Most healthcare providers are recognizing massage therapy as a legitimate aid for body pain and an effective adjunct to pain treatments.
A good massage can do wonders for relieving tension and back pain, but a therapeutic massage is not always convenient or available.
Most believe massage chairs are a luxury item. A massage chair is certainly not necessary for every day living, or for relieving back pain. However, for some, the benefits that a massage chair can bring certainly outweigh the price.
Fifty-four percent of healthcare providers say they will encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy to treat body pain, in addition to medical treatment.
A study on massage and pain conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in 2001 found that: “Massage lessened lower back pain, depression and anxiety, and improved sleep. The massage therapy group also showed improved range of motion and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.” (International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.)
Benefits of Massage Therapy
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy provides several important health benefits, including:
Massage improves blood circulation, which aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity.
Massage relaxes muscles for an improved range of motion. The muscle relaxation also helps with insomnia.
Massage leads to increased endorphin levels. The increase of endorphin levels is actually one of the greatest benefits of massage therapy. Endorphins are the chemicals the body produces that make you feel good, which is very effective in managing chronic pain.
The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes massage therapy as an effective treatment for body pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).
Massage Therapy Can Reduce Muscle Pain
Muscles that are in spasm will be painful to the touch. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue. Ischemia means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow, usually due to the muscle spasm. This in turn creates the following undesirable process:
Because the muscle is not receiving enough blood, the muscle is also not receiving enough oxygen
The lack of oxygen causes the muscle to produce lactic acid
The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore following physical activity.
After the muscle is relaxed through massage therapy, the lactic acid will be released from the muscle, and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen.
Benefits of Massage Therapy and Massage Chairs
A good hands-on massage can play a crucial role in alleviating body pain.
Similarly, a good massage chair is designed to provide some measure of pain relief and relaxation, however, without the need for person-to-person interaction.
Getting a massage in the privacy of home, along with convenience and time efficiency, are the major reasons why some are opting to go with a massage chair as a potential means to ease their back pain.
Comprehensive research has demonstrated that there are three central reasons why massage is beneficial:
Massage improves venous and lymphatic flow—manipulating muscles increases blood flow. Increasing blood flow facilitates the circulation and absorption of nutritional elements into the muscles and tissues. Increasing lymphatic circulation clears toxins out of these areas. Together, this revitalizes the massaged area.
Massage therapy decreases tension and improves flexibility – massaging helps loosen tight and strained muscles. Stretching and kneading problem areas allow muscles to relax as well.
Massage therapy increases endorphin levels – possibly the most beneficial aspect of massage. Endorphins are the ‘feel good’ chemicals that run through the body – increasing their levels induces positive results. Among other benefits, increasing endorphin levels has been correlated with quicker recovery, reduced pain, and reduced anxiety.
These benefits of massage work both physically and psychologically to help reduce common symptoms of body pain.
Through the study of the human body and analysis of feedback, many massage chair designs have been developed with the goal of achieving similar benefits.
Potential Risks and Contraindications for Massage Therapy
In general, any type of massage is non-invasive and considered very low risk. While there aren’t specific contraindications or risks associated with use of massage chairs, in general any of the contraindications to general massage therapy should be followed when using a massage chair.
Contraindications for massage therapy include:
Infectious skin disease
An unhealed wound
Immediately after surgery
A tendency to form blood clots or if using blood thinners
Circulatory ailments such as phlebitis or varicose veins
Inflamed or infected injuries
Areas of bleeding or heavy tissue damage
At the sites of recent fractures, sprains, or bruises
Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Most massage chairs are designed to involve three main components intended to closely match these massage techniques:
Massage chair motors – these are the essential mechanical aspects of the massage chair. They power and move the nodes and rollers to the necessary areas, as well as allow the needed adjustments to the seat back.The massage chair has numerous preset patterns and programs used to massage the entire back. However, the motors, nodes, and rollers are meant to be modified through the control pad that accompanies all massage chairs. As the user specifies, the massage chair focuses on the top of the spine down through the lower back, with a tapping motion, rolling motion, or kneading motion.
