The Everything Massage Chair Guide: A Must Read

The Everything Massage Chair Guide: A Must Read

When your body aches, your day seems long, and you don't know what to do, few remedies can help. Many opt to choose a treatment that does more damage than good. Some choose alcohol, over the counter medications, or some methods that don't help.

Fortunately, there is a way to help your body rebuild, your mind unwinds, and improve your mood that is completely natural and relaxing. In this guide, we will walk you through all you need to know about massages, massage chairs, and what you can do to enhance your day to day physical operation.

What Is A Massage

A massage, while it may seem common knowledge, depending on culture, can mean various things. Massages have been around for centuries across the globe. From the earliest traces of history, humans have used massage both as part of medical practice as well as a form of entertainment and for personal leisure.

Woman getting a massage.

To break it down, a massage is a practice of using hands, feet, elbows, knuckles or any number of instruments to work with the muscle groups in the body. The way it works, however, can vary from system to system.

Each type of massage system comes with their specific movements and target areas to relieve and can vary greatly in the intensity or pressure that comes along with it.

Benefits Of A Massage

A massage can offer a host of benefits both physical and psychological. Studies have indicated that regular massages can aid not only in overall health by lowering stress and anxiety, but by offering a form of relaxation, pain relief and meditation that has lasting long term effects.

Some studies have indicated that massage can be useful as a once in awhile experience, but it is incomparable to patients that enjoy the experience of regular massages. Like most treatments, regular implementation is an essential part of the journey to consistent quality results.

While it comes with some caveats, which we will go into later such as particular physical ailments and injuries, for most it is a fantastic way to supplement your current health practices.

Later on, we will go more into detail about the specific applications massage has for a variety of health situations.

The Main Massage Therapy Techniques

The reality is that there is a myriad of systems that are interconnected in the massage realm. Many systems from their inception were recanted verbally opposed to in clearly organized methodologies until the modern age.

However, for ease, we have organized them into a few categories that apply to those looking for result driven systems that have clear, demonstrable histories:

  • Deep-Tissue Active
  • Ashiatsu
  • Foot Massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Acupressure
  • Swedish Massage

Deep Tissue Active

Deep tissue active massage is a system that is exactly as it sounds. Its focus is on deep muscle tissue massaging motions that are meant to undo knots and improve blood flow in muscle tissue.

It's perfect for those that have high-stress levels and deal with arduous work schedules or workouts as a means for repairing their muscles and fostering healthy muscle growth. It can be painful or cause discomfort, but it helps also to relieve toxins that are built up in the muscles.


Shiatsu is a Japanese system of massage that is very eastern in its cultural implementation.

Practitioners are usually reserved to being of a light build and use their feet to exercise strains and misalignments in the back and chest.

It's not as popular as it once was, but it works both by helping to "crack joints" in the upper and lower back area.

It requires most to grab onto a bar above the patient and lightly press and walk along their back barefoot so that precision is key when pressure is being used.

Ashiatsu massage.

Foot Massage

A foot massage is as simple as it sounds. It is the practice of focusing on points of stress along the bottom of the foot. The practitioner uses gliding, kneading, and pinpointing gestures between joints and muscle groups.

Due to the amount of stress the foot goes through, it helps to maintain your feet and avoid long term problems, in particular for those that spend hours on them.

The sole and ball of the foot are the main points that are focused on, with the gaps between feet bones as supplements that retain pain and need to be increased circulation assistance.


Shiatsu massage is one of the more fruitful and popular forms of massage. Using their fingers, elbows, and palm, practitioners of this Japanese system focus on muscle groups to relieve stress and improve general circulation in the entire body.

While it is based on energy flow like many eastern systems, it's far more accurate in its practical usage.

Shiatsu is one of three systems that have numerous medical studies being conducted to establish accurately the efficacy of its application as a preventative practice, but as a treatment is well known for rehabilitation and recovery as well as therapy.


Acupressure is a Chinese system that focuses on energy meridians that run concurrently throughout the body. The point of the system is to remove impediments that act as "blockers" of the channels throughout the body by using specific movements to target muscle areas that are heavily used.

Acupressure is effective due to its pinpointed kneading gestures that dig deeply into tissue and slides alongside the spine and neck.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage is the most popular system of massage in the world. Coined centuries ago by practitioners in France, and popularized during the early 1930s in the United States, Swedish massage is used by everyone ranging from computer programmers to athletes due to its usefulness.

Woman getting a swedish massage.

It uses a system based on five movements that each fulfill a purpose in isolating muscles and working through knots, acid build ups, and irritation for the purpose of increasing healing and preventing injury long term.

What Is A Massage Chair?

