The 10 Best Massage Chairs
This wiki has been updated 36 times since it was first published in January of 2016. What could be better than sinking into a comfy seat at the end of a hard day? How about getting a therapeutic massage while you're at it? Rather than deal with the cost and hassle of using a professional masseuse, the chairs on this list offer you many of the same benefits, but in the peace and quiet of your own home. You'll find options to suit every budget here, and with a variety of features. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 22, 2021:
It wasn’t an especially eventful round of updates, as most options on our list still seemed like superb selections, but we did find a few places to make improvements, starting by removing the Ootori RL900 and BestMassage EC-06C, as neither were available at the time of this writing.
The well-lauded RelaxOnChair MK-Classic earned a top spot on our list, and we were impressed with it overall, but what made it stand out in a crowd full of impressive units is its maximum height rating a 6’5”, which beats out many comparable models by a solid three inches. It accomplishes this thanks to the help of an especially long L-track and extendable footrest, yet can still accommodate users as short as 5’2”. However, its maximum weight lands at a very-average 300 pounds, which is hardly insurmountable once you start talking about people who are 6’5”, so that’s something to look out for.
The HoMedics Shiatsu Elite II MCS-845HJ might be a bit of a miss for these rankings, as it really isn’t a massage chair so much as it is an electric back massager that can be fastened to a chair, but we still thought it was worth including at the bottom of our list, for the benefit of those of us (let’s be honest, most of us) who can’t justify sinking a few thousand into this purchase, but could definitely stand to benefit from a bit of deep-tissue treatment.
If that demographic includes you, as was previously mentioned in our March 22, 2020 editor’s note for this page, then you may also be interested in some of our other rankings. We’ve got lists of handheld massagers, foot massagers, calf massagers and more.
March 22, 2020:
During this update, we wanted to insure we included everything from premium, highly-advanced chairs, to more affordable and less feature-packed options. With that in mind, we decided to remove the Panasonic MA73T and replace it with the Panasonic MAJ7 Real Pro Ultra, which is the company's top of the line model. Using the manual settings, you can create more than 100 different treatments, or simply jump right to the good part without wasting any time using one of its six preset programs. We also eliminated the Luraco iRobotics, as there were too many reports of it failing after a relatively short period of time. Considering its lofty price tag, we felt that was simply unacceptable.
Another model we had to remove from the list was the Human Touch iJoy 2580, since it seems to have been discontinued by the manufacturer. However, we were able to replace it with the Human Touch WholeBody 7.1, which offers the same benefit of looking like a traditional recliner, so it should blend into your home decor just as well. In addition, it surpasses the iJoy 2580 in features, so it will provide you with a better massage, too.
Making its debut this year in our recommendations is the Osaki OS-4000. We think it will be a good choice for many since it comes for a reasonable price, yet has many advanced features and functions, like the ability to map the curvature of your back to tailor the treatment to your unique shape, a full-sized remote, lower back heating, and a zero gravity position.
We are big fans of Kahuna chairs due to their reliability and effectiveness. Accordingly, we have included three models from them, one from each of their main series. Of the ones we recommended, the Kahuna Hubot HM-078 is the most advanced, while the Kahuna SM-7300 can accommodate the largest users, and the Kahuna LM-6800 is the most affordable.
While we did our best to include options to suit every budget, we do realize that even the most affordable of these may still be out of reach for some. If you find yourself in this group, rather than simply give up on your dreams of getting an effective massage at home, you may want to consider a massage cushion, which you simply lay over your couch or office chair, as these cost a fraction of the price of massage chairs. Another option is a handheld massager if you only need to treat one body part at a time.
Medical Breakthough 8 Massage Chair With almost too many features to list, the Medical Breakthough 8 should be able to satisfy every user. It has a special hip twist function, dedicated stretch mode, foot reflexology, and more. It is designed to replicate the feel of human hands, can playback music from Bluetooth and USB devices, and boasts 167 air cells for pressure massages. allmbspecials.com
JPMedics Kumo With a 4D L-Track mechanism, the JPMedics Kumo can reach most parts of your body from your neck to your upper buttocks, so you won't feel like it missed any problem areas during your massage. Its heated rollers protrude as much as three inches to get deep into muscles, and its faux-leather upholstery feels and looks very high quality. jpmedics.com
Choosing The Right Massage Chair
When considering such an important purchase, the first thing you need to consider is size.