Massage chair nodes and rollers – these vary in size and shape, designed to emulate fingers and hands. A massage chair with large rollers and nodes provides a more generalized approach at massaging, while massage chairs with smaller nodes and rollers provide the more detailed, point-specific massaging. They target specified areas of the user’s back and can move in a variety of ways, which are pre-programmed into the mechanics of the massage chair. Again, the user can adjust these nodes and rollers on the massage chair to best fit his or her needs.
Computer assisted adjustability of the massage chair – This is perhaps the most essential factor. Almost all massage chairs are designed to automatically adjust for the weight, height, and width of the selected user. By measuring the pressure on the seatback, the height of the protrusion of the rollers and nodes adjusts. In addition, by locating specific areas on the anatomy of the back, the massage chair makes the necessary adjustments for the height and width of the user. Selecting various inputs on the control pad can also refine these options.
Of course, a mechanical substitute can never reproduce the exact feeling of human touch. As years have gone by, designers have more closely approximated the necessary factors in a massage chair to provide its user with relief from back pain.
Although a higher price usually correlates with a higher quality, with massage chairs this is not always the case. Recently new lines of similar, if not better models have emerged at significantly lower prices than past models.
As with many comfort-related products in the market, the final decision should rest primarily on the opinions of the user. It is advisable to test the many different brands and styles of massage chairs that are available.
Guidelines for Choosing a Massage Chair
Here are some general guidelines to follow when searching for a massage chair:
Price range of massage chairs – as mentioned before, massage chairs are quite expensive. Price should always factor in with all of the above aspects for the final decision.
Presets and adjustability of massage chair
take time to experiment with the preset programs. Some massage chairs may have a preset that is specific to a problem area in the back. Other chairs may offer greater variability. A massage chair with a large range of adjustability may prove beneficial when purchasing a single chair for multiple users.
certain massage chairs will come with a separate ottoman or a leg-rest that extends in and out of the chair. Some positions may be more comfortable for certain back conditions; for example, sitting in a reclining position with the legs elevated may be more comfortable for some people with spinal stenosis. Several chairs even have a leg-rest that has its own massage or vibration capabilities.
Again, as with any comfort related product, there is no absolute definition of what is good or bad. Of course, only through trying different types and styles will a person truly understand if a massage chair is beneficial or necessary at all.
Robotic massage chairs use electric vibrators with motors to do the massage.
Shiatsu massage chairs use massage-type methods using kneading, pressing, soothing, rolling, percussion, compression, tapping, and stretching. These procedures imitate the hands-on sensation of a professional massage therapist providing relief from muscle-related problems, headaches, stiffness and other physiological troubles. The shiatsu massage uses pressure points on your body to clear energy channels between those pressure points for relaxation and relief from discomfort.
Zero-gravity chairs imply the position of zero-gravity. No, you will not be going into outer space where there is no gravity to experience “zero-gravity”. A zero-gravity chair is the reclining position of the chair that imitates the position of the astronauts when taking off for space. These chairs are in the same position—parallel to the floor and you lay in a horizontal position for even distribution of your weight on the chair.
This is supposed to relieve stress on your body. By doing this, you will achieve a more penetrating and concentrated massage involvement. You can feel the sensation of weightless from the lack of stress on your body. This posture of being horizontal stimulates circulation in your legs reducing swelling in the legs and ankles.
You might not feel weightless, but in the reclining pose you will feel comfy and enjoy a penetrating deep massage. The chair is expensive. $4000 and up might be justified for a chair to be used in the privacy of your home anytime you want to jump on board.
Massage chairs that recline can be bulky and take up considerable space. There is no set floor space defined for the chair you are considering For a reclining chair, you will need space from the wall that is the height of the back of the chair when flat. Each manufacturer will give the chairs dimensions, including the back height.
