Massage chairs have been growing in popularity over the last few years. People value the comfort and health benefits they provide, as well as the affordability and privacy they have compared to traditional, in-person massages. Heat is a feature that is becoming more common in massage chairs, for good reason: heating massage chairs are among the most relaxing and effective forms of therapy around.
So, what sets one heating massage chair apart from another? And how should you go about choosing one for yourself? This guide provides helpful information, tips, and recommendations for the best heating massage chairs! Let’s get started!
What is a Heating Massage Chair?
Heating massage chairs, true to name, are massage chairs that include a heating function to increase their effectiveness. Typically, heating massage chairs resemble plush recliners. However, on the inside, they have a series of rollers and heating pads that massage and warm muscles. The heating element is usually placed in the lower back area, but some chairs have several heating elements for different body parts. These chairs are very beneficial for senior citizens, people with chronic pain from injuries, and people who work physically demanding jobs.
How Does a Heating Massage Chair Work?
Heating chairs typically use one of two types of “heating elements”: either electric pads or infrared rays. These heating elements warm up muscles and joints, creating a soothing sensation that can benefit overall physical health.
Electric pads are the most common type of heating element you will find in massage chairs. These are the same thing you’ll find in a heating pad from a drugstore or supermarket. When a current passes through the pad, the heating element warms up, and that heat slowly spreads throughout the body. The drawback to this heating element is that the heat isn’t very targeted or deep; it’s more all-over heating than specific to a muscle or body location. That could cause discomfort or sweat in the chair, something that users may not want.
Infrared heating elements are a non-invasive, localized method of heating that involves emitting small amounts of infrared light. This type of light is very common in sunlight and is very safe. Infrared heating elements target that small amount of light into different areas of the body. The warming effect from infrared heating massage chairs is deeper and more comfortable than traditional electric pad heating elements. However, the trade-off (as usual) is that infrared heating massage chairs are more expensive.
Benefits of Heating Massage Chairs
If you experience poor circulation, muscle pain or tightness, or fatigue, a heating massage chair can lead to improvements in your quality of life. Heat in massage chairs does a lot more than just provide a soothing sensation; it can improve your overall physical health. Here are four benefits of heating massage chairs you should know about:
When you sit in a heating massage chair, the warmth from the chair instantly gets to work in your body. One of the first things you’ll experience is better circulation. The heat warms up the blood in your body, which helps it to flow faster and easier. If your hands and feet are constantly cold, to the point where you experience pain or lack of sensitivity, a heating massage chair will work wonders for you. When your blood is flowing faster, your extremities receive more oxygen, which will put a stop to that constant freezing feeling.
This is a sort of byproduct of having improved circulation. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to your cells, as well as removing waste. It’s a highly intricate system that functions best when things are moving quickly and smoothly. Having improved circulation means your cells get the oxygen and nutrients they need, preventing deterioration and decay. People who have good circulation enjoy healthier, more natural-looking skin and look younger. As we age, circulation naturally gets a bit worse; using a heating massage chair can stop that process in its tracks!
Boosted Immune System
Your blood doesn’t just deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells, it also brings white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s front-line defense against all types of illnesses. Heat therapy is even known to boost the body’s ability to fight cancer. Using a heating massage chair will ensure that your body’s natural system for fighting sickness is working at peak efficiency!
Faster Recovery from Physical Activity/Injury
For many people, the biggest hindrance to maintaining an active lifestyle is the slow recovery time that accompanies a workout. Heat therapy is proven to relax muscles that have become stiff and sore following intense physical activity. Not only does the heat soothe the feeling of soreness, it also stimulates blood flow to the muscles, allowing them to repair themselves faster. That’s on top of the restorative work that a massage chair is doing for your muscles already; using a heating massage chair is like doubling down on muscle health. Similarly, heating massage chairs can soothe the pain from an injury, fall, or accident, as well as speed up recovery time!
More Energy and Alertness
Heating massage chairs can lead to feelings of higher energy and improved mental alertness. Increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain improves focus and alertness. In addition, heating massage chairs can act as a signal to the brain that it’s time to be awake and energized. It’s comparable to morning stretches or exercises that let your brain know the day has begun. If you experience fatigue, using a heating massage chair will have a “reset”-like effect on your brain and body that will keep you feeling awake longer!
What to Look for in a Heating Massage Chair
When looking for the best heating massage chair, it can be easy to be distracted by flashy gimmicks and features. Below, you'll find some things to pay attention to as you browse; they’ll help you separate not only the good from the bad, but also decide what is right for your specific needs!
