There are 12 massage chair benefits that people don’t normally know about. The massage chair is a poor misunderstood creature. Many think that it is a premium and luxury item that normal people can’t afford. Others think that any benefits reaped from a massage chair are very fleeting, if at all genuine.
In actual fact, the benefits from massage chairs are real. Let’s discover them below.
Massage Chair Benefits
1. Reduce stress, tension, and anxiety
Studies have shown that massage therapy alleviates stress symptoms. Massage therapists know this by experience but this has also been validated by research studies like Delaney’s ‘Short-term effects of … massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone’ (1) and Cady’s ‘Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress’. (2)
The conclusion of these studies is that massage therapy reduces stress significantly on physical and psychological levels. Measures of oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and salivatory cortisol levels, for example, were all lower after a 10 to 15 minute chair massage in controlled studies.
In today’s society where stress accounts for $26B in medical and disability payments and $300B overall (3), and $95B in lost productivity per year (4), a solution as simple as a massage chair is no laughing matter.
2. Relax and loosen sore muscles
The human body is a very smart machine. When you overexert your body beyond what is healthy for you, muscles stiffen and become sore. These are signals to the body designed to keep you in check.
Instead of stubbornly persisting and proceeding, listen to your body and take a break. A massage chair is a luxurious way to relax in your home.
It will help loosen sore and fatigued muscles, and release tension in your body, especially with a Shiatsu mode. After a long and hard day at work, we can guarantee that a good massage massage chair is heaven-sent.
3. Improve blood flow
Two components of the massage chair assist with improved blood circulation.
The first is the mechanized massage that one gets from a massage chair. These massage techniques include kneading, rolling, tapping, gripping, and Shiatsu. In all these techniques, the rollers of massage chairs move and vibrate key points of the body thus promoting improved blood flow.
There are countless benefits from boosting your blood circulation. These include:
- Speeding up recovery from injuries and ailments
- Eliminating toxins from the body
- Stimulation of endorphins that help the body cope with pain and stress
The second component is the Zero Gravity feature of premium massage chairs. In such a position, your blood reaches the various parts of the body and improves circulation throughout the body.
4. Boost immune system
Did you know that a 45-minute massage increases the number of lymphocytes in the body? Lymphocytes are white blood cells that help defend the body against diseases. They are responsible for the body’s immune response. When the body is able to increase its number of lymphocytes, it is better able to resist sicknesses we encounter every day like the common cold, fever, or flu.
According to experts, just one massage is enough to produce and measure significant quantifiable changes to the body’s endocrine and immune response.
5. Mobilize lymphatic circulation
The body’s lymphatic system is as important as the body’s blood flow. It is the drainage network that keeps our body fluid balanced and defends the body against infections. One way to think of the lymphatic system is to consider it as the body’s sewer system as it collects the body’s waste by-products.
While blood has the heart to pump it all along the body, the lymphatic system has no such “pump” to force its movement. It is only able to move around the body when you breathe and contract muscles. Thus, when you live a sedentary lifestyle, lymph fluid tends to collect in the body causing inflammation.
The massage action of massage chairs and the recline position help to move lymph better across the body thus combating inflammation and disease. To give a real-life example, after a hard day’s work, people’s feet tend to swell and the common fix is to ‘put your feet up’ to reduce swellling.
6. Alleviate pain and headaches
Massage chairs have a proven track record of alleviating all sorts of pain including headaches, common body aches, chronic neck/shoulder/back pain and so on. Studies show that massage therapy descreased cortison levels and increases serotonin by an average of 28%. Serotonin is one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, the body is better able to manage pain.
While most, if not all massage chairs have the potential to ease regular pain, specialized massage chairs are designed to do so. Pain is relieved through a variety of massage programs and body heating action.
Testimonies from pain sufferers have shown that massage chairs either significantly reduced chronic pain or eliminated it completely. This is a HUGE deal for an ageing population that is plagued by chronic pain. Massage chairs offer a cheaper alternative to expensive physical therapies and gadgets.
