage. However, it results in inflammation.

  • Inflamed or Infected Injuries

    Injuries that are inflamed or infected should not be subjected to the pressure from a massage. Whether you’re being massaged by a chair or the hands of a professional, the movements and pressure of the massage can irritate the affected area even more. Massages work wonders when your muscles are inflamed under the skin. But when it’s near the surface, you’ll want to leave it untouched.

  • Areas That are Bleeding and Heavy Tissue Damage

    Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid getting a massage if you are bleeding or have heavy tissue damage. Bleeding injuries require time to heal. Clots need to form to stop the flow of blood. The constant friction of a massage will prevent this from happening. Any coagulation that has already occurred could be broken, resulting in continued bleeding.

    When it comes to heavy tissue damage, there’s always the risk of making things worse. Serious muscle tears could be made worse with pressure. On top of that, the massage may not feel that great when you’re dealing with a severe injury that requires medical attention.

  • At the Sites of Recent Bruises, Sprains, and Fractures

    Massages can actually help fractures and sprains heal by improving circulation and muscle tone. However, that’s only true if the injury has had some time to heal first. Getting a massage too soon is not recommended. Like other injuries, the effects of deep tissue manipulation can set the healing process back.

    The same goes for bruising. Bruises are burst capillaries underneath the skin. The last thing you want to do is apply even more pressure to the capillaries when the bruise is fresh. Give it some time and let the issue heal before you hop on your massage chair.

  • Immediately After Chemotherapy or Radiation

    Radiation and chemotherapy are very taxing on the body. People will experience not only nausea but also overall weakness and body pains. Massages can indeed help reduce nausea. But, the massage needs to be done before the treatment session. Doing so afterward can lead to some problems.

    You see, cancer patients have fewer red and white blood cells after radiation and chemotherapy. So, if they were to get a deep tissue massage, there’s a good chance that they will get bruises over the treated area.

  • TIP: Get Your Doctor’s Approval Before Opting for a Massage Chair

    For better or for worse, massages can have a big effect on your overall health. Before you purchase a massage chair, clear it with your doctor first. They understand the health risks involved and know about your current circumstances better than anyone else. If using the massage chair could be detrimental to your well-being, your doctor will provide their professional guidance.

What are the Benefits of Owning a Massage Chair?

benefits of owning a massage chair

We know that massages have a lot to offer in terms of physical and mental benefits. But what about a physical massage chair? How do they compare to going to a masseuse? Read on to find out.

  1. Round-the-Clock Massage – Who needs to schedule a massage at a spa when you can just go home and use a massage chair? Robotic chairs are the best of the best when it comes to at-home comfort. Gone are the days of having to call a masseur and finding an appropriate block of time that fits both of your schedules.
    Whether you need comfort in the middle of the day or the dead of night, having a massage chair in your home lets you relax around the clock.
  2. Auto Massage Techniques – Our favorite thing about using a massage chair is the many different techniques available. At a spa, you have to pay for individual sessions. Most masseurs will charge you a different rate based on the technique that’s used. With a massage chair, they’re all included. This gives you the chance to get a truly customized massage that treats your body perfectly. Here are some of the most common techniques you’ll find.
    Kneading: Kneading can push, pull, and stretch your muscles for ultimate relief. It’s the most common technique used on commercially available massaging devices and they closely imitate the motions of a masseur’s hand. Depending on the intensity of the equipment, kneading may be able to give you a deep tissue massage.
    For massage chairs, the kneading technique is performed by a set of thick moving rollers. Some models use rotating finger-like apparatuses while others are bit thicker to push and pull your tissue efficiently. Regardless of the design of the massaging equipment, the kneading technique can be used to relieve tense muscles once and for all.
    Tapping: The tapping technique is used to replicate the feeling of a standard Swedish massage. The chair will perform quick percussive movements on your body. The intensity of the tapping will vary based on the massage chair model and its applicable settings. Some tapping massagers are quite intense and work to manipulate deep muscles. Others are on the gentler side and are focused more on getting the blood flowing.
    Rolling: As the name would imply, the rolling technique is performed by large cylindrical massage heads. The smooth surface of the rollers makes it easy for the heads to glide right over your body. During the process, the massage chair will push and pull your tissue. It’s capable of stretching your muscles, improving circulation, and more. Plus, it just feels great!
    Shiatsu: Developed over a hundred years ago, the Shiatsu techniques is a favorite among massage lovers. The term literally means “finger pressure.” That should give you a good idea of what the massage technique feels like. It’s more focused and precise. Rather than applying pressure to a large surface area at once, this mode will feel like numerous fingers applying localized pressure to only a few spots.
    Kneading/Tapping Combination: If you are looking for a massage chair that can offer a realistic imitation of a Swedish massage, make sure that it has this massage technique. Swedish massages are so loved because of how flexible they are. Masseurs will switch between deep tissue movements to light tapping with no warning at all. The sensation feels great and gives your muscles some time to breathe during the session.
    A good massage chair can easily replicate the feeling you get at a spa. They will use unique massage heads and clever programming to keep your body guessing.
  3. Lower Back Relief – Lower back pain is pretty common. It’s usually caused by straining and issues with the vertebral discs. While we can’t see them that well, the lower back has many different muscles that can affect your comfort. When those muscles are over-exerted, the close proximity to your spinal cord can make the pain nearly unbearable.
    If you should ever experience back pain, a massage chair is a must-have. They often have features that get right where the issue is located. Rollers, airbags, and large massage heads can move the tissue and provide relief. Best of all, you don’t have to get into a weird position to use it. The massage chair will find the sweet spot for you.
  4. Zero Gravity – During your search for the best massage chair, you’re probably going to encounter the term “zero gravity” quite a bit. This refers to the design of the chair and the position it puts you in. Many massage chairs are built to elevate your feet and legs over your heart. This puts the stress off your spine, which is much more comfortable than normal positions. Why is called zero gravity? It’s the position that astronauts are in when they launch into space.
  5. Enhanced Comfort – Massage chairs are built with the primary purpose of making you comfortable. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making yourself presentable. You’re at home, so why not get comfortable and put on your favorite TV show while you relax?
  6. Muscle Stretch – Some of the best massage chairs on the market are capable of stretching your muscles as if you were getting ready to run a marathon. Unique features like airbags and traction rollers can make this possible. Not only does it feel great, but it can also decrease your chances of getting injured afterward.
  7. Spine Pressure Relief – Physical massages can affect your spine to provide muscle relief in your lower back. Even though a machine is doing all the work, massage chairs are fully capable of doing the same thing. This is done by targeting your spine and providing a bit of traction.
  8. Great Investment – Don’t let the upfront costs of a massage chair scare you away. These things can last a decade or longer with proper care. It’s a worthy investment that beats paying for expensive spa sessions.
  9. Foot Massages – Comfort and relief don’t end at your legs. Many chairs offer foot massage features as well. A great foot massage can improve circulation to your lower extremities and prevent any pain from migrating up to your back. Furthermore, they can help you avoid foot issues like bunions and corns.
  10. Heating Therapy for Entire Back and Legs – Adding heat into the mix can take your massage to the next level. Heating functions are pretty common in handheld massagers. Massage chairs have the equipment to produce a soothing warmth all over the backs of your legs, thighs, and back. This feature is perfect for runners and athletes. The added heat speeds up the recovery process and dilates the blood vessels for better circulation.
  11. Yoga Stretching – Want to get the feeling of doing yoga without actually performing any of the positions? A powerful massage chair can do just that. Stretching modes will pull your muscles to simulate the sensation of yoga. Over time, you may notice more flexibility.
  12. Full Body Massage – Many top-rated massage chairs can give you a whole-body massage in one single session. They’re filled with massage heads that are capable of treating your entire body at once. No more paying for individual sessions. Just sit back and relax.
  13. Improved Blood Circulation – Because these products treat your entire body, you can experience significant gains when it comes to blood circulation. The tissue stimulation gets things flowing pretty quickly. This can lead to better overall health and faster recovery after a workout.
  14. Saves Time and Money – Finally, one of the biggest benefits of owning a massage chair is the time and money saved over the life of the product. Professional massages cost a pretty penny. Most people simply can’t afford to do massages regularly. However, massage chairs eliminate those recurring costs. After the initial investment, you can use the chair as often as you want. Furthermore, you can use them whenever you need some mental and physical relief. Whether you only have five minutes or a full half-hour, it’s enough time to use a massage chair.