Type of Heating Element
Choosing between electric pads or infrared heating elements may seem arbitrary, but it is something you should consider. electric heating elements are cheap, but don’t penetrate very far into the body. Their best use is for muscles on the surface or joint pain, particularly in the lower back.
On the other hand, the more expensive infrared heating elements can penetrate far into the body and provide a more comfortable warming sensation. They can even be twice as effective as normal heating elements. Ask yourself whether you need that kind of advanced heating, or if you’d be happy with the simpler heating element and the savings that come with it.
Location of Heating Element(s)
Nearly every heating massage chair you will find has a heating element in the lower back. Some chairs, however, have additional heating elements that target your legs, upper back, and shoulders. Having these additional heating locations is definitely a luxury for some, but it can provide much-needed relief to others in ways that few other therapies can. When looking for heating massage chairs, take note of the targeted heating locations available, and ask yourself if they are a benefit to you!
Massage chairs employ a variety of different massaging methods, just as living massage therapists do. There is Swedish massage, which has a light-impact, kneading feel. Then you have Shiatsu, a type of massage that focuses on finding and massaging pain points in your nervous system. There is also deep tissue (sometimes called sports or exercise) massage, which presses deep into muscles and nerves to relieve tension. Finally, many massage chairs also offer vibration massage, which can be a relaxing (or jarring) experience. When shopping for the best heating massage chair, research which type of massage you will find most beneficial and pleasurable!
Do you need a lifting feature that will help you in and out of the chair? If so, you’ll likely want to search for recliner-style heating massage chairs that typically include that function.
Would you like a 3D or zero-gravity massage chair experience? Prepare to search a little harder for the right chair, and pay a little more when you find it! These chairs use advanced massaging technology and do amazing things, but could be overkill for some people.
The 8 Best Heating Massage Chairs: Buyer’s Guide
Below, you’ll find our top choices for a variety of categories, such as price, features, and heating effectiveness. Take a look, and see which heating massage chair is right for you!
1. Best La-Z-Boy Chair with Heat and Massage: Pinnacle Platinum Power Lift Recliner w/ Massage & Heat
Why We Like It:
Lifting massage chairs have special motors underneath that can lift users to their feet or ease them into the chair. The Pinnacle Platinum chair has lots to love and few drawbacks. Key features include the 6-roller massager which has three different massaging modes. It also features three different heat settings. On top of that, it has intuitive controls that allow you to get in/out, recline into “zero-gravity” mode, as well as recline your legs or back independently, all at the touch of a button.
This lifting massage chair is also a space-saver: it functions as a normal recliner and can be placed just 11 inches from a wall- something bulkier chairs can’t manage. To top it all off, you get the benefit of La-Z-Boy’s famously soft cushioning and fabrics, making for a completely relaxing experience every time. This is the perfect chair for people who want a good heating massage from a chair that doesn’t take up too much space.
2. Best Heating Full Body, Zero-Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair: UGears BL1 Smart Full Body Air Massage Chair
Why We Like It:
Shiatsu massage is a gentle form of massage that can alleviate all sorts of aches and pains. It’s so effective that it’s even known to benefit muscle groups untouched by the massage! With the UGears BL1, though, you won’t have any muscle groups that go uncared for, because this massage chair massages your entire body. You can get targeted, soothing shiatsu massaging on your shoulders, neck, back, waist, hip, legs, and feet, all in the same chair!
This chair also has a great space-saving zero-gravity mode that lets you place it an astounding 2 inches from a wall. While the heating element is only located in the lower back, the warmth does spread through the body very well. Lastly, this chair has a host of little features like Bluetooth connectivity, a speaker, and a Thai stretch function that make it a great overall choice!
3. Best Shiatsu Chair with Heat: BestMassage Full Body Shiatsu PS4
Why We Like It:
This is a medium-tier massage chair according to price, but it performs much more like a top-of-the-line chair than you’d expect. It’s very easy to set up, turn on, and learn to use; this alone sets it apart from chairs that come with confusing or- even worse- missing directions. Perhaps the greatest feature is that it has four separate heating elements- two for the back, and two for the legs. This means you’ll get targeted heat in places that need it most, not just the small of your back!
While this chair has a lower weight rating than most (only 265 pounds) there isn’t much to complain about. Some users report that the high-intensity massage settings are a bit too rough, so you may want to stick to the gentler settings if that concerns you. Other than those two things, though, this is a great Shiatsu massage chair, with amazing heat controls! And, it looks a lot like a normal recliner, so it can easily blend into any room.
