Massage chairs are quite expensive equipment. If invested in a wrong one, then it’s a total waste of your money. So, you have to be very careful and attentive while purchasing them. To help you out, we have mentioned several important features below.
1. Chair Size and Space
Being heavy in size, massage chairs take up a lot of space. So, check out the instructional manual or product description for its dimensions to understand how much space you have to allocate. As some massage chairs have reclining feature, you should make sure it has free space around it. Usually, massage chairs need 18 – 24 inches’ clearance between its back and wall adjacent to it. Few manufacturers are providing chairs with space saving technology. It takes minimal space (4”) to recline back so, they are suitable for people living in smaller spaces.
Usually, most of the massage chairs are quite heavy. So, you may need another person’s help to move it around. However, some light weight options are available. Minimal massage chairs weight around 20kgs and heavy weight massage chairs weigh around 45 to 140kgs.
3. Size Compatibility
Massage chairs are available in different sizes and frames. If you purchase a wrong one, then you will experience any relief from the massage. As most of them are designed to accommodate general user requirements, they are suitable for both tall and short people. However, it is better to double check the height and weight limitations before making the purchase. Few massaging chairs are not suitable for short people.
4. Roller Tracks
The responsibility of roller tracks in a massage chair is to perform the massaging. They contain a series of round balls which travel along the track in vertical, lateral, backward or forward direction to mimic the touch of a human hand. Based on their shape, roller tracks are categorized in two types. All the massage chairs in India have one of these two types of roller tracks.
Most of the massage chairs use S-Track roller system. As the name implies, the rollers will move in S shape along your back, according to your spine curvature. This roller track system is perfect for people dealing with back pain. The rollers are arranged to cover from your neck to tailbone. They are known for delivering excellent massaging experience consistently.
L-track system is actually an extension of S-track. In the S-track, the roller will run up and down only on your back. But in L-track system, they will reach to your glutes and back of your thighs as well. If you are dealing to leg pains, soreness in thighs or pain in lower back, then L-track roller system is the right choice.
5. Massage Styles
Before making a purchase, it is important to know what massaging styles it can provide. Different styles concentrate on different area to provide relief. If the massage chair you purchase cannot accommodate your massaging requirements, then it can be waste of your money. Some massage chairs come with more than two massaging styles. Below are some of the common massaging styles…
Tapping is considered as percussive massaging technique which stimulates the muscles. It mimics the striking and pounding movement of professional’s fist. In this style, the rollers will move towards and against your back, creating a karate chop movement. Some massagers use alternative way – by inflating and deflating air bags. This technique is perfect for improving blood circulation, local temperature and tissue elasticity.
In this technique, pressure is applied slowly in a circular motion. This will compress the soft tissues against each other or against underlying bones. Some massage chair models use inflating and deflating air bags slowly to imitate the same feeling. This massage technique is suitable for increasing flexibility, treating tight muscles and pain relief.
In this massaging style, pressure is applied to specific stress points on back. Massage chairs use either air bags or rollers provide this technique. Pressure will be increased slowly according to the user’s experience of shiatsu. This massage style is perfect for pain relief, stress and tension. Traditional shiatsu massage is famous for restoring energy flow.
In traditional rolling massage, skin is lifted and rolled between the masseur’s thumb and other fingers. In massage chairs, rollers go up and down to mimic the same. Some models use air bags or combination of both rollers and airs to provide rolling massage. This technique is good for treating loose skin and muscular tension.
- Special Techniques
In order to provide better massage chairs, manufacturers have been introducing special massage techniques. These techniques vary depending on the model and price. Some of the common techniques are spinal relief, heated massage, muscle stretch, yoga, reflexology and combo. If you are wondering which massage techniques are suitable for you, then we recommend to go with a model that offer maximum number of techniques.
6. Types of Massage Chairs
There are several different types of chairs. Below, we have mentioned a detail explanation of each type…
Zero gravity massage chairs are actually the most expensive and high end models. In this massage chair, the body will be reclined in a position where it doesn’t have to sustain its own weight. This provides a similar zero gravity space feeling to your body. This position will allow the vertebrae to relax and improve the massaging experience.
