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Can massage chairs replace human massage? Advantages and disadvantages

Cristina Avatar By: Cristina | Last updated July 27, 2021

brunette girl massage chair

Massages are very useful and necessary in our lives. They are helpful in relieving pain whether it's in our back, joints, neck, legs and so on, they are very efficient in reducing stress, anxiety, depression, they improve blood circulation, help us clear our body of toxins and much more.

But during the last years, spas, therapists and chiropractors have started to feel somehow threatened by a new type of machine that claims it’s capable to perform the same job massage therapists do, with no human help what so ever. Massage chairs are constantly increasing in popularity. You can find them in various models and price ranges, you can buy them in stores or online. But are they worth the hype? Can they really replace conventional massage? Here are some advantages and disadvantages you might want to consider if you are also tempted to invest in a massage chair.

Advantages of massage chairs:

  • They are more convenient. You can buy one for your own home and never make appointments or trips to spas or massage centers ever again. This way you can save some time, money (in the long run) and enjoy a relaxing massage in your own home
  • Massage chairs offer you more privacy. Not everyone is happy with showing their naked body or even parts of it to a stranger, even a therapist. With massage chairs you can enjoy your massage sessions in the privacy of your own home
  • Massage chairs have evolved tremendously over time and are now equipped with lots of complex features. They are able to provide several massage techniques: Shiatsu, Swedish, kneading, tapping and so on. If you don’t have a massage chair, you have to make appointments to several specialists in order to benefit from all these techniques. That only translates into more time lost, more trips and more money spent. Some even have a heating feature, for different parts of your body, such as your back
  • They are accurate, programmable and customizable. Massage chair allow you to set the speed, intensity of the massage, type of massage you want, duration and some even perform a full body scan before you start your massage, so they’ll know exactly what they’re dealing with: your size, weight, the curves of your body, and they adjust the settings accordingly, to offer you the best massage experience for your needs

Disadvantages of massage chairs

  • Massage chairs can be pretty expensive. Although you can find models for just a few hundreds of dollars, if you want a professional massage chair, capable of providing the complexity and all the features of a conventional, human delivered massage, you can end up paying even thousands of dollars. However, in the long run you will get your money’s worth, because you won’t have to pay for massage sessions and gas to get to the spa/massage center
  • Although massage chairs are really smart, complex and accurate and many perform full body scans and so on, in some cases it is safer to go with a therapist/chiropractor. This is especially the case with people with injuries, muscle pain or other problems, because a specialist will know exactly how much pressure he can apply for a specific problem, exactly what muscles group to work and how to approach every patient/client, depending on their personal needs
  • Massage chairs are quite big and heavy, so if space is a problem for you, you might think about where you’re going to install/store your chair, before you buy one.