Apr 19, 2024 • 4 min read • By: Polly Clover

Are Massage Chairs Good for You? What the Experts Say


Are you looking for self-care activities or ways to find relief for your body? Are massage chairs good for you? They can be! In this article, we’ll provide insights from medical professionals.

According to Georgiy Brusovanik, M.D. Orthopedist and Spine and Bone Specialist at Miami Spine Doctor, “If you want to live with less pain, then a massage chair may be very good for you.” Not only can massage chairs alleviate pain, but they can also encourage relaxation and improve your circulation.

Below, we’ll explore how massage chairs work, their health benefits, how they’re different from traditional massage therapy, and get answers to other common questions.

What are massage chairs?

Massage chairs use technology to offer massage therapy without human touch. They’re made to knead, roll, and tap different areas of the body to provide physical relief and relaxation. 

Some chairs, including Zero-Gravity Massage chairs, can be customized to your body's specific needs to offer an intensity, level, and comfort suitable for your body.

Are massage chairs good for you?

Massage chairs are good for you because they can easily help you relax, relieve tight muscles, and improve circulation, says David Koivuranta, Doctor of Chiropractic at Toronto Neck and Pain Clinic. Massage chairs also encourage reflex relaxation through the nervous system, which calms nerves and stress.

“There’s no scientific evidence that a massage chair changes the duration of lower back pain symptoms or episodes,” says Brusovanik. “However, as a spine specialist and surgeon, I can confirm that a reclining massage chair may improve your back pain or sciatica.”

Massage Chair Benefits

According to the experts, massage chair benefits include:

  • Pain relief: Brusovanik explains that a massage chair allows you to lie in a restful, weightless position. This allows you to fully rest your body, which can help reduce pain, discomfort, and stress in the body.
  • Improved circulation: Massage chair therapy can help improve circulation, says Koivuranta. As you sit back and experience the pressure of a massage, your blood flows better. Good circulation helps your organs work properly for overall health.
  • Better sleep: As your body experiences the pain relief and relaxation Brusovanik and Koivuranta discuss, you can rest and experience better sleep.

Since functions in the body work together, these benefits of massage chairs can also improve your posture, stress and anxiety symptoms, immune system, and flexibility.

Relaxation Lounge at Oakwell Beer Spa with massage chairs
Relaxation Lounge at Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver

Massage Chairs vs. Massage Therapists

So, what's the difference between a massage chair and in-person massage therapy? According to Calum Fraser, Physiotherapist, CEO, and Owner of Advantage Physiotherapy, massage chairs are carefully designed to mimic the techniques professional masseuses use. These can include anything from soothing Swedish massages to more targeted deep tissue massages. 

Fraser explains that the methods a massage chair and therapist use can both help alleviate common body aches, reduce stress, enhance blood circulation, and even improve sleep.

While hands-on and mechanical massage work similarly, Koivuranta says massage chairs aren't a replacement for hands-on therapy. Although massage chairs are generally safe and effective for temporary relief in many situations, Koivuranta suggests watching for aggravations to sore areas and overdoing the duration of the massage.

Are there disadvantages to massage chairs?

While massage chairs are generally safe for most people, there are disadvantages for specific people.

According to Fraser, you should avoid massage chairs unless otherwise directed by a healthcare professional if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Recently had surgery
  • Have a muscular, skeletal, or heart condition

If any of these scenarios apply to you or if massage therapy doesn’t alleviate pain, you may need a more specialized therapeutic approach.

Koivuranta also says to be cautious that using a massage chair isn't masking or covering the symptoms of a condition you should seek treatment for. For example, if you only feel relief when getting a massage, you should consult your healthcare provider.

How often should you use a massage chair?

You can usually use a massage chair three to four times per week for optimal benefits, says Calum. However, this depends on your health condition, lifestyle, and needs. 

If using a massage chair helps you feel better, use it as often as you’d like. Otherwise, seek further guidance from a medical professional on best usage.

man relaxing in a massage chair
Zero Gravity Massage at Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver

Is it okay to use a massage chair every day?

Since massage chairs are generally safe, you should be okay to use one every day.

Brusovanik explains that using a massage chair as often as you'd like is okay. However, if you need it to relieve pain, you should consult with a specialist who will likely recommend an MRI to diagnose and treat your condition. 

How long should you sit in a massage chair?

According to our experts, you can use a massage chair for 10 to 30 minutes at a time. Calum recommends incorporating a moderate 15 to 20-minute session three to four times weekly to experience benefits. 

Should I buy a massage chair?

A massage chair is worth investing in if you want to experience the benefits and think you'll use it at least a couple of times weekly. 

If you don’t have the space for a massage chair in your home, aren’t sure how often you’ll use it, or don’t have the budget for the upfront investment, you can visit a spa or other wellness center with massage chairs.

Are massage chairs good for you? Conclusion

According to our research and the Physiotherapist, Doctor of Chiropractic, and Orthopedist we spoke to, massage chairs are good for you and generally safe for most people. Massage therapy can help relieve pain and muscle tension, support relaxation, and improve circulation and sleep.

If you want to treat yourself to a Zero-Gravity Massage in Denver, visit Oakwell Beer Spa. Our Zero-Gravity Massage chairs are available for walk-in guests. Lie back in our high-tech massage chairs and enjoy a 15- or 30-minute deep-tissue, full-body massage.

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