Saturday, February 4th, 2023

How Does A Massage Chair Work?

How Massage Chairs work

You come home after a long day at the office. Your back hurts, your head hurts, your body feels as if it’s been put through a grinder. There’s nothing more comforting than being able to loosen all that stress and tension from your muscles and unwind. But short of going to the massage parlor to get a professional massage, there are few options available that will give that same level of satisfaction. And let’s face it, no one has the time to go to a massage parlor. But that’s where the massage chair comes in. What was once reserved for the rich elites has now found a place in the living room of thousands, the best massage chairs on the market make wonders in one`s household. The massage chair has become a piece of furniture that everyone wants. But very few know how a massage chair works and what they should be looking for when they’re in the market for one.

How Does A Massage Chair Work?

Yes, the information lies below, but let`s start with a small intro.

 What is a Massage Chair?

A massage chair is fundamentally different from a sofa or recliner. But essentially, they are chairs with mechanisms built-in to massage and relax your muscles through vibrations and heat.

By outward design, they’re similar to what you’d see in a recliner. But there is a lot more going on under the cushions than just balls of cotton.

The original massage chair was invented by a man called Roland A. Labbe in 1948 when he filed a patent for the massage chair. His design was rather simple. He mounted a stool on a pedestal. On the back of the pedestal, there was a metal frame attached to the chair which could vibrate and ease the sitter into comfort.

Modern massage chairs have come a long way since then, with much more advanced features and capabilities.

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How Does One Work?

This question is answered differently depending on the kind of massage chair that you’re looking at. One major thing to consider is to find out what massage chair you have. Some of them focus on vibrations to ease muscles, while others have rollers to roll over your muscles with gentle pressure, similar to how a masseuse relaxes your muscles.

There are also massage chairs which use airbags, expanding and deflating to relieve pressure. This promotes healthy blood circulation while alleviating stress.

Vibrating Massage Chairs

Vibrating massage chairs are pretty straightforward. They have motors that generate the vibrating motion, which is transferred to various parts of your body, like the back, legs, shoulders, neck, etc.

This continuous motion is how they release the tension and stress built up in your muscles. In some chairs, vibrations also consist of tapping motions, which is effective on the back and lumbar region. This is a region where muscles tend to lock up over an extended period. It helps release pressure on the spine since the spine does carry all the weight of the body over the whole day.

Roller Massage Chairs

Roller massage chairs have rollers behind the lining. Instead of focusing on rolling motions, they roll over your muscles, exerting some gentle pressure to relieve stress.

This is inspired by the kneading and rolling actions of the hands of a masseuse, so these chairs come with multiple modes depending on the kind of massage you’re looking for.

There are some roller chairs that also come with heated rollers, which relax your muscles better than conventional rollers. But these can be a bit on the expensive side.

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Airbag Massage Chairs

Airbag massage chairs are different from the previous two, wherein they have expandable airbags built into the cushions. These chairs squeeze or roll on your muscles to exert the same relieving pressure. The motion is usually continuous, helping your body relax muscle strain and improve blood circulation.

How Massage Chairs Work

But Which One Should I Choose?

That depends entirely on your personal preference and budget on hand. Vibration-based massage chairs are easier to make and find in the market, which means that they’re also a little bit cheaper on the wallet.

But the downside is that they don’t offer the same experience as roller chairs do. If you’re in the market for a massage chair and need something that won’t break the bank, then take a look at vibration based chairs. After a long day at the office, they’re a welcome comfort to relax in.

If you have a bit more freedom to spend on a massage chair, then roller chairs are what you’re looking for. They’ve usually got different massage modes, providing you with different modes depending on how intense you want it or a specific part of the body that you’re aching in.

If you can afford to splurge, then heated roller chairs are also an option. Heated rollers do a much better job than conventional rollers. This is because muscles tend to relax faster with some heat applied to them. This releases tension and improves blood circulation as well.

But if it’s for health issues that you’re looking at a massage chair, in addition to heated roller chairs, also take a look at airbag chairs. The compressive motions of airbag chairs are also known to help with blood circulation. They’re especially useful if you’ve been injured and can’t afford to risk the rolling motion of a roller chair.


Massage chairs have certainly come a long way over the years. From a simple stool on a metal frame pedestal providing simple vibrations to heated rollers and airbags alleviating muscle tension and improving blood circulation, massage chairs are a great thing to come back home to after a long day at the office. Whether you want to kick back and relax while you’re catching a movie on the TV, or want to enjoy some peace, quiet, and a relaxing massage, massage chairs are designed to do it all.

If you’re looking for a massage chair, know what your requirements are. That matters more than your budget. You don’t want to get something that isn’t suited to you and lament about how the chair wasn’t to your preferences. Try a few and see what hits the mark.

Featured Image via www.fanikaton.com

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Sudarshan Kar

Sudarshan Kar

As Lead Editor of Homesthetics for almost a decade now, Sudarshan knows the website inside-out. His journalistic experience shaped the editorial and integrity guidelines that define the platform today.

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