Buying Guide for Massage Chairs

massage chair buying guide

Finding the best massage chair for you and your family might be harder than you think. These devices are incredibly complex, leading to a lot of variety on the market. To ensure that your purchase can serve you well for years, you need to consider all aspects of the product. We’ve created this buying guide to help you learn more about what’s on the market and how to distinguish a good massage chair from a great one.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Buying a Massage Chair

The key to finding the right massage chair is to consider how you’ll be using it. Answering the following questions can help you determine what features you need most.

  • What is My Available Budget?

    A top massage chair is not going to be cheap. There’s a lot of advanced technology and intuitive design that goes into creating them. With impeccable design comes a higher price tag. They can set you back several thousands of dollars, so budget accordingly.

  • What Types of Massage Features Do I Need?

    The massaging techniques offered can make or break your experience. Consider your preferences. Some chairs offer a variety of massage choices while others are more limited. Here are some of the most common massaging features you’ll find and what they’re best used for.

    Kneading: Kneading uses pressure to move muscles against each other. It’s can relieve pain, increase flexibility, and loosen tight muscles.
    Tapping: Tapping is used for providing localized pressure to stiff muscles. It can improve flexibility and enhance your body’s circulatory system.
    Compression: Massage chairs with compression features will apply pressure by squeezing your muscles. It can help with muscle recovery and tension.
    Rolling: Rolling aids with muscle tension and is capable of providing pain relief on the lower back.
    Shiatsu: Shiatsu massages on chairs are performed with unique heads and airbags. It’s best for relaxation and reducing tension.
    Special Techniques: A special technique is one that’s unique to a specific massage chair. Many manufacturers will come up with their own massaging programs to offer something that its competitors don’t have. You may see stretching programs, combination massage modes, and more.

  • Which Chair Size Will Suit My Body and Weight?

    While most massage chairs are pretty large, they’re not going to provide the same levels of comfort for everyone. Remember, these machines can treat your entire body. To do that, massaging equipment is placed strategically throughout the chair’s frame. If you’re too tall or too short, the massaging heads may not align with your body as well as they should.

  • Where Will I Place the Massage Chair?

    Will your chair be placed in a cramped living room or spacious office? This is an important thing to think about. Most chairs are larger than your average recliner. Factor in the space required to operate the machine and you’re looking at a considerable footprint.

  • Are There Any Trusted Brand Preferences?

    There’s no shortage of companies producing massage chairs. However, some brands have a better reputation than others. Consider how long the company has been in the industry. The first commercially available massage chair was offered by the Family Fujiryoki company. To this day, they continue to make massage chairs for Japan.

  • Where Is It Made?

    As with any product, the location of the manufacturing facility can affect the overall quality. Many modern massage chairs are made in China. Though, you can find some companies with facilities in the United States.

  • Warranty, Repairs, and Customer Support

    One surefire way to ensure that you’re going with a good brand is to check out their warranty policies and customer support. Big-name brands go above and beyond to keep their customers happy. Massage chairs are not a cheap product by any means. So, it pays to have a brand that’s going to keep supporting your purchase long after you buy it.

    Warranties can vary from brand to brand. Most offer a one-year warranty, at least, to cover any parts issues. In the event that your massage chair stops functioning, the company will take care of any repairs at no cost to you. Be warned, the terms of a warranty can be finicky. There may be stipulations that make the warranty void. Also, some companies utilize a staggered warranty system.

