Best massage chair

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In addition to stress and pain relief, the Mayo Clinic notes that massage also boosts circulation and the immune system while lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

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Which massage chairs are best?

Massage therapy is growing in popularity and being recognized as a positive component to a person’s overall health. It is recommended for people with recent injuries, people suffering from pain and stiffness and for anyone who needs stress relief.

Scheduling a massage appointment can be challenging due to work conflicts, time constraints and financial considerations. Massage chairs are an excellent alternative. There is a wide variety of massage chair styles to choose from. The top choice is the real massage-simulated Sharper Image Smartsense Shiatsu Realtouch Chair Pad.

What to know before you buy a massage chair

Sizes of massage chairs

Stand-alone massage chairs can be bulky and take up a lot of room. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for how much space you will need. Massage seat cushions are portable and take up less room by attaching to existing chairs and furniture.

Types of massages

You will discover different types of massage offered by different styles of massage chairs. Depending on your condition or reason for using a massage chair, it will be helpful to know the types of massages.

Shiatsu uses fingerlike motions to pinpoint specific areas of the body. Swedish massage applies deep, gentle pressure for relaxation. Rolling massage applies consistent pressure to loosen muscles. Kneading stretches muscles to help with soreness. Deep tissue uses deep pressure for chronic pain issues.

Motors in a massage chair

The key to a good massage chair experience is the number of high-quality motors that the chair uses. Typically, you should look for a range of around five to 14 motors. However, keep in mind that the quality of the motor matters too. Three high-quality motors likely provide a better massage than five low-quality motors.

What to look for in a quality massage chair

Rollers

Most massage chairs have rollers that apply massage, but some are shorter than others, and some may not go the entire length of your torso or legs. Make sure you see how the rollers will work with your body before you buy a specific chair.

Zero gravity

Some massage chairs have a zero-gravity feature that places the body in a semiweightless position. It does this by lifting the legs above the heart and taking pressure off the spine to eliminate the gravitational pull. The theory behind zero gravity is that the muscles will relax more readily without gravity pulling on them.

Heat

Heat is a recommended part of any type of muscle therapy since it loosens the muscles. Look for massage chairs that have heat running the entire length of the chair.

Body scan technology

Higher-end massage chairs use a special technology that checks the spine’s alignment and detects tense muscle areas. It then customizes the rollers’ response by focusing on these areas. This technology is only found in higher-priced units, but if you want the most focused massage for your body, it may be worth the investment.

How much you can expect to spend on a massage chair

There is a wide range of prices for massage chairs running from $100-$6,000 depending on how many features and high-tech options you want to pay for. A basic full-body massage chair will cost between $400-$700 with higher-end models priced up to $2,000.

Massage chair FAQ

Can anyone use a massage chair?

A. The benefits of massage extend to just about everyone. People with physically demanding jobs or athletes can benefit from massage. Anyone with chronic pain or existing joint and muscle issues also can find temporary relief from massage. If you have a preexisting back or joint condition, or perhaps just recently suffered an injury, you should consult your health care professional to make sure a massage won’t cause more harm.

How long do massage chairs last?

A. It depends on the style of the chair and the manufacturer. Some lower-end massage cushions will last a few years, while high-end massage chairs can last upward of 20 years. Always look at the manufacturer’s warranty, as this is often an indicator of quality expectations. Be sure to see if the manufacturer covers repairs and check how long the warranty is active.

What’s the best massage chair to buy?

Top massage chair

Sharper Image Smartsense Shiatsu Realtouch Chair Pad

Sharper Image Smartsense Shiatsu Realtouch Chair Pad

What you need to know: This portable chair pad attaches to any chair and feels like a real massage.

What you’ll love: There are four gel nodes that feel like fingertips to give the experience of a real massage. Smartsense technology finds your pressure points for a customized massage. There is a heating option for extra relief.

What you should consider: The unit has an automatic shut-off feature after 15-20 minutes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top massage chair for the money

Belmint Shiatsu Massage Seat Cushion with Heat

Belmint Shiatsu Massage Seat Cushion with Heat

What you need to know: This affordable massage cushion fits any chair and focuses on your back.

What you’ll love: There are 10 vibrating nodes that relieve stress and tension by working out muscle knots. It has rolling massage and heat options. Easy to clean and easy to transport, this massage cushion provides a lot of value for the price.

What you should consider: There were some concerns about the massage experience being painful in certain areas of the back.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Homedics Shiatsu Elite II Massage Cushion

Homedics Shiatsu Elite II Massage Cushion

What you need to know: This massage cushion receives high marks for your neck and shoulders with multiple options.

What you’ll love: There are three zones covered by three different massage styles: shiatsu, rolling with width adjustment and spot massage. There is a heat option for extra relief. A preprogrammed controller offers different sets of massages.

What you should consider: There were some concerns about the massage pressure not being strong enough in certain areas.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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