4. Best Heated Infinite Position Lift Chair: Ezee Life Mercury Lift Recliner Chair
Why We Like It:
“Infinite Position” is a term that means the chair can lay completely flat without any gaps, essentially forming a bed with the touch of a button. Ezee life’s chair does exactly that, and has nice massage and heating functions, as well as a motorized lifting function. One under-appreciated thing about this chair is that it only weighs 150 pounds; many massage chairs weigh double that, making them hard to move.
This laid-back (literally) massaging recliner offers the simple comforts of massage and heat therapy and can recline flat, allowing you to stretch out for your massage (or your nap). On the downside, the attached tray- very useful when sitting upright- can get in the way when laying flat. Outside of that, though, the Ezee Life Mercury chair is a surprisingly affordable infinite position chair that has a nice heating option!
5. Best Catnapper Lift Chair with Heat and Massage: Ramsey 4857
Why We Like It:
Catnapper is a US-based furniture brand with a reputation for quality and comfort. The Ramsey 4857 model is a plush, stylish chair that has all the features you need in a lifting massage chair. The heat functions and massage settings are easy to control and do their job well. Plus, the whole chair is covered in gorgeous leather and filled with supremely comfortable memory foam. This chair has relaxation written all over it.
One oft-overlooked feature of the Ramsey 4857 is its three-year warranty. Many heating massage chairs you find online only have, at most, a 12-month warranty. And, even then, overseas manufacturers have the unfortunate reputation of being hard to reach and overly strict. Catnapper, as an American company, is much easier to get a hold of and is very helpful with returns, exchanges, and customer service in general! With this chair, you get the peace of mind and easy buying experience that comes with the brand, which is undeniably valuable.
6. Best Homedics Massage Chair With Heat: Homedics Easy Lounge Shiatsu Massage Chair
Why We Like It:
Without a doubt the simplest massage chair on the list, the Easy Lounge from Homedics still has every feature you need. You can get a soothing shiatsu massage, with two zones of heat therapy, and then tuck the entire chair in the closet in seconds! If you live in a smaller space, or just prefer to have an uncluttered home, you can’t beat that level of convenience!
As far as its massaging features, it’s a lot more powerful than its slim frame might suggest. You get three levels of intensity control, and the rollers target your shoulders, back, and legs individually. It even has two separate heating elements; one for the back, another for the head and shoulders. Even though it’s cheaper and smaller than most any massage chair, it packs one heck of a punch!
Without a doubt, this is a fuss-free way to come home and take a load off; you can work out the pains and aches of the day in a compact, highly effective massage chair. Homedics is one of the most widely known and trusted brands in massage and
7. Best Infrared Heating Massage Chair: Synca Wellness 4D Ultra Premium Chair
Why We Like It:
Infrared heating is a superior form of heating element that penetrates deep into the body with a gentleness that’s hard to match; it’s even known to be more effective at improving circulation! This luxury full-body massage chair from Synca Wellness uses that technology to warm and soothe your entire body while you get a great massage. While it probably will be out of range for many people’s budgets, if you want a top-of-the-line massage chair, this might be it. You can select from 81 different massage types/target points, from an easy-to-use touchscreen control pad.
It’s definitely a bulky massage chair; it won’t fit nicely into slim spaces, and it won’t be easy to set up. But, if that doesn’t bother you, and you’ve got the finances (or a willing insurance provider) this infrared heating massage chair can be a life-changing choice. If you have poor circulation, deep chronic pain, or widespread joint and muscle pain, this chair can help you out a lot!
8. Best Super Luxury Heating Massage Chair: Kahuna Exquisite HM-078
Why We Like It:
If you already own a Ferrari or two, maybe you’d be interested in the Ferrari of heating massage chairs. It uses top-of-the-line 3D massage technology and has multiple heating elements for different parts of the body. It was designed with rigorous user testing for optimum performance, and that’s exactly what it provides.
If there are any drawbacks to this chair, it’s that it’s overkill. Most people simply don’t need that much from a massage chair. However, if you have the choice, why not go for the best?
Conclusion: The Best Heating Massage Chairs
Heating massage chairs are a great way to care for yourself and stay healthy in a low-impact, relaxing way. They’re more affordable and private than traditional massages, and they’re cleaner and more effective than hot tub or spa therapy. Now that you know all about them, you can confidently choose the best heating massage chair for you, your home, and your needs. Did you learn anything new, have more questions, or find the perfect massage chair after reading this article? Let us know in the comment section below!