Few massage chairs provide multiple zero-gravity positions. The last stage will let the body recline in a position where the heat and legs will be in the same height. In this position, heart will not have to push too hard to provide blood circulation to the legs. So, it will relax a bit and improve its efficiency as well.
As the whole body weight will be distributed across the chair, you can feel the massaging of rollers or airbags and have a better massaging experience.
Recline massage chairs are lower-end version of zero-gravity chairs. The only difference between these two models is that the body will not be supported completely by the chair. As the legs will not be lifted to the similar height of the heart, you will not experience same feeling as zero-gravity chair.
However, these chairs will recline enough to provide a relaxing experience. They are perfect to use while watching TV or reading your favorite book.
Full body massage chair provides relief to entire body from neck to legs. They are typically expensive in price as they are known to provide massaging experience mimicking a professional masseur hands.
If you want a massage chair that looks similar to traditional chair, this one right for you. It comes with a chair and footstool, delivering amazing relief.
If you don’t have budget for a full-end massage chair or don’t have enough space in your home, then you can create your own by placing a seat pad over normal chair. Seat pads can also be placed on bed when you sitting.
Because of medical issues or other reasons, some people may require more attention to certain parts. For those, we recommend to check out coverage of the massage chair.
- Head Massager
For people dealing with migraines and headaches, we recommend choose a massage chair with head massager. Most of the massage chairs provide massaging only till neck. But having additional head massage will target the muscles in the head providing relief.
- Foot Massager
If you spend a lot of time standing or travelling, then having a foot massager is really important. A foot massager can be helpful to get relief from a long tiring day at work. Most of the massage chairs come with foot massager – either included or separate as ottoman. These chairs use rollers, air bags or rotating discs for massaging. Some even provide heated massaging option as well.
- Neck Massage
Most of the massage chairs include neck massaging function. If you experience stress or pain in the neck, then it is better to make sure the model you choose has neck massaging option.
- Hip Massage
Though all massager come with airbags around the hip area, some models have special features then precisely target the spine area. This special feature will compress the muscles using air bags to provide pain relief. It also helps to maintain proper alignment of hip to the spine.
- Arm Massages
Some massage chairs use compression to provide relaxation to the arms. While other use special pockets to hold arms while the airbags compress the muscles. Some massage arms when you keep them on armrests.
This function remembers your favorite or previous speed and massage style. It prevents the need of going through all settings every time.
9. Height Range
If your height is over 6 feet or above, then you should be extra careful while purchasing a massage chair. Though some manufacturers claim to fit certain height requirements, they often don’t provide what is promised. People often complain that rollers didn’t hit the exact spots they are meant to (like shoulder, hips or shoulders). And some felt uncomfortable to sit on the massage chair. So, check out the height specifications before purchase to prevent any such situations.
10. Massage Length
Length of the massage session can be different based on body type. So, it is better to purchase a massage chairs that can customize the massage duration according to your needs.
11. Customer Reviews
Checking out the customer reviews helps to really know the quality and durability of the product as these people are using it. Some of them even provide reviews after using the product for one year – which can be more valuable. However, beware of reviews that are fake or overly gushing. We recommend to go for a product that has been rated 4 star or above by maximum customers.
12. Massage Intensity
Massage intensity varies from one brand to another. Most of the massage chairs in India come with different levels of pressure and intensity to customize the massage according to requirements. Strength or intensity of massage is directly related to the motors present in the chair. For more power and intensity, a massage chair should have more number of motors. It is better to purchase the one with more power – as you can reduce massage intensity with padding if required. But it is not possible to add more power to the massage chair.
13. Body Coverage
Some massage chairs are designed specially to focus on back muscles. While some of them are capable of full body massage. For people dealing with back and neck pain, regular massage chairs are enough. For athletes or people who deal with leg pain regularly, then choose a massage chair that concentrates more on these areas. Some of these products use rollers or airbags for providing massage. Some use rollers that specially target the muscle compression to provide quick relief from stress.