Some massage chairs have wheels to move from place to place and different rooms. If you purchase a chair with an ottoman, the circular base is usually 24-inches. The ottomans with legs, are the square of the cushion size. Manufacturers give the dimensions of ottomans as well. All dimensions are available for you to compute your space requirements.
How much is a massage chair?
Prices vary by type and brand. You can find nice chairs for a few hundred dollars to high-end models with all the bells and whistles for over $8000.
However, you can also find models for under $500. Amazon has great deals, discounts, bonuses, and coupons to bring cost down.
Where to Buy a Massage Chair
You can look in the phone book, however, if you do not live in an area that sells massage chairs, you cannot see the chairs in person and do a test drive.
Online is a viable place to look and Amazon is the best place to check where they offer many deals to lower your cost. You can read customer reviews, compare prices, and read the specifications.
Check specific brands you have an interest in. Chairs vary in weight according to the components. The weight of a person using the chair will be shown as well.
Electrical Power or Massage Chairs
The USA uses 110/120-Volts and 50/60 Hz and the amperage varies by chair. Outside of the USA the electrical is 240-Volts and sometimes chairs can be converted from 110/120-Volts with an adapter. Massage chairs use about 55-Watts at about $1 per month.
Most companies and Amazon ship via ground transportation using reputable freight companies. The freight companies will not deliver inside your home or business. They will leave the box curbside or on the porch due to insurance liability. This is not different from UPS or FedEx policies. The freight company will call you at the phone number you gave when ordering when they are near the delivery location. The tracking information will be emailed to the address you provided.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Feel free to comment below.
We first purchased a massage chair about 20 years ago, when my husband sustained an injury which caused terrible sciatica pain. He spent many hours in that chair, and found that it helped immensely.
Recently, we gave the original massage chair to my husband’s dad, and went shopping for a new one for ourselves. They have come a long way over the years, and I believe they are a worthwhile investment for pain relief and well being.
While searching for just the right massage chair, we researched quite a few models at our local dealer, and I have prepared a breakdown of what I feel are the best widely-available units.
The industry offers a variety of chair massage chairs today, making it difficult to decide which one to choose. I have narrowed down the list to top 10 that include the best rated massage chairs with the top features and price, as well as good feedback from a large number of users.
Top 10 Massage Chairs
1. Osaki OS-4000 Executive Zero Gravity
Made of synthetic leather, Osaki OS-4000 massage chair offers a solid construction, stylish design and exceptional performance. All of which also make it the best chair massager.
It provides zero gravity positions, so depending on the type of massage you want you can either recline or change the angle of the chair.
The intelligent massage robot of the chair scans the whole body curve and makes micro adjustments, focusing on the lumbar, neck and shoulders.
Osaki OS-4000is designed for a fully body massage from neck, shoulders and arms to feet, calves and buttocks.
You can customize your massage sessions by selecting among 6 auto-programs (healthcare, smart, relax, circulation, therapy and demo) and 6 massage styles (rolling, kneading, Swedish, clapping, shiatsu and combo). For more adjustment there are 5 speeds and intensity levels.
This best zero gravity recliner features 32 airbags with strategic placement for targeting different parts of the body.
With Osaki OS-4000 you can also enjoy heat therapy of the lower back, air squeeze massage for the neck, vibration for buttocks, and air massage for shoulders, back and hips.
2. Inada Sogno Dreamwave
One of the most advanced and highest rated massage chairs is the Inada Sogno Dreamwave.The movements of the Inada Sogno luxury massage chair are based on the actual motions of a shiatsu massage professionals. They are duplicated to mimic those back mobilization movements that are usually used by chiropractors and physical therapists.
It features proprietary technology that provides gentle figure-8 motion, which stimulates the body’s balance, similar to the state when undergoing a shiatsu massage.
You can customize your own massage or use one of the 8 programs of massage sequences with included pre-programmed massage settings for stretch, morning and nighttime.
This ultimate massage chair cradles the whole body and provides massage coverage of over 1,200 square inches, which is one of the broadest in any massage recliner. The chair is designed for people of any age with its proprietary youth sessions for old and young. Sogno Dreamwave provides massage for hips, calves, thighs, back, neck feet and full-arm massage.