    With this option, the company may offer a warranty on mechanical repairs for the first year, cover replacement parts for the second, and take care of frame and structural components during the third year. Read the fine print carefully to ensure that you’re not faced with a sudden expense if you need repair work done.

    To go along with the warranty, it’s good to have a customer service department that you can call. Not only will they be able to answer any questions you may have about the warranty, but they can help you make the most out of your massage chair. The support team knows the company’s products inside and out, so they have your back if you need some assistance at some point.

  • Tip: You Get What You Pay For

    The biggest tip that we can give you is to not go cheap when it comes to buying a massage chair. With other products, you may be able to go with a cheaper option to save some money without sacrificing quality. However, a massage chair should be treated like a big investment. Lesser-known brands with questionable reputations aren’t going to be able to offer you the same level of quality as an established company.

    To provide that lower price tag, cheaper brands have to sacrifice quality in many areas. They may use inferior parts that don’t last as long, skimp on construction, or remove important massage features. A flimsy chair isn’t going to help you get that level of peace and comfort you’re after.

    While you should always stay within your budget, don’t pull the trigger on the massage chair with the lowest price. Instead, you should consider all of the features that a chair has, what it’s capable of doing, and how it can help you relax.

What Key Features to Look for When Shopping For a Massage Chair

massage chairs at parlor

If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to massage chairs, there’s a lot to consider. High-end models are filled to the brim with comfort features. On the opposite end of the price spectrum, you may find chairs with only a handful of ways to help you relax. When you’re shopping, look for the following key features that could ultimately make or break your massage experience.

