Massage chairs have been around for decades. Over time, new models have been developed to include a host of features designed to provide users with a comfortable, relaxing at-home massage experience. For those who deal with muscle aches and pains, a massage chair can provide convenient, at-home relief. They also offer a range of other benefits, and come in modern designs that fit well with most decor styles.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a massage chair, you may be wondering exactly what benefits — and drawbacks — you can expect to see.
Pros of massage chairs
After exercise, repetitive motion, or prolonged periods of inactivity, muscles can become tight. Tight muscles result in stiff muscle fibres, which can limit movement, cause posture to fall out of alignment, and constrict blood flow.
The friction created by applying pressure through various massage techniques encourages muscles to loosen. Because of this, massage chairs can be particularly beneficial to individuals who are prone to suffering from stiff muscles, such as those who:
- Have jobs that involve physical labour
- Spend prolonged periods of time sitting throughout the day
- Perform high intensity exercise frequently
- Have an underlying condition that causes tension in muscles
Research from 2016 found that after massage therapy, study participants experienced a significant reduction in muscle soreness and an improved range of motion in the affected area.
Incorrect posture can lead to a number of health issues, including back pain, headaches, poor balance, and breathing difficulties. If poor posture is left unaddressed, additional conditions can develop and pain can worsen over time.
Alongside practising good habits — and incorporating appropriate exercises where necessary — a massage chair can help promote better posture. Muscles that have become weakened due to incorrect posture must be engaged and strengthened, and tight muscles need to be loosened and stretched in order to correct posture. The rollers within a massage chair help tight back muscles relax and may also aid in the activation of weak muscles.
Improves blood circulation
The circulatory system plays an essential role in maintaining good overall health. When the circulatory system is operating to the best of its ability, blood and oxygen flow freely through the body to each of the organs to keep them working properly. The benefits of healthy circulation include faster healing of wounds, better cognitive function, and improved heart health.
The heat caused by the friction created on the skin during massage therapy stimulates blood flow and can help move blood through congested areas. A 2020 study found that participants who received a five-minute leg massage experienced a significant increase in circulation in the affected limb and its surrounding areas.
The circular motions made by the rollers in massage chairs can help to manipulate tissue and muscles to allow for better blood flow. Many massage chairs can be reclined, elevating the user’s legs and further promoting good circulation.
While the key purpose of a massage chair is to provide convenient, at-home massage therapy, it also serves another function. Many massage chairs available today boast sleek designs and modern features, allowing them to blend into living rooms of all sizes and styles. Massage chairs can be used just like a traditional chair when they’re not being used for massages, giving you a comfortable place to relax when you’re watching television or reading a book.
Cons of massage chairs
User weight limit
Massage chairs have a user weight limit, meaning they aren’t suitable for everyone. Many specify weight limits of between 265lbs and 285lbs, but models with higher weight capacities are available. It’s worth noting that features included in certain massage chair models — such as thigh and shoulder airbags — may prove uncomfortable for larger individuals.
Massage chairs contain sophisticated technology and are made with premium materials, meaning they can be costly. High-end massage chairs which provide users with a host of features — such as heated massage and additional rollers — tend to cost more.
However, for those who don’t require the extra features, a simpler model is still able to deliver a pleasant at-home massage experience for a smaller price tag.
Because massage chairs are a specialized product, style options are not as expansive as those of traditional chairs. Although they aren’t available in an extensive range of colours, neutral shades are used in the design of many massage chairs, making it simple to match the chair with a room’s existing colour palette.
Massage chairs offer a convenient way to enjoy massage therapy. Alongside their potential to help correct posture and boost circulation, a massage chair can help you soothe sore muscles while you relax at home. With an increasing variety of features designed to provide an enhanced user experience, it’s worth researching different options when selecting a massage chair to determine which model is best suited to your needs and preferences.
Because massage chairs deliver strong pressure through their high power rollers, they aren’t suitable for everyone. Individuals with health conditions such as osteoporosis — which leads to brittle bones — should not use massage chairs. People with certain heart conditions may also be advised against using a massage chair. If you have an underlying health condition, consult with your doctor before purchasing a massage chair to ensure it is safe for you to use one.