Each session starts with the machine scanning your body and after detecting particular pressure points, the chair provides a customized massage for one of 106 body types.
Inada Sogno Dreamwave is one of the most expensive massage chairs, but it is definitely the best value massage chair. There are several color variations available, including black, red, black leather and dark brown.
3. Full Body Shiatsu Chair Recliner Bed EC-69
One of the more budget-friendly options among the best massage chairs for home is the Full Body Shiatsu massage chair EC-69. The latest robotic technologies of this chair offer versatility and high performance of providing a calming effect.
The chair can easily be transformed into a massage recliner bed to enjoy a full body shiatsu massage. It features multiple settings, including rolling, kneading to de-stress and relax the kinks and knots, compression and percussion to improve the flexibility and mobility of the leg area, and mode of chop action tapping and flapping to loose weight and relieve soreness and aches.
The chair has integrated power rollers and vibrators that are strategically placed on the chair for effect on the entire body. It helps to zap muscle stress and stimulates the dilation of the blood vessels. Also, for the lumbar and neck sections it is equipped with a heating system.
It’s got a sleek design that will blend in any room. It is upholstered in a soft leather-like material and to suit different preferences there are three colors available: black, brown and burgundy.
4. Authentic Beautyhealth Shiatsu
My next product on the list of the best massage chair reviews is the Authentic Beautyhealth Shiatsu robotic massager. It has also received high massage chair ratings. It provides outstanding massage that is concentrated on particular parts of the user’s body and effective heat therapy.
In its sophisticated design it utilizes state of the art technology that offers all the benefits of a full body massage.
The Authentic Beautyhealth comes with 69 air bags with most of the air massage functions focusing on the user’s lower body. For a more systematic massage with a fun element it also offers synchronized MP3 massage. Depending on the frequency, the chair triggers back, buttocks and calf massage changing speed and intensity.
The chair offers lots of versatility with 5 options of massage method and 6 pre-programmed massage modes. The methods include shiatsu, kneading, flapping, kneading and flapping, vibrating and knocking. According to your preference you can also choose a program, such as fatigue, prescription, relax, health care, awake and physical therapy.
Authentic Beautyhealth first scans the contour and shape of the upper body and shoulders and then adjusts the massage accordingly. The chair also offers concentrated arm massage. For a more relaxing massage, you can also recline the chair to 170 degrees. Additionally, the chair uses Jade thermotherapy, which penetrates deeper into the body to relax the sore and fatigued muscles.
5. Human Touch iJoy-2580
Another exceptionally comfortable massage chair is iJoy-2580. It’s a great option if you are looking for a more affordable massage chair.
It utilizes the patented by Human Touch massage technology that provides ease of tension, pain, fatigue, stress relief, and improves relaxation and circulation. The massage it provides replicates the movements and techniques used by back and spinal care professionals.
For your certain needs you can choose one of the 3 offered massage programs: refresh your back (15 minutes of massage for the entire back), relieve your neck and shoulders (15 minutes to relieve upper back tensions), and release your lower back (15 minutes to soothe lower back soreness).
The robotic massage provided by the iJoy-2580 rollers feels a lot like human hands massage. It uses methods such as rolling (perfect for relaxing the lower back), kneading (lifts and stretches muscles in a circular motion on the sides of the spine to improve blood and lymph circulation), compression (with rocking motion applies pressure to deep muscle tissue), and percussion (rapid-tapping strokes for relieving pressure on the spinal column and releasing cramping from muscles).
For adjusting and programming the settings you can use the built-in control panel. For more intensity, you can recline the massage chair to the position that will be perfect for you.
This massage recliner chair is one of the more affordable options and is available in 2 colors: black and espresso.
6. Mecor Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Recliner With Stretched Foot Rest
This Mecor Full Body Massage Recliner provides a professional level of massage and comfort in your home. With its high quality, soft leather, liquid crystal display and microcomputer control, you’ll really feel like you’re in the captain’s chair!