Finding the right massage chair can be a daunting task. Not only will you be making a significant financial investment, but it will also become an vital part of your daily routine. When considering such an important purchase, the first thing you need to consider is size.
While they have the appearance of typical lounge chair, most full-featured units are designed to envelop the entire body and provide a zero-gravity experience. There are even models that provide gentle stretching, and these will take up even more space when fully extended. Be sure to measure the footprint your chair will occupy when completely reclined. If you're short on space, there are some compact, yet effective options out there. The smaller chairs will have fewer features and focus mostly on the back area, but they can still be a welcome respite at the end of a long, hard day.
Because full body massage chairs are quite expensive, massage cushions can be a less expensive substitute for a similar relaxing experience. However, they can never replicate the realism, comfort, and benefits of a full chair.
Once you've determined that you can fit one these little slices of heaven into your home, the next thing you need to consider is if you will use the chair for pleasure or for medical reasons. Anyone considering a massage chair for medical reasons would be wise to take the additional step of getting approval from their doctor before taking the plunge. You can now find chairs from several manufacturers that are registered as FDA-approved medical devices. This can be helpful if you are choosing a chair for a specific therapeutic reason.
Are Massage Chairs Safe?
Massage chairs are considered to be safe in most circumstances, but there some conditions that may prevent you from enjoying one. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of those conditions, just a few examples of common concerns many people have about using massage chairs. In fact, the first time you practice any kind of alternative medical therapy at home, you should always check with your doctor.
Massage is a proven treatment to reduce stress and anxiety.
Pregnant women suffer from a myriad of aches and pains as their bodies continually change and grow over the course of nine months. Many pregnant women wouldn't hesitate to indulge in a relaxing massage to help their bodies cope, but at the same time wonder if the vibrations of massage chair could induce early labor. Because every pregnancy is different, all manufacturers will advise caution before using their chairs, but most women experiencing normal pregnancies will get the green light from their obstetricians.
People with blot clotting problems and heart conditions (especially those who use a pacemaker) will definitely need to discuss the use of a massage chair with their doctors. Because a benefit of using a massage chair is the lowering of blood pressure, anyone who suffers from low blood pressure may not get the go-ahead from their doctors.
Despite these concerns, the majority of people who consult their physicians about the use of a massage chair will get a thumbs up and maybe even an education about the ways they can use the chair to improve their health. Most types of massage are considered to be an effective complement to traditional medical treatments. Several brands are even registered as medical devices with the FDA.
Massage is a proven treatment to reduce stress and anxiety. It may be a helpful supplement to many kinds of mental health programs, as well as stress-induced high blood pressure issues. If you've ever gone through physical therapy for a sports or accidental injury, massage was probably part of your healing regimen. A lot of everyday aches and pains can be relieved with a good rub-down at the end of the day. While a massage chair will never take the place of traditional doctor visits, use of the chair with your doctor's supervision can definitely provide a boost to your overall health.
A Brief History Of Massage Chairs
While the history of therapeutic massage dates back over 5,000 years, the first attempt at taking the masseuse out of the equation with an electric massage chair, (also referred to as a robotic massage chair) was in 1954. Nobuo Fujimoto designed his chair from various scrap materials, and it was then brought to market in Japan by the Fujiryoki company. While it tried to mimic the effects of shiatsu massage, the kneading knobs and tracks remained uncovered, giving the entire thing the appearance of some sort of medieval torture machine.
The market is now a lot more competitive, with multiple manufacturers offering increasingly realistic functions at various price points.
Because of the deep tradition of shiatsu massage in Japan, it is estimated that 20 percent of Japanese households own a massage chair, making Japan one of the largest markets in the world for these devices. To meet this demand, the Fujiryoki company pioneered many of the innovations that are still used in most modern-day chairs, including a clutch system to help simulate the kneading and pounding motion, and multiple adjustable kneading ball systems that move by remote control.
The market is now a lot more competitive, with multiple manufacturers offering increasingly realistic functions at various price points. Air massage was introduced in the 1990s. Probably the most compelling improvement over the years has been the increasing subtly and strength of the knead balls, which allow them to mimic the movements of the human hand for the most comfortable massage.