Now, for those that don’t have the time to go daily to a massage therapist across town, but want the comfort and convenience aspects along with the health benefits, a massage chair may be the perfect thing for you.

A massage chair is a type of seat that replicates the motions that a massage therapist or physical therapist would implement on your back during a professional massage.

The quality and type of massage are dependent on what kind of chair you decide to go with, but overall it has the perfect mix of ease and cost while improving the ability to relax from the comfort of your office or home.

The added benefit is that they tend to be cheaper than going to see a therapist long-term. The chance to make a one time purchase and have one makes it easier than relying on transportation, your exhaustion levels, and more as the deciding factor of whether or not you get a massage that day.

Types Of A Massage Chair

Massage chairs have been around for almost a hundred years. They can be as simple as a pad with a few rotating discs in it or as complex as multi-functional body scanning systems made for you specifically. The only limit is what you need. The two primary types that are famous break down into two categories:

  • Portable Massage Chairs
  • Intensive Robotic Massage Chairs

Each has their strengths and weaknesses. That can depend on price point, features list, quality of the massage, and more. We will briefly touch on what makes each unique and what they can do.

The Portable/Traditional Massage Chair

Portable and traditional massage chairs were never incredibly complex.

Portable massage chair.

Their entire point is on doing the bare minimum at worst and at best giving a pretty good massage that will leave you satiated.

Portable massage chairs can be in the form of actual chairs that can fold up and go with you on the go, or as simple as a pad with rotating wheels and light vibration capabilities inside that can be plopped onto any chair you own as a helpful supplement.

They’re comfortable and low maintenance and as such are perfect for those that need something that gets the job done.

The Intensive Robotic Massage Chair

Intensive Robotic Massage Chairs are interesting. They can be incredibly complex. It's estimated that almost a fourth of the population in some Asian countries have massage chairs that cost at least a few hundred dollars. The reason is that the better the chair, the more fruitful and accurate the massage can be.

Robotic Massage Chairs can have a lot of different features that make them so efficient. They have body scanning capabilities that can help adjust automatically to your build and shoulder width so that all the right spots are hit.

Robotic massage chairs can lock and isolate sections of your limbs or back so that you can focus on what needs extra attention. Robotic massage chairs also come with heating options, vibration settings, and more so that you don't overindulge past what is safe.

The Main Components Of A Massage Chair/How Does It Work?

While they are complex devices, the important parts of a massage chair are pretty simple. A massage chair has a few main points that matter:

  • The Seat/Padding
  • Rotating Disks
  • Ball and Knead System
  • Microprocessors

The seat/padding is the part of the chair that holds everything inside. It is what allows the heat setting to be warm and contain the heat to a measurable level while allowing the other functions of the device to work its magic on your back, arms, and legs.

The rotating disks are what cause the vibration to happen by rotating at various points in the chair so that it is even throughout opposed to overpowering in one section unless otherwise specified.

The ball and knead system is what makes the chair capable of hitting the points on your back that is specified. They can move in a few motions from sweeping, to isolative, to rolling motions that slide along your muscles and remove clumps.

Microprocessors are what hold the preprogrammed instructions and settings that when pressed will go through the movements that make up your overall massage.

Each plays a key part in how the overall program works and depending on the type of massage chair you have, can have more or less variability.

What Exactly Can A Massage Chair Do For You?

Now, the big question is: what are the main benefits of a massage chair? The answer is simple. As mentioned before, there is an exhaustive list of things that a massage chair can do to improve your physical and mental health.

Lactic Acid Build Up/Post-Workout

One benefit of massage chairs is their use after workouts. Lactic Acid is one part of the cause of injury and exhaustion both in athletes and people who work intensive labor jobs. Lactic acid builds up in the muscle and can lead to clotting, pulled or torn muscles, or slower recovery times after an arduous day.

Post workout massage.

It’s important to both stretch and massage core muscle groups, and one of the hardest to reach is the back. To prevent back injuries, it's recommended to get an intensive back massage every once in awhile. With a quality massage chair, it's easy to get one whenever you need in your office or home.

For Cancer Patients

Cancer patients deal with an immeasurable amount of pain and muscle problems. Massage chairs can help patients by working through their muscle groups in their back, legs, and arms to help facilitate better muscle blood flow and foster quicker recovery.

The other advantage is how quickly a massage can help improve pain through both deep tissue stimulation and circulation combined.

Stress Management & Preventing High Blood Pressure

Another point that was touched on before is how much stress can be placed on the body through physical or high focus mental work.

It’s reported that many who sit in office chairs place unnoticed stress on their bodies from sitting in poor posture positions for hours on end, this can lead to higher stress and consequently higher blood pressure.