  • Air Bags: Air bags serve a few different purposes. Typically, they are used in massage chairs for compression therapy, which has the potential to improve circulation. However, they can also be used as another way to apply pressure. When placed on the back or shoulder area, the bags inflate against your body and use your weight to apply firm pressure to the massage area.
  • Body Scan: With this feature, your massage chair will be a jack for all trades. Built-in body scanners play an important role in customizing the massage for your unique body composition. The scanners, which are built into the body of the chair, can measure your height, weight, and spine curvature. The information gathered from the scan adjusts the massage heads to work for you. This is a great feature to have if there will be multiple people using the massage chair in your home.
  • Massage Intensity: Having the ability to adjust massage intensity on a whim is important. You’re not going to need a high-intensity session every single day. Sometimes, it’s nice to just spend a few minutes getting light relief. Most models offer a range of intensity options to suit anyone’s needs.
  • Heat Massage: Heat and massage therapy are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together. When you add heat to the pressure that’s being applied to your body, your muscles can relax faster and your circulation can improve noticeably. Massage chairs can use heated pads and infrared rollers to produce warmth. Most have the heat centralized on your lower back, where it’s most effective. Though, some can also produce heat throughout the entire body, including the feet.
  • Massage Rollers: Rollers do a magnificent job at replicating human touch. When placed in massage chairs, they feel a lot like human hands gliding over your back. They can move in virtually any direction to get your blood flowing.
  • Auto Programs: There’s a reason why masseurs take years to get certified. Massages can get very complex in terms of technique and where pressure is applied. Auto programs combine numerous massaging methods to provide you with a specific experience. Needless to say, having a wide range of program options is always best. You’ll be able to choose the intensity, treatment area, and the type of results you want.
  • Remote Control: A remote puts the controls of your massage at your fingertips. Instead of having to get up to make adjustments, you can control the intensity and program straight from the seat. A remote controller also makes the massage chair safer, as you can turn it off before you get up.
  • Bluetooth Compatibility: Bluetooth is an advanced wireless protocol that allows you to stream content from one device to another. Many massage chairs have built-in audio speakers. With Bluetooth compatibility, you only need to connect your smartphone, tablet, or computer once. After that, the connection will be established automatically.
  • S-Track Technology: An S-Track refers to the arrangement of the massage rollers. There are a few different options available but S-Track technology is considered to be one of the best. This feature gets its name from the sinusoidal curve of the spine.
    Massage rollers are attached to the chair with a track. With an S-Track, the roller stretches to make contact with your body from the shoulders down to the lower back.
  • Head Massage: Massaging features up to your shoulders and neck are relatively common. What’s rarer is head massages. Massage chairs with this feature have small massagers that cup around the sides of your head. Not only are they relaxing, but they’re especially useful for headaches and migraines.
  • Neck Massage: Like head massagers, equipment behind the neck area can provide you with a number of benefits. The relaxing pressure applied to this area can help alleviate tension in your head and spine. As a result, other areas are relaxed as well.
  • Shoulder Massage: Chairs with shoulder massagers typically use S-Track technology. They might also combine compression airbags to relieve tension. One of the most common forms of shoulder massage features has a large kneading ball. It follows the shoulder blade line to apply pressure to the accompanying muscles.
  • Outer Shoulder Massage: The outer shoulder is an often neglected area when it comes to massages. Luckily, there are plenty of massage chairs that use airbags to compress the deltoid muscles, providing relief to aches and tension.
  • Back Massage: All massage chairs are going to offer some type of back program. In fact, these machines were first designed with the sole purpose of providing back rubs. While they have come a long way since the first prototype, a lot of the functionality remains the same.
    Typically, rollers are used to treat the area. However, some brands take advantage of S-track rollers and airbags.
  • Hip Massage: High-end models may have some features that are specific to your hips. They’re focused on aligning the hips and the spine while also applying pressure to the muscles. In most cases, airbags are used.
  • Leg Massage: To give your legs some attention, massage chairs will use a variety of different techniques. Some have an L-Track which is a modified version of the S-Track. In this case, rollers are capable of reaching the upper legs and hamstring. Other options include full-leg cuffs. They wrap around your calves and use a combination of air compression and rollers to soothe the muscles.
  • Foot Massage: Is there anything better than a deep foot massage after being on your feet all day? Some of the best massage chairs have dedicated footwells to take care of them. You may also be able to customize the program to suit your needs.
  • Air Compression Massage: Air compression massages are a very common feature that’s used to accompany rollers and kneaders. Essentially, the built-in airbags will inflate and deflate sporadically based on the program. This applies some compression to your body, which has been shown to improve circulation.
  • Foot Airbags: Great for heel and ankle pain, foot airbags apply comfortable pressure around your entire foot.
  • Foot Rollers: Like the rollers used on the back of the massage chair, foot rollers create smooth and even pressure. It’s designed to mimic the feeling of a masseuse gliding their fist over the ball and heel of your foot.
  • Calf Rollers: Calf pain is a result of overstretching. If left untreated, the calves can remain tight for several days. Calf rollers work to alleviate pressure and improve circulation.
  • Leg Extend: A leg extending feature is ideal for those who are sharing their massage chair with someone of a different height. Using the body scanning technology, the leg area will extend to ensure that the massagers are working the right areas.
  • Leg Stretch: With a leg stretch feature, you can prepare yourself for a workout and recover afterward. The feature applies pressure to your leg to mimic the sensation of doing Yoga. This gets the blood flowing and stimulates the muscles to ensure that they are prepared for activity.
  • Vibration Massage: If you’re looking for a feature that’s going to stimulate your glutes, vibration is what you’re looking for. While many models use rollers to treat from your shoulders down, the added benefit of vibration ensures that your entire body is getting taken care of.
  • Zero Gravity: As we talked about earlier, a zero gravity massage chair is capable of taking all of the pressure off of your spine. To do this, the chair will recline and put your body in a unique position. Your feet will be at the same level or slightly higher than your heart. As a result, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump your blood to your lower appendages.
    On top of all of that, this position puts every ounce of your weight onto the body of the chair. Your natural body weight will press onto the massaging heads, making your massage feel deeper and more relaxing than you ever thought possible.
  • 2D Massages: 2D massages use rollers. The “2D” title refers to the degrees in which the rollers can move. For this type of massage, the rollers can move up, down, left, and right.
  • 3D Massages: With 3D massages, an extra dimension is added. Not only can the rollers move in the same ways as a 2D roller, but they can move in and out of the massage chair for increased pressure.
  • 4D Massages: Finally, there are 4D massages. These are the most advanced of them all because they take timing and speed into account. They are programmed to provide a true-to-life experience.
  • LED Lights: If you have ever been to an expensive massage parlor, you have probably noticed that the rooms are dimly lit with soft candles. This is done to create a relaxing environment. Massage chairs achieve those same benefits with LED lights.
  • Recline: The alternative to zero gravity chairs are reclining massage chairs. While they don’t take all of the weight off your spine, they are much better than sitting upright. Reclining features move the back of the chair to the rear and kick your feet up, allowing you to get into a more comfortable position as you relax.
  • Muscle Stretch Massage: Muscle stretch massaging features can go by many different names. Whether they’re called “stretch” or “yoga” programs, they operate with the same technology. Air compression is the key here. The bags inflate to apply even pressure around your entire muscle. This results in light stimulation to improve circulation and flexibility.
  • Memory Feature: With the sheer number of features available to you, massage chairs make it easy to get a personalized massage whenever you want. When you find those perfect settings, a memory system will come in handy. You can save the settings for quick return later.
  • Spinal Stretch: This is a hallmark of many high-end massage chairs. It often works alongside zero gravity features. Essentially, the chair will put your body in a position that takes the pressure off your vertebrae. Then, rollers and massage heads get to work to put the surrounding muscles at ease. It’s one of the most effective types of massages for reducing back pain and posture issues.
  • Acupressure Points: Acupressure is a staple of Shiatsu massaging techniques. Massage chairs aim to replicate that sensation by gripping onto your body and applying fine-tuned pressure to specific muscles. It’s great for dealing with trigger-point issues.
  • Manual Control: Having a bevy of preprogrammed massages is good, but having the ability to create your own programs is even better. You can choose your favorite technique and adjust the settings just how you like them.
  • Durability and Build Quality: Beyond the features inside the massage chair, you should take a good look at how the piece is built. There are a lot of moving parts, so you’re going to need a massage chair that can withstand some wear and tear. Pay close attention to the weight of the unit. Heavier chairs typically indicate that higher-quality materials were used. Also, examine the upholstery to ensure that you won’t have to deal with fraying at some point.
  • Easy Accessibility: Take a look at the control panel or remote of the massage chair you’re interested in. Does it look like you can easily figure it out or will you need a few days to sift through the owner’s manual beforehand? Because of how many options there are, most massage chairs have a robust control panel. However, some are easier to understand than others. Look for things like accurate labeling and intuitive button placement if you’re on the hunt for the most accessible option.
  • Cup Holder: Why not pop open a bottle of wine or enjoy a refreshing glass of cold water while you’re getting your massage? A cup holder will make sure that your drink is always on hand. Despite all of the vigorous motions of your massage chair, the cup holder should be able to help you keep things mess-free. Plus, they’re a good spot to store the remote control and handbook.
  • Silent Operation: With all those moving parts, there’s going to be some noise to deal with. Luckily, most massage chairs are relatively quiet, hovering around 40-50 decibels. To put that into perspective, normal conversations are usually 60 decibels. Consider the noise levels the chair produces. This is important when it comes to placement and relaxation. Louder chairs aren’t going to do much to get your mind off things and may need to be placed away from bedrooms to avoid disturbing others.
  • Seat Vibration: In early massage chair designs, vibrating seats were the primary feature. Today, they’re still very common. They can help to stimulate the gluteus muscles and the back of your thighs.
  • Portability: Massage chairs aren’t known for being easy to transport and store. They’re usually larger than average recliners and weigh significantly more. With that being said, there are some models out there that can be moved on a whim. They usually have durable wheels, allowing you to roll it to a different room without much effort.
  • Space Saver: If the size of a massage chair is a deal-breaker for you, you’ll be happy to know that some models come with a space-saving feature. These chairs are capable of folding up whenever they’re not in use. This minimizes the impact the chair has on your home and makes it possible for those with limited space to enjoy the benefits.

