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Massage chairs imitate the fingers of a professional massage therapist for a healthy, relaxing massage having many benefits. The massage chair hit the consumer market in the 1980s and has been successful ever since. When you want relief from pain, muscle aches, stress, lower back pain relief and leg pain, a quality massage chair is the way to go. Being a viable and fashionable product, interest has soared.
How Massage Chairs Work
The design is very simple for a robotic massage chair. You sit in it and it gives you the feeling of a hands-on massage. A number of chairs have minimal vibrating components while others provide multifaceted features such as airbags for better blood circulation and the massage cushions deliver soothing relief being oh so comfortable.
Health Benefits of Massage Chairs
There are many reports and studies touting the health benefits of massage therapy. It is the best method for stretching and reducing pain with seat cushions and armrests that vibrate, squeeze, and give you soothing and calming effects.
- Relaxation and stress relief
- Improved blood pressure
- Tight, stiff, sore muscle relief
- Fewer knots and muscle spasms
- Improved balance, flexibility, posture
- Increased brain endorphins for natural pain relief
- Reduces pressure on bones, tendons ligaments, tissue
- Less back pain
- Helps with arthritis, fibromyalgia pain
- Better sleep
- Helps sports injuries, carpal tunnel
- Decrease in headaches, migraines
- Increases range of motion
- Chronic neck pain relief
Types of Massage Chairs
Each type of massage chair with over-the-top features, color, and design are available from inexpensive to super expensive. It is important to compare the top brands features before making a buying decision.
- Zero Gravity Chairs
- Reclining Chairs/Swivel
- Full-body Massage Chairs
- Ottoman/Foot Rest
- Heated Chairs
- Massage Chair Pads
- Air Bags
- Remote Controls—Wired and Wireless
- Cup Holders, Music
Massage Chair Features
The chair works on the body with pressure that can be moving or stationary, using tension, vibration, and motion and is based mostly on Shiatsu and Swedish massage styles. This provides you with relaxation and health happiness.
Massage Chair Techniques
Swedish—emphasis on kneading and gliding motions over long areas of muscles to improve relaxation and circulation.
Shiatsu—(shi for finger and atsu for pressure) and is a traditional Japanese style that uses kneading, pressing, tapping, and stretching methods.
Kneading—the most important feature is a gentle or firm squeezing. For a back massage, the rollers must move from side-to-side across the back. The chair needs a dedicated motor for kneading.
Rolling—uses gentle rolling up and down your back near the spine with a constant pressure. This technique improves circulation and removes tension in muscles.
Tapping—is also known as percussion massage for rapid rhythmic strokes stimulating the spine, scare tissue breakdown, increased circulation, to strengthen and tone muscles.
Who Should use a Massage Chair?
Anyone needing a massage but cannot afford to pay for a massage therapist will find a massage chair a great investment to use whenever and wherever you need a massage. Many chairs will massage the body from head to foot and all places in between.
For those who sit at a computer all day suffering from lower back pain or doing manual labor, a massage chair is the way to go. You might even consider a handheld electric massager to use in conjunction with the chair.
The massage chairs are relaxing with benefits for anyone in your family. Children should be supervised and read the instruction manual for doing this. Arthritis sufferers will find a massage chair extremely beneficial. Heated chairs should only be used for a half hour. This function can then be turned off to let you enjoy the massage features.
- Zero Gravity Massage Chairs
This is how astronauts sit before they take off into space. The position is the feet above the heart that helps with circulation. Doctors have said that when feet and ankles swell to elevate them above the heart. The S-, I-, and L- track massage chairs have not technically advanced as far as the Zero Gravity chair making your massage uncomfortable foiling the Zero Gravity system.
- 3D Massage Chairs
Most of the best quality massage chairs will have the rollers or massage hands used as an up and down tap on a fixed track. On the other hand, 3D changes the massage hands toward and away to give your back up and down including in an out therapy. That feels more like a massage therapist’s hands and fingers. These chairs are very expensive up to $8000 plus. Do not be fooled into a 2D chair posing as a 3D chair. Watch videos for seeing the motion in action. There are only about 6 genuine 3D chairs in the United States. The 2D chairs do indeed provide deep, smooth, and beneficial results. Therefore, if your budget does not permit a 3D chair, a 2D chair will suffice.
- Track Design
Shiatsu chair types with first-class durability using a thick screw rod a track for the massage that kneads, taps, and rolls, are superior. Steel telescoping channels in a tube or box arrangement are other types of track designs.
– Some tracks have teeth on steel rods on one side that the massage unit travels.
– Vibration massage chairs do not use a track.
- Preset Programs
Automatic preset programs have a time preset by the manufacturer or can be set for your choice of 5-, 10-, 20-, or 30-minute intervals with programmed functions from which you select.
- Fit into Space
Measure your space to be sure it will fit, especially if you choose a recliner.
Be sure the massage chair has caster wheels or some type of roller.
- Power Usage
Depending on the model and features, the average power is between 130- and 160-Watts about the amount of 150-Watt incandescent light bulb.
- Massage Chair Weight
The typical chair is about 150 pounds; however larger chairs with more features can be quite heavy and the freight to ship will be more.
- Person’s Weight
The strength of the frame determines the maximum weight load for the chair. Most chairs will accommodate a 250- to 300-pound person. Be sure to check the specifications for the chair you are considering.
- Neck and Shoulder Massage Chairs
For tight movement and soreness in your neck, be sure the chair you are selecting will provide a good massage to the back of your neck and shoulders to include the upper back. You might want to augment the chair with a separate massage device here. Tight muscles with spasms are debilitating and can cause extreme headaches.
- Warranties and Customer Service
The best deal is a risk-free money back guarantee. Try to find a company stating this. All brands of massage chairs provide Limited Warranties and that means the better warranties will provide 2- to 5-years for parts replacement with 1-year for labor. Shiatsu chairs usually come with a 3-year Limited Warranty. You usually have to pay for shipping for the chair to be fixed. A number of manufacturers will offer Extended Warranties for labor from $100 to $300 each year. Always keep the tags from the chairs (the ones that say “do not remove under penalty…”; that is for the seller, not the buyer). Keep it and all receipts should you need to file a Warranty Claim.
Please do read customer reviews, the manufacturer’s site, and if the website is not available, be suspicious. When you read “faux” leather—“faux” means fake. If you want a genuine “leather” chair, be sure it states genuine leather.