What are Massage Chairs and How Do They Work?

After a long day at work or school, your body will most likely feel a lot of pain and discomfort. To alleviate the pain that you are feeling, you may need to get a massage in a spa. But sometimes, you may not have enough free time to go outdoors and get a massage. For situations where you can’t go outside for a massage, you will need a massage chair so that you can reduce pain in your neck, shoulders, and back while at home. To know more about this specific device, here is a guide to massage chairs and how they work.

What are Massage Chairs?

massage chair with leg massager

Massage chairs are devices that apply pressure to different parts of your body to simulate a massage that you would normally get in spas and massage parlors. Many massage chairs available today have a backrest that has rollers with spikes or studs inside them that move up and down your neck and back. These studs or spikes are the ones responsible for giving you a massage, as their movements simulate the hands or fingers of a masseuse or therapist that massages your back, shoulders, and neck.

There are also massage chairs that have leg and foot massagers, and the same rollers on the backrest can also be found inside them, although they travel shorter. However, these massage chairs that offer an almost full-body massage are relatively more expensive than the usual massage chairs that only have a backrest, seat, and armrest.

Massage chairs are typically powered by electricity, so you would need to plug them into an electrical outlet for them to work. However, there are also battery-operated massage chairs that have rechargeable batteries inside them, but their batteries are normally recharged using electricity.

What are the Different Types of Massage Chairs?

There are a wide variety of massage chairs that are available today. Here are some of the most popular types.

Recliner Massage Chair

reclining massage chair

The recliner is considered the most popular type of massage chair mainly due to its affordability, as it has a relatively cheaper price tag compared to other types. This type of massager chair has a reclining backrest so that you will be able to lie your back down more comfortably. Its massaging features are quite simple, and you can adjust the speed and intensity of the back, neck, and shoulder massage with just a press of a button on the armrest.

Full Body Massage Chair

full body massage chair

The full body massage chair provides a massage to many parts of your body, including the back, the arms, and the legs. This type of massage chair has slots where you can put your arms and legs, and these slots would have several studs and spikes that move in a circular motion. While the full body massage chair covers more body parts compared to the recliner massage chair, the drawback to it is that it can be quite pricey since it consists of more moving parts and a bigger build.

Zero Gravity Massage Chair

zero gravity massage chair

The zero gravity massager has a backrest that reclines at a particular angle, which enables your body to go back to its neutral position. Then, your legs are also raised slightly, and your lying position on the massager evenly distributes weight in your body. So, the massage chair is called “zero gravity” since there are no particular body parts that receive more weight than the others.

With a zero gravity massager, your weight won’t add too much pressure to your back, neck, and legs. If you are experiencing tension and pressure on specific areas of your body, a zero gravity massager will be able to lift that tension and pressure off your body while still giving you a nice massage.

Massage Chair Pad

If you don’t have the budget to buy the first three types of massage chairs mentioned, then the best option for you is the massage chair pad. This type of massage chair is thinner and smaller compared to other massage chairs, and it is meant to be placed on top of another chair for support. So, the massage chair pad basically transforms an ordinary chair into a massage chair.

What are the Two Massage Chair Shapes?

For massage chairs, there are two shapes that you need to know about in order to purchase the most suitable massage chair for you. These shapes are the S-shape and the L-shape, and each of these has its own set of pros and cons.

Take note that the shapes of the massage chair depend on the pathway or roller track shape of the rollers, studs, or spikes inside the massage chair. So, when we say “shape,” it does not mean the shape of the chair’s exterior. Here are more details about these two massage chair shapes.


S-shape massage chair

The S-shape massage chair has an S-shaped roller track system that follows the natural S-shaped curve of a human’s spine. So, the S-shape massage chair is effective in providing an effective massage on all areas of a person’s back. The S-shape massage chair would have a backrest that massages the neck up to the upper part of the buttocks. The con of the S-shape massage chair is that it doesn’t provide a full body massage, so it may not be suitable for people that want to get a massage not only for their back but also for their hips and legs.


L-shape massage chair

The L-shape massage chair features an L-shaped roller track system that has an extended reach, which means that the roller can reach down to the glutes and near the hamstrings. So, the L-shape massage chair provides an almost full-body massage simply due to the shape of its roller track system. This type of roller track is typically found in high-end massage chairs. So, L-shape massage chairs can be quite expensive.

Massage chairs come in different shapes and sizes, so picking a specific massage chair would depend on the features you will need. You may also want to check reviews for the newest and most popular massage chairs online so that you will know which ones are considered the best in the market.

If ever you find massage chairs expensive, or if you only want to massage your feet, you can instead opt for a foot massage solution. You can learn more about this by reading our Guide to Selecting the Right Foot Massage Solutions for You.