Common Types of Massage Chairs

The term “massage chair” is quite broad considering just how many options are available. They’re all purposefully engineered with your comfort in mind. Still, there are several types of massage chairs that do the job differently. To help you pick out the one that’s right for you, here’s a quick breakdown of chairs you’ll encounter.

  1. Standard Massage Chairs

    Standard massage chairs are the most common. They’re moderately priced and come with most of the basic features. These include things like vibration, back rollers, and reclining. The exact features you’ll get will depend entirely on the massage chair brand, but more often than not, the high-end technology is absent.

  2. Full-Featured Massage Chairs

    As the name would imply, these chairs have all the bells and whistles to treat most of your body at one time. In addition to the standard stuff, full-featured chairs usually have leg massagers, multiple programs, and heating.

  3. Shiatsu Massage Chairs

    A Shiatsu massage chair is focused on relieving tension at critical points on your body. To imitate the feeling that you’ll get from a professional Shiatsu masseur, rollers are used to apply refined pressure.

  4. Reclining Massage Chairs

    At first glance, a reclining massage chair may look like your Dad’s old recliner. However, they hide massaging features inside. The key distinguishing feature of these types of chairs is that the back portion tilts to the rear and a built-in footrest pops up.

  5. Zero Gravity Massage Chairs

    Zero gravity massage chairs take the abilities of a recliner to another level. Instead of just kicking your feet up, your entire body is moved to a position that’s similar to that of astronauts taking off. Your weight is distributed evenly and is fully supported by the chair, resulting in maximum comfort and relaxation.

  6. Ottoman Massage Chairs

    If you’re looking for a budget-friendly massage chair, ottoman may be for you. Some of the earliest robotic massage chairs were accompanied by ottomans. They don’t recline. However, the included ottoman lets you put your feet up while the main chair does all the work.

  7. Portable Massage Chairs

    Typically used by professional therapists, portable massage chairs are very easy to lug around. They may have thick caster wheels or feature a simple design that can be used with traditional chairs. Because of the portable build, they’re not as full-featured as some other options.

  8. Massage Office Chairs

    A massaging office chair is great for those who sit at a desk all day. In terms of aesthetics and design, they look pretty similar to your average board room chair. However, vibration massagers, rollers, and lumbar support are all included.

  9. Massage Chair Pads

    As the most affordable product in this category, massage pads are quite limited when it comes to functionality. They’re foldable pads that can be used with any standard chair or sofa. Just lay it down, plug it in, and go. Most massage chair pads have vibration features and heating elements to soothe your muscles.

What Are Some of the Best Massage Chair Brands That I Can Trust?

massage chairs in the mall

During your search, you’ll find a number of different massage chair brands. Some of them have decades of experience and plenty of positive reviews. Others are a bit more questionable. You should always examine everything that a brand has to offer before making a hasty decision. However, there are some notable brands that you should consider.

  • Kahuna: With over two decades of experience, Kahuna is a solid company to go with. They have a very good reputation in the industry and produce some of the finest products around.
  • Medical Breakthrough: Medical Breakthrough is a unique company that was started by a group of doctors and medical professionals. They aimed to create chairs that could provide comfortable chiropractic and massage services from home. They currently have an impressive line of products available.
  • Panasonic: Panasonic has been in the game for over a hundred years. They were one of the first companies to introduce a household massager. Since the introduction of the first massaging chair, they have continued to evolve their designs and offer customers great options.
  • Osaki: Osaki is a reputable distributor that offers a variety of machines. They are currently the distributor for Titan, which is a popular brand of massage chairs all over the world.
  • Infinity: With some of the most beautifully designed chairs on the market, Infinity has captured the attention of many. Beyond the good looks of its products, the company is known for including advanced technology. Best of all, they treat their customers well by offering good warranties.
  • Human Touch: As their name would suggest, Human Touch is all about creating massage chairs that produce a true-to-life experience. They have been in business for over forty years and continue to come up with new innovations.
  • Luraco: Luraco is an engineering firm based out of Texas. What makes this brand so unique is that they have a scientific approach to creating products. It’s obvious that they put a lot of thought into every feature. Many of their massage chairs have won awards for design, innovation, and technology.
  • Inada: This company is based out of Japan, which is one of the leading consumers of massage chairs. Inada was started over 50 years ago. To this day, they continue to create quality chairs with high-quality features Japanese models are known for.

How Do Massage Chairs Actually Work?

You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but massage chairs are very complex machines. Several small components contribute to the larger picture. Beneath the fabric and upholstery, you’ll find a series of massage heads and their accompanying mechanical gear. Today, massage chairs are highly evolved pieces of machinery that are engineered to deliver amazing results. However, they didn’t always start off that way.

  1. A Little History About Massage Chairsold massage chairs

    The first patent for massage chairs was filed back in 1948 by Robert A. Labbe. Looking back on it now, the design looks more like a medieval torture device than a machine made for comfort. It featured a stool mounted on a pedestal. Behind that was a tall metal frame. When someone sat on the stool, another person could turn a series of cranks to make the chair vibrate and cause the rollers to move. Even then, the first prototype was compatible with some additional accessories to change up the massaging experience.

    While the initial design was praised, massage chairs didn’t grow into popularity until about a decade later when a Japanese company started to produce them commercially. Even today, massage chairs are much more common in Japan than anywhere else in the world. It’s estimated that 20 percent of households have one. In other parts of the world, the devices are slowly gaining traction.

  2. Components of a Massage Chair

    A lot has changed since the infancy of commercial massage chairs. If you were to remove all of the upholstery and take a look at a chair’s insides, you would find a complicated mass of mechanical gears and technical equipment. They all work in tandem to deliver the best massage you’ve ever had. To fully understand how these chairs work, let’s examine some of those components and what they do.

