Massage Chairs Beginner’s Guide and Cautions

If you are just starting with massage chairs, it’s best to get your joints and muscles used to the new stimulus. It is recommended to do concise sessions, such as 5 minutes of a relatively light massage to begin with. 

Try to increase the intensity and length of the session slowly and gradually, not exceeding 15 minutes. 

Think about a warm-up before your massage chair session, such as stretching your muscles or starting on very low settings. Also, it’s important to be mindful of your breathing when using a massage chair, just as when getting a “real” massage. Breathe, slowly and deeply, exhaling when pressure is applied on your back and shoulders.

Who can use massage chairs?

Massage chairs can be used by virtually anyone. Nowadays, we are prone to back problems, stress, or concentration and sleep problems; and for hundreds of years, massage has been an effective tool against all of this. Moreover, most massage chair manufacturers approve use of their products by people of all ages, including children under adult supervision.

Benefits

If used in moderation, massage chairs can have instant benefits for users. Some benefits backed up by science include:

  • Reduced cortisol levels
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Less frequent muscle pain

Massage chairs contraindications

It is possible to overdo it with the intensity of massage chairs. Long sessions in high-intensity settings can lead to pain or, in worst cases, injury. Moreover, massaging injured parts of the body can do more damage than recovery.

Even though massage chairs, and massage in general, can be excellent tools to get rid of muscle pain and back pain, if you already have severe muscle pain or other kinds of health conditions, massaging the afflicted area might be harmful.

Total and local contraindications

Organizations such as the General Council for Massage Therapies differentiate between total contraindications and local contraindications. 

A total contraindication means that you should not seek any massage therapy until the condition improves. A local contraindication means that you can attend massage therapy, provided that you can avoid massaging the afflicted area.

Total contraindications might include:

  • High fever
  • Recent operation or acute injury
  • Severe hypertension
  • Irritable skin conditions
  • Osteoporosis

Local contraindications might include:

  • Exposed veins
  • Undiagnosed lumps
  • Large bruises
  • Open cuts
  • Sunburn
  • Areas of local surgery

Note that avoiding a specific area of the body can be difficult in a zero-gravity full body massage chair.

Massage chairs and osteoporosis

In Asia, several health institutes have warned against the use of massage chairs for elderly people with osteoporosis or fragile bones. A massage chair does not have the same minute sensitivity as a human masseur, and there have been several examples of injury. For this reason, massage chairs are not recommended for the elderly with frail bones.

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Always have your physician on board

Massage chairs have many benefits, but it’s important to use them with care, especially if you are a beginner. 

If you are struggling with any injuries and are buying a massage chair for health purposes, be sure to consult your physician or a physical therapist before use.