Generally, massage chairs completely safe to use. However, in some situations it can be a little overworked. So, we recommend to limit your massage sessions short – like 15 to 30 minutes, maximum twice a day. If the massage time is more, then muscles can get overworked and bruised. Never let the children and elderly use the massage chair without supervision. Make sure to place the massage chair in a way that not one will trip over the electric cords accidentally.
Features to Look Out in a Massage Chair
Massage chair models differ in terms of features it has. Make sure to check out all the features it has to offer. Few features may be impressive but total waste, if you are not going to use them. And moreover, unnecessary features can just add up the price. So, make sure the model you choose has features that are useful for you. Below, we have mentioned some common features…
1. Massage Rollers
Most of the high-end massage chairs use rollers in order to provide comfortable and relaxing massage experience. These rollers are specially designed to mimic the human hand movement. Rollers will be programmed to move upwards, downwards, left and right to provide soothing massage. The moving action of roller will improve blood circulation and soothe the muscles.
One of the important aspects to check in a massage chair is – number of massage rollers as it can impact the massage experience. Usually, 2 to 4 massage rollers are provided in most of the massage chairs. Some of them have more than 4 but they are usually stationary rollers.
Four rollers are usually enough to provide lifelike massage experience with rolling, kneading and tapping techniques. Another amazing roller features includes knead and grasp which provides feeling of human thumb and fingers massaging the shoulders and neck. This features relieves tension, inflammation and knots in the muscles.
2. Heat Massage
Heat massage therapy is the best way to get relax tires muscles. Massage chairs use heated pads or infrared rollers to generate heat – which improve blood circulation and relaxes the muscles.
Usually, heats pads are placed in the lower back area of the chair – it provides heat to lower back which is the most stress sensitive area. Some massage chairs have heat massage feature at feet area along with heat pads. Some high-end massage chairs use infrared rollers for providing heat massage therapy. They mostly cover back, neck and buttock areas to provide comfortable massage experience.
3. Massage Roller Stroke
Massage stroke length plays an important role in providing an effective and relaxing massage. Length of massage stroke has a direct impact on area covered and deeper the massage feels. Lower and mid-end massage chairs have shorter massage stroke which don’t usually reach the neck area. High-end chairs have strokes close to 30 inches and more which is enough for covering neck to lower back area.
4. Body Scan Technology
This feature lets the chair customize the massage according to user’s requirements. As people have different body structure, this feature will scan and detect the body position in the chair. It uses sensors to detect the spine curvature and tensed area. After this, the roller will be moved according to the information detected by the body scan technology.
As every massage session will be customized to the user needs, it is a very good feature to have in a massage chair. For shorter people, the shoulder air cells will not beat against neck and for taller people, air cells will not work on back instead of shoulders.
5. Air Compression Massage
Most of the massage chairs come with air compression massage feature – which uses air bags to provide effective massage experience. Air bags compress and decompress continuously to push the muscles against them or adjacent bones. This feature is helpful for massaging any area of your body.
Massage chairs will have airbags present at arms, shoulders, neck, feet, legs, and hips. When it comes to airbags, more the number, better the experience will be. In some massage chairs, you can change the airbags intensity as per your needs.
Some advanced massage chairs are capable of providing air pressure and mechanical massage simultaneously – which results in improve massage experience. However, they can be a bit expensive.
Some massage chairs come with vibration feature which are usually present in the hip region. It provides effective massage experience to legs and gluten.
7. Muscle Stretch Massage
Most of the massage chair models provide this particular feature. They are also referred as yoga, simple stretch or muscle stretch. In this feature, air compression is warmed up to warm up and stretch the muscles. People often get surprised to know how their arms, back, and legs can stretch when they use this feature, especially if they using it for first time. This feature is usually used before or after physical exercise. It is also helps in muscle recover after injury or strain.
