Massage therapy is used by over 40 million Americans every year and widely recommended by doctors in all fields who have patients that suffer from sore muscles.
Going to see a masseuse can be expensive and it can be time-consuming. That is especially true if it needs to happen once a week.
How effective are massage chairs? We looked into a variety of massage chairs to see what their benefits are and to determine if they work, or if the chairs are just another sales gimmick.
What Is a Massage Chair?
Massage chairs are relatively large, cushiony chairs that resemble recliners. They typically have a headrest, open space for the body, and leg and feet rests.
Massage chairs are designed to take the hassle out of massages. You can purchase one which is capable of tending to your sore muscles from the comfort of your own home. The types of massage available include shiatsu, kneading, and Swedish massage, depending on the chair you use.
These chairs use three primary components to provide relief to those who sit in them:
- Rollers and nodes: Depending on the chair you purchase, the rollers and nodes inside of it are going to vary in size. These components are designed to emulate the hands and fingers of a masseuse. Larger rollers and nodes are ideal for muscle relaxation, while the smaller nodes and rollers are ideal for target area stimulation.
- Adjustability: The majority of massage chairs that you can buy come equipped with a built-in adjustment feature that causes the chair to adjust itself, depending on the pressure applied to the chair and the user’s weight. It’s essential that a chair can adapt to your size because chairs aren’t one size fits all, and the closer you can target your sore spots, the better.
- Chair motor: Known as the mechanical hub of the massage chair, the motor is what powers the chair to vibrate and initiate the rollers and nodes. Massage chairs usually come with settings that allow you to adjust the power and also change the massage technique.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Massage Chair?
Many people miss out on the extreme benefits of massage because of their busy lives, or because massage therapy might not be covered under their insurance. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry. You can purchase a massage chair for your home, and reap the benefits of a traditional massage.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- Reduces pressure and aligns the spine: Some of the body’s major nerves are found in the spine. When pressure is applied to it, the pressure is also applied to the nerves. Massage chairs are designed to support the spine by assisting the back to have a horizontal and relaxing position. As the spine lengthens, each vertebra returns to its natural alignment, and the nerves are relieved of pressure.
- Relaxes muscles and promotes good posture: Massage chairs are designed to use rollers and nodes to help alleviate the pain that comes with stiff muscles. A variety of massage strokes are emulated in massage chairs to relax the muscles, while the backrest is designed to keep your back straight, encouraging proper posture.
- Mental stress relief: Experts suggest that massage is capable of boosting enthusiasm and providing you with overall stress relief. Your body releases endorphins during a massage, and those endorphins have a significant impact on your mood.
- Improved blood circulation: Massage chairs are perfect for enhancing your blood circulation, which is often the result of less tense muscles, as well as healthier looking skin. The massage helps to open up vessels that encourage blood flow, ultimately helping with stiff muscles and other tissues in your body.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Massage Chair?
While massage chairs are fantastic, there is no way to replicate a masseuse completely (at least not yet.) A masseuse has the capability of directly communicating with you, and they can use that communication to target the areas that you need; chairs can’t do that. Let’s take a look at some other disadvantages of massage chairs:
- Less effective: While massage chairs come with lots of bells and whistles, they can’t perform every type of massage, and some muscles and pains can only be relieved by a licensed masseuse.
- Limited functionality: Massage chairs are limited in the functions that they can perform since the rollers and nodes can’t reach many spots on the body. If you have a certain discomfort in these areas, you need to see a masseuse to relieve the pain.
- Maximum user weight: The majority of massage chairs have a maximum user weight. Unfortunately, this prevents heavier users who might benefit significantly from a massage session.
When it comes down to it, massage chairs are revolutionary, and manufacturers continue to release them with more features and innovative technology. As for the question "How effective are massage chairs?", they are very effective.
They work incredibly well when it comes to reducing discomfort and pain in the back, neck, shoulders, feet, and legs. However, professional and licensed massage therapists are still a better option.
If you like the overall idea of massages in a comfortable chair at home and aren’t experiencing pain in a hard-to-target area, it might be beneficial to get yourself a massage chair.