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How do massage chairs work

Last updated on: February 5th, 2020

“How do massage chairs work?” is frequent question with people buying or already owning a massage chair.

Massage chairs were designed in the late 1980’s and they are made to provide a human-like massage feeling.

We have best massage chairs reviewed here.

They are made for relieving stress, tension, alleviate back pain and overall they are made for relaxing the whole mind and body.

They are getting more and more popular every day. The price is variating from few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars.

They are great if you are a busy person with stressful life or sore muscles and you would like to get some relaxation.

If you don’t have time for a professional massage a massaging chair is a great alternative because it feels just like a human given massage.

You will never ever have to go to a spa anymore because you can have your own massaging space at your home.

Thinking about buying a massage chair?

If you decided that you want to purchase a massage chair it is also very important to be familiar with the operation. And understand how this device even works.

In this following article you will be able to read about how massage chairs work and you will understand the whole process.

Massage chair construction

All models have a device inside which is installed in the inside to provide a relaxing massage.

You can purchase different types of designs and you can simply choose the one you prefer.

provide relaxing and energizing massage

In this days there are also massage chairs who provide a real human-like massage but behind that feeling there are also very complexe mechanisms.

If you are looking for a basic chair there were probably only vibrating elements inside

which are made in more simple way.

It doesn’t matter how much technology is in there, the massage chairs benefits it has to offer are the same – provide relaxing and energizing massage.

Massaging chair approach

The most of the models out there are using mechanical approach to operate but there are also some more inventing models which are using water to provide massage or they are using airbags to get your blood flow into circulation.

But there are also a few models which have all that together in one massage chair.

They use a combination and they are the most recent ones. They are perfect for people who are not able to decide what kind of massage style they want because they are able to choose between different options.

Vibrating mechanisms in massage chairs

Manufacturers integrated a lot of different vibrating mechanisms into the chair to provide a great relaxing feeling.

They used vibrating mechanism, rollers, gears and different motors.

If they want to create those vibrations they need a small device which has a gear or weighted wheel.

With the electric motor they are able to rotate that wheel and when this wheel is turning around you are able to feel those vibrations as massage.

When manufacturers are designing their products they strive to make devices which are able to mimic movement of human hands.

Simple vs Complex Massage chairs

simple massage chairYou can find massage chairs which are made from simple parts but there are also devices which are very complex.

When we are talking about those more complicated ones we have rollers inside which are mounted on a mechanical arm.

This arm is able to move vertically and it is able to create a real human-like massaging feeling.

Rollers are designed to move right and left and there are also models which have arms moving in circles.

The mechanical arm is usually powered by an electronic motor which is separately in the unit and not in the inside of the chair.

On the inside there are also microprocessors which are also important because the manufacturer recorded the massage patterns into that drive.

Adjusting the intensity

If you want a chair which allows adjusting the intensity you are able to do that with two main ways.

The first one is to change the length – you change how far the rollers are moving away from frame.

And the second is that you mount the frame on pivot in the backrest and choose the option which allows the frame to move closer or further away from your back.

Position of the chair

Another thing which is usually operated by electrical mechanism is the position of the chair.

Manufacturers made chairs which are able to operate in different positions (because a lot of massage chairs has a recline option).

For changing the position you can have a mechanism and you only press the button and the chair changes the position.

But if you don’t have a mechanism you will have to pull a release handle and push back the backrest without any help of a mechanism.

Few important massage chair components

There are a few important components of massage chair you should be familiar with:

  • Massage chair motors: motor is the most important component because without motors there would not be any massage chairs. They are made to power and move the rollers to specific areas. There are different patterns and programs which are installed inside to provide different massage styles and patterns. For instance you can have a massage which is focused on lower back, legs or maybe arms. You can choose between different styles like tapping motion, rolling, kneading etc.
  • Massage chair nodes and rollers: they are inside the chair and they are in different sizes and shapes. They are made in a way to provide a real human-like massage feeling. If you want a more detailed and point-specific massage you should get a massage chair with smaller nodes and rollers. The nodes and rollers are able to adjust according to how much pressure they measure on the seatback
  • Computer assisted adjustability of the massage chair: a lot of massage chair models are designed to adjust to body height, body weight and width. They are measuring the pressure on the seatback and hey automatically adjust the settings.

Massage chair massaging techniques

You can purchase models which provide different massage techniques like:

  • Kneading: with this technique the rollers are programed to move in circular patterns
  • Rolling: they are programed to move up and down the backrest
  • Tapping: you have rollers inside which are programed to alternate push in and out from the backrest
  • Gripping: there are devices inside which grip user’s legs or arms in a snug before they release them
  • Shiatsu: rollers are programed in a way to press against certain points on the back to relieve the tension

I hope this quick quide help you understand how massaging chairs work. If you still have any questing or we missed something leave a comment below or contact us here.



Snowboarder, self-starter, audiophile, vintage furniture lover and brand builder. Making at the sweet spot between modernism and computer science to craft experiences that go beyond anything else. Let's design a world that's thoughtful, considered and aesthetically pleasing. I prefer clear logic to decoration.

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