The rolling back massage mode is adjustable, and there are separate massagers for the waist, back, buttocks and thighs. You can adjust the recline angle from 105 – 170 degrees, for a true zero gravity experience.
7. iRobotics 6 Ultimate Medical Massager
My next best full body massage chair review is of the iRobotics 6S, which is the first robotic chair massager assembled in the US by Luraco Company.
It is designed with outstanding innovative features, including Luraco total body massage technology, intelligent self-diagnostic, advanced body stretching technique and zero gravity, which was proven the heighten the state of relaxation.
The chair can be adjusted to fit the height of shoulders and length of legs. The massage of the chair is provided by 104 airbags and robotic arms.
iRobotics 6S is programmed with 6 specially designed modes: Japanese, Swedish, morning, nigh, health care and deep tissue. The massage can be customized to your preference for individual body parts. The chair provides pain and stress relief to the entire body from head, neck, back and shoulders to full arms and legs.
The massager allows you to adjust intensity and choose methods of massage, such kneading, tapping and vibration.
To enhance your mind relaxation, the iRobotics 6 also includes an audio MP3 player with built-in speakers.
For easy use, the chair also comes with a Bluetooth control that includes tablet and smart phone applications, so you can control the settings from your phone or Android tablet. The settings you can view on the integrated display.
8. Panasonic EP1285KL With Chiro Mode, Leather Urban Collection
The Panasonic EP1285KL is also one of the top rated massage chairs and it comes from Panasonic’s Urban Collection. Its quad-style technology promotes good health by offering therapeutic muscle relaxation, as well as improved blood circulation. Its sleek design is made in high quality leather upholstery in black hues to fit any home décor.
This Panasonic chair will leave no part of your body untreated. It’s equipped with modes for all body types and parts. In total it offers 8 manual massage modes: kneading, tapping, compression, Swedish, soft shiatsu, Hawaiian, full and regional roll.
Additionally, there 4 pre-set programs: Swedish, shiatsu, quick (5 minutes of all 8 manual modes) and Chiro mode (a new Panasonic massage technique for relaxing fatigued muscles). The mechanisms of the chair work on neck, shoulders, lower back, legs, thighs and hips.
The Panasonic EP1285KL features a Float Mechanism technology that delivers a human like massage, like movements of a rotating wrist and hand. Also, the rubber massage heads mimic other massaging techniques, such as thumb kneading, palm strokes and heel rolling.
There are 14 airbags in this massaging chair, with most of them targeting lower body parts. The unit is also equipped with Air Ottoman system that works on the legs with emphasis on the calves and feet.
9. Forever Rest Premium Massage Chair
The top features of this ergonomic best home massage chair include multiple modes, powerful motor, jade heating system and humanized massage mechanism.
The S-type chair back has 2 layers of back padding. Additionally, it includes one more removable pad for extra comfort. The chair provides significant comfort and relaxing massage.
Forever Rest Premium features a body scan that’s equipped with a humanized massage mechanism that feels like real professional hands are performing. The mechanism mimics such manners as walk, swat, knead, press, scratch and tap.
For customizing the massage session, the user can select one of the 6 programs: kneading, flapping, combination of flapping and kneading, rolling, shiatsu and a combination of knocking and vibrating.
This modern massage chair can be reclined into a deeper massage position of zero gravity and the armrests automatically recline with the chair. So you have arm massage in both reclined and upright position.
Forever Rest Premium has a built-in jade heat system that emits infrared heat. The temperature can be adjusted to suit your convenience.
10. Zero Gravity Soft 3D Hand Massage EC01
The last chair on my list of 10 top massage chairs is the EC01. It uses power rollers for rejuvenating your mind and body through relaxing and relieving stress from muscles.
There are various settings for different body needs. Using the rolling setting, you can have a simple massage effect. With the compression and percussion functions, the EC01 chair will work on the leg’s mobility and flexibility, improving your overall posture.