  • Vibration Wheels – Compared to the other types of equipment in a massage chair, vibration wheels are pretty simple. These devices are virtually identical to the one found inside your phone, albeit much larger. Essentially, vibration is caused by a spinning wheel that’s weighted. The centrifugal force caused by the weight imbalance leads to the vibration. The motion of the wheels is supplied by powerful motors.
  • Rollers – Rollers operate on a moving track. Some manufacturers use only a couple of wheels while others use a series of them. Whatever the case may be, the track moves in the direction of the massage to apply pressure. The wheels themselves are made out of firm plastic. They’re smooth, ensuring that they can glide over your body unencumbered.
    If the massage chair has 3D rollers, the array may look a bit different. Instead of placing the rollers on individual tracks, they might be placed on a large metal fan. As the fan turns, it simulates the feeling of a masseuse applying pressure and letting go. It sounds complicated, but it’s a relatively simple design that happens to work great for massages.
  • Airbags – To compress muscles around your legs, airbags are used. Inside the body of the chair hides a small air compressor. The compressor is connected to the bags via a series of small tubes. Valves may also be included to start and stop airflow at specific intervals based on the massage program. When the compressor kicks on, it will deliver air to the bags so that they inflate and apply pressure.
  • Microprocessor – So how do all of these components know how and when to move? They’re connected to a microprocessor. The small chip stores all of the information about how the various parts move. To provide massage programs, manufacturers will save the data on the microprocessor. Depending on the size of the processor, you may also be able to save custom programs that you created yourself. Essentially, it’s the brains of the entire operation.
  1. Taking Control of Your Massage Chair

    Obviously, seeing all of those massaging apparatuses would make your relaxation much less appealing. So, manufacturers hide it under plush upholstery. However, the components still need to be told what to do. That’s where the control panel and remote control come in. The buttons that you press are all wired to the microprocessor. Once you turn the chair on and start fiddling with settings, those signals are sent to the chip. In turn, it sends a signal to the various massage components.

Types of Massages Enjoyed by Massage Chair Owners

  • Swedish – As one of the most popular techniques employed by salons, it’s a no-brainer that massage chair manufacturers would implement this technique into their products. Like hand massages, chairs will provide long and firm strokes while taking into account where your heart is. While some of the techniques finer strokes are used as well, the rollers are the primary component that’s used. A Swedish massage is ideal for improving circulation, releasing tension, and just relaxing.
  • Shiatsu – Massage chair owners love Shiatsu programs because they can reduce stress, boost the lymphatic system, and speed up recovery times after an intense workout. Like Swedish massages, rollers are the name of the game. However, they work more strategically with a Shiatsu massage. To reproduce the feeling of fingers, the rollers will pat, press, and sweep across critical points on your body.
  • Deep Tissue – Great for relieving muscle aches, a deep tissue massage can work for anyone. Massage chairs use the rollers to apply deep pressure and reach areas that you wouldn’t normally be able to massage yourself. The rollers do a superb job at realigning muscle fibers and breaking down scar tissue.
  • Rolling – Rolling massages aren’t targeted for one specific benefit. That’s because it can be used throughout your entire body to reduce tension and get comfortable. Primarily, rollers can be found on the backs of chairs. They’re focused on your shoulders and spine. Most programs move the rollers up and down.
  • Kneading – Kneading massages are similar to rolling ones. They use the same rolling mechanism inside the massage chair. Though, the biggest difference is how they move. For kneading massages, the rollers move in a circular motion. It’s very similar in terms of sensation to the kneading motion of hands.
  • Tapping – Again, tapping massages use the rollers to get the job done. Instead of moving up and down of in a circular pattern, however, tapping is like pushing and pulling the rollers out of the upholstery. They’re programmed to push in and out of your skin.
  • Gripping – Typically used around the legs, gripping massages feel wonderful and can alleviate pain in the calves. It’s the same type of feeling you get when you’re trying to get rid of tension on your own. The airbags repeatedly squeeze and release your calf muscles to get the blood flowing.
  • Air Compression – On other parts of your body, airbags can be used to provide an air compression massage. It’s ideal for the hips, neck, feet, and more. The airbags inflate at a faster rate and release periodically. This provides localized pain relief.
  • Stretch – Stretch massages operate similarly to air compression massages. However, instead of targeting a specific muscle, they are designed to stretch muscle groups. It helps to relieve tension and prepare your body for a workout. It has the same effect as performing physical stretches.
  • Zero Gravity – Perhaps one of the most comfortable options around, zero gravity massages are beloved in the massage chair community. Once initiated, the massage chair will move your body to a position that takes away the stress from your muscles, joints, spine, and heart. Then, the chair’s various components will get to work on your entire body.

Full Body Scanning

It is a great way to get a massage that’s personalized to your body and needs. Because no person is the same, massage chairs have to use some advanced technology to see how it can help you. There are a few ways that chairs do this.

The first is through a back scan. Essentially, the rollers are capable of detecting where the pressure is. Tense muscles don’t have as much give as relaxed ones. It uses this information to determine where the massaging components need to focus.

The rollers can also be used to calculate your height. As they roll over your back and to your shoulders, the system can detect where your body ends. It can then adjust the program to suit your shape.

One of the most advanced scanning methods uses infrared technology. It’s advanced enough to take heat signature readings of your body. This data is used to find particularly tense spots, which the massage chair can then focus on.

Automated Massage Sessions

If you don’t feel like making adjustments on your own and simply want to get the best massage possible, you can use an automated session. The massaging apparatuses can follow preprogrammed settings that are stored within the microprocessor.
To get started, all you have to do is get into the massage chair and press a few buttons on the remote.

How Often Should I Use a Massage Chair

Numerous studies have shown just how good massage therapy is on your body. Most people can see great results by getting a weekly massage. If you choose to get a massage more frequently than that, you’re golden. Unfortunately, due to the high costs associated with visiting a spa, most people treat massages as a luxury.