8. Spinal Stretch
This feature is mostly observed in high-end massage chair models. It is referred with several names, but the working principle is same. In this feature, back is stretched so that pressure in the vertebrae reduces. After that, muscles around the spine are massaged to provide pain relief. This feature is perfect for people dealing with spinal pain and back pain. Having zero-gravity feature along with it can be even more helpful.
9. Acupressure Points
Some massage chairs are designed to concentrate on acupressure points to relief from pain and soreness. As the pressure points generate a feeling of hand grip, the massage will feel more realistic to professional masseur.
Programs & Settings to Check in a Massage Chair
Having a wide array of preset massage programs is very helpful. Usually, predefined programs contain different massage techniques and other features that are designed to provide better massage experience. Each of these massage techniques are designed to concentrate on particular area or massage style.
Some of them are designed to stretch the muscles, some concentrate on compressing the muscles while others provide a soft caress. You can just select any one according to your requirement and enjoy the relaxed feeling. High-end massage chairs will let you save your favorite programs. Some of them can even customize the massage according to your requirements.
2. Manual Control
Though having pre-defined massage programs can be beneficial, it is also better to have manual control over the massage settings. This helps you customize the massage according to your requirement like speed or intensity settings.
3. Intensity Settings
Everyone has their own tolerance level depending on their pain and tiredness. Some people prefer soft massage strokes while some like strong ones. Having an option of increasing or decreasing the intensity levels will help you customize the experience based on your needs.
4. Speed Settings
In some cases, we may prefer slow and deep massage. While in other situations, we may like a quick tapping. So, having a massage chair with different speed settings will let you change the level depending on your preference.
5. Auto-Shut Down
If a massage chair is used for a long time, then it can bruise the muscles. So, having a feature that will automatically shut-off after pre-set time duration will be beneficial. However, if the auto-shut off feature is pre-set for short duration, then it can be frustrating as it takes some time for the massage to reach the pain source.
Entertainment and Connectivity Features
Some massage chairs have remote control for easy operation. With this option, you can change the massage style, increase or decrease the intensity and speed level, and also turn on and off the chair. Some remote controls are built-in to the chair while other offer wireless option.
2. USB Port
Some manufacturers provide USB port to the massage chair. It helps you charge mobile device and use it while getting a massage.
3. MP3 Player
If you love listening to music while getting a massage, then few models come with MP3 player option as well.
4. Bluetooth Compatibility
Few high-end models come with in-built Bluetooth connectivity feature. This will let you pair the massage chair with your smart phone or music system. Once it is paired, you can access your favorite songs or podcasts directly through massage chair’s speakers.
5. LED Lights
Some manufacturers provide massage chairs with in-built LED lights. They are suitable for people who love immersive massage experience. You can just turn off all the electronic devices present in the room turn on the LED lights and enjoy. These lights will light up the room and provide a spa like experience at home.
6. Easy Access
Accessibility of a massage chair is usually determined by control panel. Massage chairs with complex access or control system can be frustrating to use. So, make sure the model you choose comes with easy to read and user-friendly control panel.
General Factors to Look For in a Massage Chair
Most of massage chairs, even high-end models use faux leather as real leather don’t have the capacity to handle airbags and roller pressure. The only difference between the high-end and low-end ones is the faux leather quality. Better quality massage chairs use thick layer of leather so they last much longer than others.
2. Cup Holder
This may not seem like much but having a cup holder will be helpful while using a massage chair. It can be used to hold a cup or glass while you are enjoying a massage. It can also be used to store remote control so that you won’t misplace it.
3. Silent Operation
Most of the massage chairs are bulky and moreover, they generate some noise as well while working. It is good to have a massage chair that silent so that it doesn’t disturb your family members while you are using it.
Not everyone of us have the privilege of ample space at our home. If you are worried about the space, then you can go for portable massage chairs. They are light in weight and have casters as well – which can be used to move the chair from one place to another without any issues.
There are several manufacturers that provide massage chairs in India. Some of them have been in the market for several years, while others have just begun to become relevant in the market.
When it comes to massage chairs, you should not come to conclusion based on just brand. There are several good products provided by less famous brands.
