The beauty of massage chairs becoming normalized and affordable for our living rooms is exactly the progression we want to see in this world. A massage chair is not just a feel-good luxury item when you’re looking for a back rub; it actually can be extremely good for back pain, muscle pain and stress. Sometimes you come home from a long day of work absolutely exhausted, yet wired? Locking yourself into a massage chair can be the wind-down relaxation you need to go to sleep at a decent hour.
Different chairs offer a variety of massage options from back to full body and most everything in between. The most effective, medically, would have to be the zero-gravity option massage chairs. Zero-gravity lays you almost fully horizontally, which allows you to fully melt into the confines of the chair, and effectively get the most out of what the chair offers. I’ve been in several zero-gravity chairs, and it was almost overwhelming sitting in one at first. The armrests grab your arms; your feet are suddenly locked into a position, and just like that, the chair has you, and you have (almost) no choice but to be taken for a ride.
Maybe I make this sound a little extreme, but the chances are very likely that you will be feeling more relaxed and stress-free after experiencing a zero-gravity massage chair.
What to Look for in a Massage Chair
If you’re exploring the market for a massage chair, you should predetermine exactly what it is you want to get out of it. Some do it all, and others focus specifically on certain types of massage.
Chairs boasting airbags or air massage will focus on parts of the body that are typically hard to reach with a more modest massage chair. Remember going to the drug store when you were a kid and sticking your arm in the blood pressure cuff that would blow up with air?
Same concept with these airbags. When they blow up around your arms, neck, shoulders and legs, they slightly move up and down to help stretch you out. It’s a very nice warm-up massage, and some say it gave them a similar feeling of doing certain types of heavily focused stretch yoga.
Massage rollers are the most common and pretty standard on any chair you get. It’s the closest thing you will get to visiting a massage parlor in person and requesting tissue massage or Shiatsu. Roller massage focuses on pressure points in your back and neck that release tension and can relieve knots.
Vibration massage is the perfect solution for increased flexibility, increased blood flow and a number of other positive therapies. A popular use of vibration massage is for delayed onset muscle soreness. So if you are the type that is hitting the gym hard, this could be the perfect type of massage to ease you out of a rough day of sore muscles and get that blood circulation flowing smoothly.
Types of Massage
The single most common type of massage thrown around in this article would be Shiatsu massage. A Japanese technique involving pressure applied by fingers, palms and even feet. The reason Shiatsu is so popular among massage and massaging chairs is that -well- back pain is so prevalent, and Shiatsu is an effective pain relief tool for people who suffer from it.
Tapping massage is another common offering of most massage chairs. It gives results similar to acupuncture massage therapy but without the needles. By tapping lightly on acupoints, you can relieve stress and tension and do it all in the comfort of your home.
Deep tissue massage might also be called kneading and is extremely beneficial for promoting muscle strength as well as circulating blood flow. If you are having trouble with range of motion within certain muscle groups, chances are kneading can move you in the right direction by breaking down collagen buildup (buildup of collagen is common in muscle injuries).
Now that you have an idea of what these chairs can do for you take a peek at the 11 best massage chairs on the market for whatever massage technique you are looking for.
As previously mentioned, full-body zero-gravity is the end all be all when it comes to massage chairs. This particular Real Relax Massage Chair has a number of relaxing options built-in from Bluetooth capabilities, speakers and LED mood lighting all the way to a waist heater and foot massager.
It comes with over 50 airbags, so you can guess it’s an absolute workhorse for air massage. Imagine getting locked into one of these bad boys after a rough day at work. Sign me up!
Another wonderful option for full body massage, with all the bells and whistles is the RELAXONCHAIR [MK-II Plus]. This one stands out because it offers everything you would want in a massage chair, i.e., Rollers, airbags, and heat. But, it has body scanning technology as well.
It scans your size, as well as how you are sitting in the chair, so it knows exactly which points on your back to pay special attention to.
An incredible option for someone lacking the space for a fully reclining chair can look to the Tenker Shiatsu Back Massager. What's good about something like this Shiatsu focused massager is it's not confined to one space; it's extremely portable and goes where you need it.
Remember, Shiatsu is a form of relation and stress relief (among many other things), so having one at the office or even in the car could be the game changer you have been looking for.