The chair offers 4 different massage programs, including preset extend, recovery, refresh and present relax. Each of them can be adjusted to target specific areas of your body you want to work on.
This is a fully body massager, so it works from neck to feet. For the buttocks it provides vibrations and air pressure massage. It’s also equipped with air bags that work on thighs and calves. The arms also get massaged with air squeeze.
Good Choices for Under $500:
If you are looking for a less expensive model, there are several decent options, as well.
While these units might not have the cache or all the bells and whistles of the selections above, they are certainly worth looking at if your budget does not allow for a higher end chair.
My advice is to buy the best chair you can afford. The more expensive models do tend to be more “heavy duty”; they last longer (and usually look better in your home) and -importantly- usually have better customer support (but not always).
The 60-425111 is another affordable massage chair and is made by Comfort Products. It’s offered in a chocolate brown color in comfortsoft upholstery that has the feel and look of top quality leather. It’s designed with a solid construction, incorporating steel and metal materials in the frame.
The massage recliner is powered by 8 vibration motors for a comfortable massage on the upper and mid back, thighs and calves. While vibration massaging you, the Relaxzen 60-425111 can also provide heat for lumbar area for complete comfort.
To customize your massage session, you can pick one of the 9 provided modes. To further personalize your massage, you can choose independent massage zones and intensity level among the 5 provided. To simplify your control over the chair and its functions, the unit comes with a remote control.
You can adjust the Relaxzen 60-425111 to your convenience either to swivel or manually recline it. It also has the function of recline tension adjustment and the maximum recline to the angle of 135 degrees.
The massage recliner is equipped with a programmable timer, using which you can set the duration for each of your massage sessions. It also offers an automatic shutoff feature, which automatically turns the unit off after 30 minutes.
T&D Enterprises BT-7600P-MASSAGE-BK-GG Massaging Recliner and Ottoman
It is a set of a massage recliner and ottoman that offer intense massaging power. The vibrations of the chair knead your whole body, starting from your lumber area and back to your legs and thighs.
For each of the settings you can select the intensity of the mode for both the chair and the ottoman with five settings to choose from. The design of the chair is very comfortable and the deep side pockets for keeping different accessories while you are relaxing in the chair is a very nice addition.
Kings Brand Cream White Massage Recliner Swivel Chair and Ottoman
One more great massage therapy chair in the affordable price range is the Kings Brand massage recline swivel chair with the addition of ottoman.
It’s got a sleek stylish design that can fit in any home or office. It’s done in soft upholstery of creamy white color. It’s very comfortable and provides a perfectly relaxing massage.
It’s not equipped with multiple features like more priced models. It only has an 8 way heat and massage function. The massage is done through vibrations, which are designed to target your thighs, hips, back and lumbar area.
For more comfort and chair can recline and swivel. On the sides, similar to previous mentioned massage recliner chair, Kings Brand features side pockets where you can stack any necessities while you are enjoying the chair relaxation. In this price range it’s a very worthy choice.
Comfort Products 60-0582 Heated Massage Recliner and Ottoman
Comfort Products offers one more great massage chairs in the price range of below 500 and it’s one of the best in its class. This chair comes in a set with a hand controller and an ottoman. It’s made in simulated-leather material and done in black color. The tick foam cushions of the chair provide extra relaxing comfort, while the massage soothes sores and pains in the upper, mid and lower back and thighs.
The great massaging ability is provided by the power of its 10 motors that work to release stress and tension from your muscles. This massage therapy chair features not just powerful massaging action, but also a heating system for the lumbar area that adds a more relaxing effect to massage. The combination allows melting away the stress and tension in a single sitting.
The hand controller that comes with the chair allows you to conveniently choose settings of the massage. The settings of the Comfort Products 60-0582 include 3 different modes, as well as 3 levels of intensity.
So there you have it – lots of excellent models to choose from. Your choice will depend on the features that are important to you, the style of chair you like, and how much you want to spend. I hope you enjoy your search for the perfect massage chair for you.
Thanks for visiting and reading …
I hope this article provided you some practical information on massage chairs.