Are you looking to purchase a massage chair but aren’t sure which one to choose? Massage chairs can do a lot more than help you relax. They can ease chronic pain, improve blood circulation, help you get a better night’s sleep, and more.
However, to reap all of these benefits, you need to make sure you choose the right massage chair. If you've been looking for advice on how to buy a massage chair, check out our ultimate massage chair buying guide to learn how to choose the right one.
What is a Massage Chair?
A massage chair is a chair that has built-in electronic vibrators and motors that massage your neck, shoulders, back, and head. These chairs come with an ergonomic design so that when you sit in them, you can feel as comfortable as possible.
Typically, a massage chair resembles a recliner, although there are all different kinds of styles of massage chairs out there. A massage chair mimics the motions of a massage therapist. This way, you don’t have to head to the spa every time you need a massage.
Who Invented the Massage Chair?
Massage chairs have been around for over 60 years, with Nobuo Fujimoto inventing the first massage chair in 1954. Fujimoto created the chair in Osaka, Japan. He worked in a bathhouse, and he wanted to devise a way to help his clients relax more easily.
He created his initial chair design from waste he collected on the streets. He collected bicycle chains, wood pallets, baseballs, and an assortment of other items to put together his chair. Slowly, resorts and other bathhouses started buying Fujimoto’s massage chairs.
However, it wasn’t until decades later that massage chairs would become a popular household item. In 1968, a massage student named David Palmer upgraded the massage chair’s design to make it more user-friendly. He then published an article about his chair in Positive Health Magazine.
Thanks to Fujimoto and Palmer, the entire world knows about massage chairs!
How Much Does a Massage Chair Cost?
When purchasing a massage chair, one of the biggest things you need to consider is your budget. A massage chair can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000 for a top-of-the-line chair.
While this may seem like a lot of money, keep in mind that a massage from a professional massage therapist usually costs between $50 and $100 per hour, not including the tip. If you own a massage chair, you can use it any time of the day or night.
This means that you’ll have earned back your investment after just a couple of dozen uses. While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest chair on the market, keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to massage chairs. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the most expensive chair is the best. Here’s what you can expect from a massage chair at each price range:
$500 and Below
A massage chair that costs $500 or less will typically come with just one massage intensity setting as well as only a few motors. These massage chairs also usually don’t come with heat massage therapy programs. While many massage chairs are made from real leather, massage chairs in this price range are typically made from faux leather.
Most massage chairs in this price range will come with a remote control to allow you to operate the chair efficiently. You may even find some chairs in this price range that come with side pockets and cup holders.
$500 to $2500
Massage chairs in this price range typically come with enough motors to give you a full body massage. Some also come with built-in heaters, and many also offer control panels, airbags, and rollers.
These massage chairs also typically come with preset massage functions, and you can choose from a Swedish massage, Shiatsu massage, or another type of massage therapy.
$2500 And Up
Spending more than $2500 on a massage chair is a significant investment, but many people find that the investment is well worth it for the quality of the chair you get.
These chairs come with a range of features, including:
Of course, each massage chair comes with its own unique features, but these are some of the common ones you can expect to find on massage chairs in this price range.
How to Get Insurance to Pay for a Massage Chair
The good news is, you may not have to pay in full for your massage chair. Depending on your health, you may be able to get your insurance company to pay for part or all of your massage chair.
Read through your insurance policy to see if it includes a medical massage clause. If you’re about to switch your insurance, look for a policy that includes this clause.
To get your insurance to pay for your massage chair, you’ll need to prove that massage therapy is a recognized treatment method for the disease from which you suffer. For example, your insurance may cover your massage chair if you suffer from chronic back pain or you just dislocated a joint.
You’ll also need a prescription letter from your doctor. This letter should explain how your health will be in danger if you don’t have easy access to a massage chair. To get a doctor’s prescription, you’ll need to make an appointment with them to discuss your symptoms.
Most doctors will recommend painkillers, and they may say that prescribing a massage chair will be their last resort. It’s essential to explain to your doctor that you’ve exhausted your other options. You should cite studies that show how massage chairs have helped to treat conditions similar to yours.
Keep in mind that a lot of insurance companies won’t pay for your massage chair outright. Instead, they’ll allow you to apply the cost of your massage chair against your annual deductible.
Once you meet your deductible, your insurance starts to cover a larger portion of your healthcare costs. You’ll be responsible for a co-pay, which is the remaining cost that the insurance doesn’t cover.