The main thing you have to look is the customer service. If the after-sales support is good, then you can consider purchasing that product.
You should decide on a budget range before starting to look for a massage chair. Massage chairs are available in a wide price range. If you don’t want to invest much, then it is waste to spend time on checking out expensive products.
Price of a massage chair usually depends on quality, features and capability. High end models usually have a wide range of massage styles, additional features, and better build quality. however, they are more comfortable, durable and effective.
7. Warranty and Return Policy
Massage chairs in India come with 1 to 5-years warranty depending on brand. Make sure to choose a product with at least minimum warranty so that you don’t have to waste money on any repair or replacement. Warranty policy of the product usually depends on the manufacturer. Some provide warranty only on cover parts, while others provide main structural frame and defects.
Some manufacturers provide 30-day return guarantee. However, you may have to cover shipper charges. As the massage chairs are bulky, shipping can be expensive.
Is it Worth to Own a Massage Chair?
Investing in a high quality massage chair is not cheap. However, when you compare the costs over time, you can see return on your investment. Because you can save time and money with a massage at home rather than travelling and paying money at a spa or professional masseuse.
At professional massage centers, massage for one session can cost up to Rs.5000. This price can actually increase or decrease based on length and type of the massage. And there can be extra costs depending locality or extra features.
So, owning a massage chair is extremely convenient. And moreover some high-end models have the option of customizing the massage according to your requirements at the particular time.
How Does a Massage Chair Work?
Massage chairs have motors, gears, rollers/air bags or vibrating mechanisms – which are responsible for providing an exceptional massage experience. Though some principles are similar to older versions, the technology used in modern models are much more advanced.
As no two massage chairs can be identical, manufacturers use different designs and some additional technologies to stand out in the market.
Even models from the same brand are different. A simple massage chair use straight forward approaches to provide a massage. Usually, they use several vibrating surfaces to provide massage to back or legs. In order to create the vibration, small devices containing wheel or weighted gear are used. As the weight will not be centered on wheel or gear, these devices can be slightly unbalanced.
When the motor rotated the gear vigorously, the rotation will generate the necessary vibration. Each vibrating surface contains at least one or two gears to provide the vibration or other massaging feature. Manufacturers take special care and attention to balance the chair, otherwise it can result in uncomfortable sensation, similar to that of an earthquake.
However, if you are purchasing a high-end model, then it will probably be using rollers – which are known to stimulate massage feeling similar to human hand. These rollers are usually powered with electric motor. They move in certain patterns are pre-set into the chair’s structural frame.
Few rollers are designed to have limited motion range – so they will only move down and up. Other rollers will be mounted on mechanical arms which provide wide motion range. They are capable of moving right and left, and rotate as well depending on the model. A microprocessor is used for string patterns. You can choose any one from the predefined movements to get a customized massage
Frequently Asked Questions?
Although massage chairs promote healthy blood circulation and wholesome functioning of the body at the molecular level, prolonged usage of any device leads to inadvertent results. One can use a massage chair for 15-20 minutes every day.
Massage chairs are usually beefed up with 2-3 layers of air cells/airbags. These cells inflate and deflate at certain points to provide pressure enough to relieve muscle knots and cramps. All the good quality chairs come with adjustable settings to control the pressure produced.
The most common roller spine formation found in electric massagers is the S-track formation. The nodes/rollers are strategically placed to provide pressure to the important points. However, a new upgrade on the formation called the L-track has proven to be better than the regular one, especially for those who have a longer trunk.
Heat therapy is one of the important functions of electric massagers. Most of the massage chairs come with adjustable settings to help relax the muscles by producing the appropriate amount of infrared heat. Some chairs produce even heat all throughout the body while some work only on some targeted areas. The chairs always have an auto shut-off option to prevent it from overheating thus, keeping safety in check.
Studies show that there are no known adverse effects of using a massage chair when implanted with a pacemaker. However, it is advisable to check in with your doctor to be on the safer side and limit the period of usage. The same holds good for pregnant women.
Massage chairs usually come with an option of choosing a particular technique or a combination of t