The 10 Best Massage Chairs
Choosing The Right Massage Chair
If you're short on space, there are some compact, yet effective options out there.
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.
If you've ever gone through physical therapy for a sports or accidental injury, massage was probably part of your healing regimen.
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.