For people who have been suffering from pain for a long time, this is the most compelling of all massage chair benefits.
7. Decompress and improve spine alignment
This particular health benefit can be reaped from massage chairs that recline or that feature Zero Gravity. Some premium massage chairs also have massage programs that are designed to align the spine. The Infinity IT-8500 massage chair, for example, has the much-touted Seat Sway feature.
8. Improve posture
Improving overall posture and balance is another one of our favorite massage chair benefits because it is so unexpected. With continued use, a good massage chair can correct misalignments of the spine, and neck and shoulder muscles. That’s why they are popular among actors and sports stars.
9. Generate more flexibility
Another side effect of regular massage chair use is increased flexibility. Massage chairs can help combat decreased flexibility caused by a trigger point. A trigger point is a painful condition from overexertion and strenuous exercise that leads to sore muscles and a restricted range of motion. Have you ever played sports or lifted weights so hard that you literally can’t raise your arms after?
People suffering from trigger points and spasm areas experience relief and restoration from regular massage therapy. Tense muscles and ‘knots’ are loosened over time.
Research findings from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Ontario showed that massage decreases inflammation and even promotes the growth of new mitochondria, the body’s powerhouse on a cellular level. Chalk that up to a growing list of massage chair benefits.
10. Regulate high blood pressure
The feeling of total relaxation and well-being helps keep blood pressure down. Similar to the effects of finishing a good run or a yoga workout, your blood pressure lowers and your heart rate slows. We can blather on about how the body reacts to lower blood pressure, but the best proof really is to get on a massage chair and experience the “total relaxation” experience.
11. Improve sleep quality
Studies have (unsurprisingly) shown that massage therapy reduces fatigue and improves sleep across the board. This includes men and women, the young and the old, and even sickly people like those suffering from cancer, heart disease, or psychiatric disorders.
These same studies attribute improved sleep quality to increasing delta waves. Delta waves are brain waves connected to deep sleep.
Have you ever noticed how you keep drifing off to sleep during a massage session?
12. Keep depression at bay
Despression is becoming all too common in today’s modern times. The good news is that keeping depression at bay is also amongst our massage chair benefits.
Massage therapy has long been discovered to increase all the happy hormones which include serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. A good investment on a massage chair is like getting a never-ending supply of these happy hormones.
According to these same research studies, adults who enjoy a 15-minute session on a massage chair twice a week every week for five consecutive weeks experienced an increase in delta waves and a decrease in beta waves.
How is this significant?
Delta waves are the deep sleep waves while alpha waves are the waking and reasoning waves. Massage chair therapy helped the adults fall into either a deep relaxation state or a light sleeping state while decreasing conscious anxiety.
In studies of women with Stages 1 and 2 breast cancer, it was found that women given 30-minute massages 3x a week for five consecutive weeks showed amazing results. They measured for lower depression and hostility levels. Their urine results also showed increased levels of dopamine, serotonin, NK cells, and lymphocytes. Not only did their overall mood improve, their immune systems also received a boost.
Because companies and organizations are also finding out all these amazing massage therapy and massage chair benefits, Human Resources departments and administrations have responded by setting up areas in work buildings where employees can sit and relax in several massage chairs. (There is a billion-dollar company near our home which recently spent 60,000 dollars on a ‘chill room’ – at the heart of which are six massage chairs.)
Convinced? Then head over to our page listing the top products on the market and find the best massage chair for you.
- The short-term effects of myofascial trigger point massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects; Delaney JP et al; NCBI
- Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress; Cady SH et al; NCBI
- Stress Costs U.S. $300 Billion Every Year; Healthline
- HR Focus: American Management Association’s Human Resources Publication
Author: Mary Lou
In the Before Times, Maru spent vacations traveling and making stops at showrooms to test the latest massage chair models. Nowadays, she’s hunkered down in her small sunlit home dotted with her ever-growing collection of fiddle fig trees, indoor plants, and Himalayan salt lamps. Find her at LinkedIn.