With a massage chair, nothing is preventing you from getting a massage each and every day of the week. Sticking to a regular massage routine can lead to impressive health benefits and an improvement in your overall well-being.

Massage Chairs to Get Rid of Chronic Pain

Approximately 50 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re one of those people, try using a massage chair three to four times a week. The chair can help you manage your symptoms and finally get the relief you’re after.

With that being said, always listen to your body. Start off slow and work your way up. Use the chair’s adjustment systems to make the session work for your unique needs.

Massage Chairs for Ultimate Relief and Relaxation

If the stresses of your job and daily life take a toll on your well-being, a massage chair is there to help you out. Getting a massage every other day can help you stay on top of anxiety. However, the beauty of owning a massage chair is that it’s always there. If you’re having a particularly stressful day and want to relax, don’t be afraid to use your massage chair as often as you need it.

What Happens if you Overuse a Massage Chair?

Getting frequent massages can lead to some wonderful benefits. However, there does come a point when you run the risk of some bad side effects. The key to avoiding overuse is managing your session time. While you can have a massage every day to stay relaxed, you need to make sure that the massage session itself isn’t too long.

Most massage chairs have a timer for safety. They usually last for about 15 minutes, which is more than enough time to relax and treat your muscles. At that point, the chair will turn off automatically. While you can certainly override that functionality, you must do so sparingly. Falling asleep during a massage is very common. The last thing you want to deal with is bruised skin and aching muscles after sleeping on a running massage chair all night.

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Pregnant Women

Massage therapy has been used by pregnant women for centuries. It’s the one thing that most pregnant women can do safely. Here are some notable benefits that using a massage chair can provide during your child’s gestation period.

  1. Decreased Depression and Anxiety
    About a third of all pregnant women experience anxiety and depression at some point during their pregnancy. With all of the physical and hormonal changes the body goes through, it’s not hard to see why. A massage chair can release positive hormones to help combat these issues.
  2. Lessened Leg and Back Pain
    One of the biggest complaints that women make during pregnancy is the bodily pain it causes. The extra frontal weight puts an increasing amount of stress on the muscles in the back and legs. Luckily, those are things that a massage chair will have no problem addressing.
  3. Less Pain During Labor
    Some studies have suggested that women who use a massage chair before labor experience less pain than normal. This is due to the increased hormone production that massage chairs provide.
  4. Cut Labor Duration by Three Hours
    The same studies showed that, on average, the time it took to birth a baby was cut by about three hours. It’s important to note that the research included massage therapy. Because massage chairs provide many of the same benefits, it’s safe to assume that they can also help achieve these results.
  5. Lessen Need for Medication During Labor
    Using a massage chair may even decrease the need for medication to manage the pain. It’s theorized that this is due to the increase in Cortisol hormones and stimulation of pressure receptors in the body.
  6. Decreased Risk for Premature Births
    Approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely each year. While many factors go into premature birth, one of the biggest is believed to be stress. As a result, massage therapy can help to avoid early births. Mothers who utilized massage therapy saw decreased levels of stress hormones.

Which Massage Chair Features Should I Avoid During Pregnancy

Even with all the positive things that using a massage chair can do for you during pregnancy, some features need to be avoided. Some massage chair brands advise that all pregnant women should avoid them. However, if you steer clear of the following features, you should be good to go.

  • Heating Massage: Heating massages, while comfortable, put your baby at risk. This is because it increases your overall body temperature. During the gestation period, babies respond to even the slightest change in temperature, so it should be avoided completely.
  • Shiatsu Massage: During a Shiatsu massage, acupressure points are stimulated. During this process, several muscles in your body react. As a result, there’s a risk that a Shiatsu massage could induce labor.

When Should You Avoid Massage Chairs During Pregnancy?

For the most part, you can use your massage chair during your pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association says that it’s safe to start getting massages at any point. However, there are some periods when you may want to avoid it.

  • First Term:
    During the first trimester, there’s a higher risk of miscarriage. Some believe that the increased blood flow that’s caused by massages could be harmful.
  • High-Risk Pregnancies:
    During a high-risk pregnancy, mothers need to be as careful as possible to avoid any possible harm to themselves or their baby. Many issues could deem your pregnancy high-risk, so consult with your doctor for guidance.
  • A History of Pre-Term Labor:
    If you have had a premature birth in the past, it’s best to avoid using your massage chair. As we mentioned earlier, there’s a chance that the stimulation of pressure points could induce labor.
  • Pre-Eclampsia:
    Pre-Eclampsia is a condition that causes high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling in pregnant women. The improvements to your circulation from a massage could exacerbate this issue.
  • Swelling or Inflammation:
    Swelling in the feet and legs is fairly common as pregnant women gain weight. However, chronic problems could require medical attention. Again, the issue with using a massage chair lies in how it affects the circulatory system.
  • Severe Headaches:
    Like with swelling, getting a massage during a headache could lead to some issues because of the increased blood flow to the area. While simple massages with your fingertips may work to resolve the problem, it’s not recommended that you use a massage chair.
  • Severe or Shooting Back Pain:
    Sometimes, massages can actually cause more pain. If you try to localize the massage to your lower back, there’s a chance that you could experience more pain in the muscles of the pelvic girdle.

Common Misconceptions About Massage Chair Use for Pregnant Women

Whether or not it’s safe to use a massage chair during pregnancy is a point of contention among a lot of people. This is largely due to misconceptions and myths.

  1. Vibrations Can Harm Fetus

    Fetuses are heavily protected during the gestation process. Massage chairs simply aren’t strong enough to cause any harm.

  2. Miscarriage from Any Type of Massage

    In cases where massages and miscarriages are linked, it’s not the massage that caused the issue. There are several ways that a miscarriage can happen. There’s no evidence that massages are one of them.