A massage chair is perfect for use at the office or home not only at the end of the day but as a temporary relieve/realignment for the rest of the day ahead to help break down some of that stress.

Who Should Use Massage Chairs Cautiously

Just as massage chairs have a high likelihood of helping patients with physical ailments, it also can have a possibility of exacerbating certain problems. It’s best to carefully consider or consult with your doctor if you suffer from any of the following problems.

Infectious Skin Disease

Certain skin diseases can be spread by multiple users sharing one chair. Not to mention, infectious skin diseases such as shingles in older users can be irritated by the mechanisms, vibration, and heating options that some chairs come with.

Open Wounds

Open wounds can be irritated as well by the moving parts of the machine and can lead to irritation or even infection if it isn’t left with proper time to heal without outside stimulation.

Too Soon After Surgery

Like open wounds, the more intense or higher settings of some chairs can lead to patients with recent surgery sealed wounds being reopened or their injury stimulated.

Other problems that require cautious chair use include:

  • Circulatory Ailments Such as Phlebitis
  • Inflamed Or Infected Injuries
  • Areas Of Heavy Tissue Damage
  • On Bruises & Sprains & More

Who Are The Best Manufacturers

No two massage chairs are the same. It's important before you order to understand the differences in the types of massage chair producing companies and what their product is oriented toward. Each has their benefits and disadvantages.

Three different massage chairs.

Kahuna Massage Chair

Produced by AJX LLC, the Kahuna Massage Chair combined advanced mechanical technology with personal relaxation. Their products are among the best of the best, as some of the most subtle and precise massage chairs available at a great market price.

Their zero gravity massage chairs are one of a kind in that they use zero gravity technology to make it as easy as possible to hit the harder to reach areas that other chairs can’t compare to.

The added luxury comes in the form of the best choice of leather and other materials that make it the most comfortable immersive experience possible.


HumanTouch is the top supplier of massage chairs in North America, their focus on unique chairs has made them one of the best and most effective producers for over 35 years.

Their chairs combine the sleek design of futuristic products with a myriad of features that make them one of the most potent and constantly developing at their price points.

One of the things that make them stand out is their dedicated mission statement of offering massage chairs that may be sophisticated in their engineering with their intense attention to detail, while still offering an element of human touch to every product.


StrongLite is a company that believes in usability over frills. While they may seem to embody some form of design quality, their focus has always been on building a durable and reliable series of massage chairs that work well and last long.


Homedics has been around for almost half a century. While their early products were oriented toward small market personal wellness, they have expanded to a global audience that has and will stand with their massage chair products for years to come.

How Hard Is It To Use A Massage Chair?

One question that is on many people's minds is "how hard is it to use a massage chair." It's not difficult at all. Most massage chairs are easy to use, and only require that you read over the instruction manual in advance.

Man using a massage chair.

The reason is that there is a recommended maximum amount of time usage and in many cases a few other settings that if you don't use properly can cause some small injury.

  • The best way to use your massage chair is to start with the lowest vibration level and intensity setting.
  • Turn it up gradually as you become more accustomed and incrementally get a better hang of how much it cranks up.
  • Using the preprogrammed routines makes it easier for you to see the benefit that your massage chair can have on your back and other areas.

Safety Precautions

There are three safety precautions to keep in mind when dealing with massage chair safety:

  • Be mindful of the maximum usage time that is recommended in the manual, any longer, and you may over knead your muscles which can lead to a sponging effect or bruise.
  • Don’t use your massage chair, or use it carefully if you have any of the health problems mentioned above, and with supervision.
  • Make sure that your chair is childproof if you have kids.

Maintenance & Cleaning Your Massage Chair

One of the final points we wanted to touch on before we wrap up is the proper maintenance and cleaning of your massage chair. We have a few tips that we want you to keep in mind for caring for your massage chair.

  • If your massage chair has been used on the heating setting for quite some time, consider afterward giving it a light rub down with a mildly moist wash cloth in the crevices as oil and sweat can build up along with other things that fall out of pockets or off shirts.
  • Be sure to give the paneling a regular wipe down as well to prevent oil and dust build up.
  • Always remember to unplug your massage chair at the end to avoid letting it run which can lead to mechanical problems or power shortages, not to mention running up your energy bill.
  • If your chair uses lean back technology or folds, be sure to take it back to its upright condition to prevent stress on the structure.


We hope this guide helped with all of your questions regarding massage chairs and massage therapy as a means of improving overall health. If you have any thoughts, comments, or questions, feel free to leave them below in the comments section.

If you’re interested in picking up a massage chair for your home and can’t decide which one to get, feel free to check out our buying guide to find out which is THE best for you.