So, let’s say your annual deductible is $5,000. If you buy a massage chair for $2500 and your insurance company allows you to apply the cost against your deductible, you only have $2500 more to spend on healthcare costs before meeting your deductible.
Are Massage Chairs Worth It? Pros & Cons
Before you go through the hassle of trying to get your massage chair covered by health insurance, you first need to decide if a massage chair is right for you.
Pros of Massage Chairs
Of course, there are some downsides to consider with massage chairs.
Cons of Massage Chairs
Massage Chair Benefits
As we mentioned earlier, massage chairs can do a lot more than help you relax. Studies show the many benefits that massage chairs offer:
Speed Up Muscle Recovery
After a grueling workout, your muscles need time to repair and recover. When you work out, you put stress on your muscles, and your muscle fibers experience tiny, microscopic tears.
During the recovery period, these fibers can heal to be stronger than before, which results in more muscle gains. If you don’t allow your muscles to recover properly, you won’t experience these gains.
While resting can help your muscles recover, a massage chair can help speed up the recovery process even more so you’re ready for your next workout.
Improve Your Sleep
Did you know that 68 percent of Americans struggle with sleep at least one night per week? If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle with sleep, a massage chair can help.
Massage chairs help to relax your muscles and mind so that when you go to bed, you feel relaxed and ready to sleep rather than anxious and wound up.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Another great thing about massage chairs is that they can help reduce your stress and anxiety levels. They do this by lowering your cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and insulin levels.
Just like lack of sleep, stress is a huge issue that plagues many Americans. Eight in ten Americans say they frequently or sometimes encounter stress in their daily lives.
It’s no secret that massages can help you relax and feel less stressed, but most of us don’t have the money to pay for a professional massage on a regular basis. With an in-home massage chair, you can melt your stress and anxiety away with just the push of a button.
Ease Lower Back Pain
If you suffer from back pain, you’re not alone. Around 16 million adults in the US suffer from back pain, making it the sixth costliest condition in the US.
While back pain isn’t life-threatening, it can have a significant impact on your daily life. One of the best ways to relieve back pain is to use a massage chair on a regular basis. A massage chair can help you manage your pain and improve your mobility. Many chiropractors and physical therapists recommend massage chairs to patients who suffer from chronic pain.
You don’t need to undergo expensive plastic surgery to improve the look and feel of your skin. When the vibrators in the massage chair stimulate your skin, it can help loosen your pores, release toxins, and improve blood circulation throughout your body.
This will result in a more youthful glow.
Reduces Headaches and Neck Pain
Another great thing about massage chairs is that they can help reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches, and they can help loosen up a stiff neck.
Massage chairs come with dedicated vibrators for your neck and shoulders. Often, headaches result from pain in your neck and shoulders, so if you resolve the pain issues in these areas, your headaches should go away.
Drains the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system, also known as the lymphoid system, is an organ system that’s a part of the immune and circulatory system. It’s made up of an extensive network of lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, lymphoid tissues, and lymphoid organs.
Massage chairs can help stimulate the movement of lymph fluids around your body (also known as lymphatic drainage). When the body drains the lymphatic system, it allows for more space to keep us safe from harmful pathogens.
Improves the Immune System
Massage chairs can also help boost the immune system, which helps the body fight against diseases and impurities. If you’re suffering from a chronic illness, this can greatly improve your overall quality of life.
Aids in Digestion
Millions of Americans are plagued by digestive issues. In fact, a recent survey found that 74 percent of Americans are living with gastrointestinal discomfort.
If you’re looking to improve your digestion, a massage chair can help. Massage chairs improve your blood circulation, and better blood circulation allows your organs to function at an optimal level. This includes the organs in your digestive system- the small intestines, large intestines, stomach, esophagus, mouth, rectum, and anus.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Massage Chair
Now that you know the benefits of owning a massage chair, let’s talk about what you need to look for when purchasing one. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Generally speaking, the more expensive the massage chair, the more features it includes. While some people don’t need all of the bells and whistles, here are some features to look for when buying a massage chair:
Kneading Button: Kneading is a technique that’s used in Shiatsu massage. It involves applying deep pressure to your muscle tissues to improve your range of motion, speed up recovery, and decrease muscle pain.
Rolling Button: Rolling is another massage technique that gently moves the bones in your spine and soothes and stretches your muscles.