  3. Greater Risk in Last Weeks of Pregnancy

    Many studies have shown that massages during the final weeks of pregnancy can help with labor. This myth is often confused with the first few weeks of pregnancy, which has a higher risk of miscarriage.

  4. Electromagnetic Field Can Produce Harm

    Again, fetuses are protected by layers of fat, tissue, and muscle. Even if there was a risk from electromagnetic fields, those layers of protection would keep the baby safe. However, there are no studies to prove that harm comes from exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Alternatives to Using a Massage Chair During Pregnancy

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of using a massage chair during your pregnancy, there are some alternatives. You could always invest in traditional massage therapy from a licensed masseuse. Though, you may encounter some issues there. Not all masseurs accept pregnant patients. Some will outright refuse service to avoid liability if problems occur.

Prenatal massages are also a great idea. There is a lot of information out there about simple massages that you can do at home with your significant other. These involve tackling problem areas. If done right, many of the same benefits that a massage chair offers can be achieved as well.

Finally, you can use a handheld massager. These small devices offer quick relief. Plus, they can be used by yourself without any additional help.

Where Should I Place My Massage Chair?

japanese massage chair

Now that you know what to look for when you’re shopping for the best massage chair and how to use it, let’s talk placement. A massage chair is not like standard furniture. Not only does it need access to an outlet, but they’re typically much larger. With that being said, feel free to place it wherever you feel the most comfortable.

  • Bedroom – If you have the space to put your massage chair in your living room, this is a great spot. Most bedrooms are already designed with peace and quiet in mind. So, half the work is already done for you. Many people choose to use a massage chair in lieu of a traditional armchair. Massage chairs are more functional, so it’s a good trade-off.
    The only thing you’ll need to be wary of is noise. If you ever use the chair with your significant other in the room, they will hear it.
  • Living Room – Let’s face it, enjoying the benefits of a massage chair while watching TV sounds is great. While you can certainly do that, there is a school of thought that this should be avoided. Many people subscribe to the idea that massages should be tranquil experiences where you can get in touch with your inner self.
    There’s nothing wrong with agreeing or disagreeing with that thought. It’s all about personal preference. If you’re interested in creating a spa-like environment, it may not be wise to put the massage chair in front of a big digital distraction. However, if that doesn’t matter to you, do what makes you happy.
  • Home Office – Those who work from home often have a love/hate relationship with their home office. During the workday, it can be a place of stress and anxiety. If that’s the case for you, having a massage chair nearby during your workday can be beneficial. Whenever you have a few minutes to relax, you can take a seat and get rid of all that stress and anxiety that work causes.
  • Placement Considerations – Regardless of where you choose to put your massage chair, keep the following things in mind to ensure that you have no issues using it.
  • Enough Clearance – Massage chairs that recline will need some space around them to do so. This applies to zero gravity chairs as well. Make sure that there are at least a few inches of empty space behind the chair. You won’t be able to place it directly against the while, so keep that in mind when you’re planning your room layout.
  • Power Outlet – Massage chairs are powered machines that use up a considerable amount of power. It’s not recommended that you use a simple home extension cord. To keep you and your family safe, plug it directly into your wall outlet. Flimsy extension cords pose many safety risks. If you’re unable to reach an outlet, make sure to use a heavy-duty extension cord.
  • Away from Direct Sunlight – Like any piece of furniture, direct sunlight can cause harm. Even the most well-built massage chair uses upholstery material that can crack, tear, and degrade. When the upholstery is damaged, the inner workings of the chair will be exposed. This renders the entire massage chair useless until you can get repairs. To prolong the life of your investment, make sure that there is no direct sunlight shining through your window and onto the chair.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Chair

Even after your massage chair is in your home and ready to use, you still need to take care of it. Keeping your chair clean will help to add years of use and keep all of the working parts in good condition.

  • Use Gentle Cleaning Agent: Whether the massage chair is covered in leather or soft fabric, you need to avoid harsh chemical cleaners. They will do more harm than good by slowly eating away at the material. It’s best to stick with a gentle cleaner that’s specifically made for the material of your chair.
  • Don’t Drip Cleaning Agents on the Moving Parts: This one is important. When you’re cleaning your massage chair, make sure that the solution you’re using does not make contact with any of the internal components. There are several chemicals that can make the metal rust. Furthermore, you run the risk of causing a short-circuit in the electrical parts.
  • Clean the Contact Areas: Earlier, we talked about some of the bacterial risks when getting a professional massage. While those risks affect you to a lesser degree on a home massage chair, they do still exist. So, it’s important to clean the areas that you make contact with regularly.
  • Remove the Upholstery: If it’s possible, consider removing the upholstery. Some models have hidden zippers that allow you to slip the entire cover off. Instead of dabbing it clean, you may be able to toss it in the washing machine to speed up the process.
  • Use a Damp Cloth: A simple damp cloth is all you need to clean up the massage chair in-between regular washings. The wet cloth will pick up any dust and keep your chair looking great.
  • Pay Attention to Finer Details: When you’re cleaning, make sure to take care of all the hidden nooks and crannies. These include trim, underneath the chair, and in the cupholder. Who knows what kind of dirt those areas are hiding.
  • Use a Spray Bottle: Spray bottles are preferred when applying cleaner because they produce a thin layer of fine mist. This makes it easy to clean up any excess liquids. Also, if you do happen to miss some, the thin layer will dry much faster than a puddle of cleaner.
  • Never Put Wet Upholstery on the Massage Chair: If you decide to wash your upholstery, make sure that it’s completely dry before you put it back on. Once you cover the massaging components with a damp cover, you’re creating the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow. This will ultimately damage the parts.

Wrap Up

By buying the best massage chair, you’re doing much more than investing in your comfort. You’re investing in your overall health and well-being. These massage chairs can change your life for the better. While they do come with a higher initial cost, the money you’ll save in the long run is immeasurable. Thanks to their innovative features and advanced technology, you can finally enjoy a realistic massage whenever and wherever you want.

Contents

Leave a Comment