For the individual who might need a little more room, consider the Kahuna Superior Massage Chair. Body types all the way up to 6 feet 5 inches tall, and 320 pounds can safely and comfortably use this unit with ease.
You don't have to be a big guy to use the Kahuna, but it's nice knowing that it's available for everyone who might be interested.
What's amazing about the Infinity Riage X3 is the highly sought after L track design. Most chairs come standard with a S-shaped roller track, but newer models offer the L-shape track design. S-shapes follow the path of the human spine, but L-shaped tracks can go further down the spine, reaching all muscles in the buttocks and even the hamstrings.
It’s more of an actual full body massage experience and relatively contemporary design technique.
It's obvious that massage chairs can be great for your health and fantastic for relaxation. It doesn't mean they are pretty to look at and can really mess up the feng shui you have going in the living room. Most massage chairs are bulky and eyesores, but luckily there is an option that takes into account your eye for interior decorating.
The Nouhaus Classic Massage Chair will fit in with your contemporary modern vibe and could even tie the room together! The award-winning aesthetic doesn't skimp on functionality either. This chair comes correct with rollers, airbags and reclining options.
This back massager is unique because it pays special attention to neck massage. Complete with a specialized pillow that adjusts above your shoulders to give you the ultimate neck rub down. The Renpho Back Massager is extremely versatile for all body types, it works the same on someone who is 5’1 as it does on someone who towers at 6’1.
It’s easy to personalize the experience you are looking for when you can choose from options like heat, Shiatsu, kneading, vibration and rolling. A lot is packed into this very affordable and portable back massager.
Let’s face it if you do find yourself sitting upright in a chair day in and day out playing video games, your back is going to let you know how it’s feeling after a while. Posture can go by the wayside when you're zoned into a screen, so consider doing yourself a favor and trying out a massaging game chair.
Not only is it beneficial medically, but it also has some cool added features to make your life easier. A 360-degree swivel can keep you on your toes if you’re using more than one screen, and if you’re taking a break (or a nap), you can recline 90 degrees, up to 140 degrees. Talk about never having to leave your comfy spot again!
Eight different massage modes will keep your back feeling relieved and your mind at ease.
You almost wouldn't believe this chair is anything beyond your classic recliner chair, but hidden underneath the cushions of this awesome product is two vibrating nodes that offer eight different massage modes. With this great entry-level option from Giantex, you don't need a large area like with some other high-end massage chairs, this one blends right into your regular living room setting with ease.
Pick it up in 3 different colors, black, brown or grey and match your current color scheme.
The absolute perfect option for on the go! No longer will you be sitting on the sidelines of your child’s sports game in pain from a sore back. Forget being cold either, the truMedic Folding Massage Chair also has heated seats for the frigid winter months. I cannot imagine a more universal tool for any sports parents.
Besides the obvious benefits of a massage chair, there is also a USB charging port for your devices!
Commercial use for the home is how I would classify this powerful and medically proficient massage chair. It has every feature you could possibly want, from deep tissue to zero gravity and heated seats, you don't have to settle for something less. One key feature the MB series offers is a trademarked medical feature called Chiropractic BodyTwist Technology.
This one of a kind high-quality chair can twist you and stretch you effectively and safely without having to visit a doctor.
With so many options on the market, you need to ask yourself exactly what it is you want out of a massage chair.
Do you need something to help with your lower back pain? Maybe a massage chair with foot rollers, lumbar support and a backrest? Or are you in need of a massage chair recliner with a footrest?
From full body massage chairs to heat therapy options to massages with multiple intensity levels, there is something out there for every type of consumer! Whether you want a whole-body massage or something that focuses on specific areas for tight muscles, we've got you covered.
Your body deserves a quality massage this year, don't let anyone tell you differently!
You might also be interested in: How Yoga Can Help Heal Your Low Back [With 10 Poses]
Our 11 Favorite Massage Chairs:
- Real Relax 2020 Massage Chair, Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Recliner
- RELAXONCHAIR [MK-II Plus]
- TENKER Shiatsu Back Massager
- Kahuna Superior Massage Chair
- Infinity Riage X3
- Nouhaus Classic Massage Chair with Ottoman
- RENPHO Back Massager
- Powerstone Gaming Massage Chair
- Giantex Massaging Recliner
- truMedic InstaShiatsu Folding Massage Chair
- MB Series Medical Breakthrough 5