Airbags: Many massage chairs come with airbags so that pressure can be better applied to your calves, hips, feet, forearms, and shoulders. When airbags inflate, they stimulate your muscles and improve blood flow. Ideally, you want to find a massage chair that delivers a rolling massage and releases airbags simultaneously.
Combining these two motions can give you a more powerful full-body massage.
Functions: If you purchase a low-end massage chair, then you likely won’t be offered much more than a rolling massage and a simple vibration. On the other hand, if you purchase a high-end massage chair, you’ll have access to a variety of vibrations and massage functions that put your body at ease.
Power: The strength of the chair is another significant factor to consider before purchasing. Keep in mind that the more you use your massage chair, the more accustomed you’ll become to its power. Therefore, the more strength options available, the better.
Positions: Ideally, you want to find a massage chair that doesn’t just focus on your back. A good massage chair will also offer features for the legs, arms, and head.
Before purchasing a massage chair, you need to find out how long the warranty lasts and what it all covers. At the very minimum, the warranty should cover the parts and labor.
If you’re purchasing your massage chair (online or offline), you also want to make sure they offer some sort of free trial period. Most companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means that if you buy a massage chair and don’t like it, you have 30 days to return it to get all of your money back.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the downsides to massage chairs is that they can take up a lot of space. Before you purchase a massage chair, it’s very important that you measure the room’s size to make sure it’ll fit.
Additionally, you want to make sure the massage chair is the right size for your body. If you are taller or weigh more than the average person, you may need to purchase a specialty massage chair to accommodate your size.
Type of Roller Track
As we mentioned earlier, some massage chairs come with rollers that help to soothe and stretch your muscles. There are three different types of roller tracks that rollers can run along. The type of track plays a vital role in the overall feel of your massage. Here are the different kinds of tracks to choose from:
Straight Track: This type of track is linear from top to bottom. However, because these tracks are straight, they can lose contact with curved areas like the neck and back.
S-Track: As the name suggests, an S-track is in the shape of the letter “S”. Because of the shape of this track, it can reach the curvature of your neck and back.
L-Track: An L-Track is an extended track that picks up where the S-track drops off. These tracks extend to the tailbone and continue into the seat of the chair. These tracks can help sufferers of sciatic nerve pain.
Type of Roller Head
In addition to the type of roller track, you also need to consider the type of roller head when purchasing a massage chair. Here are the different kinds of roller heads:
2D Rollers: These rollers move horizontally and vertically.
3D Rollers: These rollers can move three ways and can penetrate deeper into your muscle tissue. If you prefer deep tissue massages over gentle massages, this is the type of roller for you.
4D Rollers: 4D rollers include all of the dimensions and movements of 3D rollers, but with one extra rhythm. 4D rollers can vary their rhythm to better replicate the speeds a massage therapist might use.
Who Makes the Best Massage Chairs? Best Brands on the Market
One you know what to look for in a massage chair, it’s time for you to purchase one. Here are some of the best brands of massage chairs to consider:
Silvox is one of the best massage chair brands on the market. They offer a folding Shiatsu massage chair with heat. This chair comes with deep kneading rollers and a self-massage seat with vibration.
Tuoze offers a leather, adjustable, reclining massage chair that’s available on Amazon for $104.99 (at the time this article was published). This is an excellent chair for relieving lower back pain.
JUMMICO is another excellent massage chair brand to consider. They offer recliner massage chairs that are adjustable and come with heated massage programs.
Some other massage chair brands to consider include Homall, Best Massage, Giantex, Grepatio, Belmint, COMHOMA, truMedic, Esright, Homedics, and HOMHUM.
Best Place to Buy a Massage Chair
Once you’ve decided what chair you want to purchase, the next thing you need to decide is the best place to buy a massage chair. You can buy a massage chair directly from the manufacturer, or you can buy one from Amazon.
The great thing about purchasing a massage chair from Amazon is that there are tons of reviews to read through. Additionally, if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can get your massage chair to your doorstep in as little as two days.
As we mentioned earlier, a massage chair is a big investment, so make sure that whatever company you buy from offers a money-back guarantee in case the chair doesn’t work out.
Are You Ready to Purchase a Massage Chair?
Now that you’ve read this massage chair buying guide, it’s time for you to purchase your massage chair. By following these tips, you’ll be able to find the perfect chair to suit your needs.
Pretty soon, you’ll be reaping all of the benefits a massage chair has to offer. Be sure to check back in with our blog for more massage-related news and tips.