Both human-administered massage and today’s cutting edge massage chairs deliver extraordinary benefits, however there are particular aspects of a massage chair that are quite compelling, particularly for those who don’t seek frequent massages.
Massage therapy delivers a powerhouse of health benefits. Virtually every system in the body is affected by massage, either directly or indirectly.
Improved circulation of blood brings nutrients to the bones for a stronger, healthier skeletal system. Muscles are relaxed, reducing muscular tension. Stress is alleviated, resulting in a healthier nervous system. Massage helps clear the body of waste products, boosting the lymphatic system and digestive system. Reduced heart rates resulting from massage benefit the respiratory system. It’s hard to debate that massage is just plain good for the body, as well as the mind
But what about human massage vs. a massage chair?
Before we dive into any comparison, we need to make one thing clear: We are BIG fans of human massage! There are elements of the human touch that bring distinct facets to the holistic healing experience, particularly in the hands of a truly great massage therapist.
However the question of human massage vs. massage chair inevitably comes up, and its worth exploring. Both human-administered massage and today’s cutting edge massage chairs deliver the extraordinary benefits of massage therapy, however there are particular aspects of a massage chair that are quite compelling, particularly for those who don’t seek frequent massages.
Investing in a massage chair provides economic benefits over time. Using a typical example, a human massage costs about $75 to $80, and a tip is recommended. Assuming $100 per massage, and one massage per month, this comes to $1,200 per year. In this case, a massage chair costing $5,000 will provide a return on the investment in approximately 4 years. If you calculate two massages per month or $200 monthly, the return on investment is half or 2 years. This is quite compelling considering a high quality massage chair with a great warranty will provide many years of massage. Importantly by owning your own massage chair, you can afford to increase the frequency of massage therapy – and the cost justification is clear, particularly when you consider that being able to receive a high-quality massage at any time could lessen the amount you pay for medical care. Regular massage reduces stress, which has been shown to help alleviate the effects of many ailments and disease.
With human massage, you need to schedule an appointment. With a massage chair, your “appointment” occurs and time – or the moment you decide to sit down and press the power button. With this level of flexibility for massage therapy, you can alleviate the time demands you face already – from work and family obligations, exercise time, and in today’s world – social media (let’s face it, social media attention takes time out of your schedule whether we like to admit it or not!).
With a massage chair, regular massage becomes an integral part of the day – transforming massage therapy from a luxury into a necessity. With the burden of time alleviated, those 20 minutes in a massage chair increases the frequency of your quality time, while enhancing your quality of life by triggering the feel good hormones, keeping you relaxed, reducing pain, and helping to boost your immune system.
We’re talking the massage pressure here – not the stress-related kind. With a massage chair you are in complete control of the depth and pressure of your massage. Certainly a trained massage therapist can apply pressure and react to any feedback to create the right amount of muscular manipulation. That is why is is important to be open and honest with a massage therapist if you experience pain.
With a massage chair, you “dial in” the pressure that is right for you, and with a massage chair that allows you to program your own custom massages, you can receive the pressure that is just right every time. The more you experience massage, the more you are likely to want to adjust massage pressure – as it is common to become acclimated to (and desire) a deeper, stronger massage. That’s why you want a massage chair that is capable of a deep, strong massage – you can always increase pressure so that the amount is right for you (vs. realizing you’ve maxed the massage chair’s limit and wish you could apply deeper pressure).
Today’s premium massage chairs boast technology that has been refined for decades, and virtually replicate the massage motions of human hands for Swedish massage, Shiatsu, as well as gentle stretching you find in Thai massage. And the pressure for any of these massage styles can be customized with the press of a button, and memorized for future massages.
For many, the human touch of a massage is one of the central benefits of massage therapy. However for others, they may have issues surrounding touch, and the need to remove clothing can create an uncomfortable environment, whether with a masseuse that is the same sex or opposite sex.
Time spent in a massage chair is spent alone, in the privacy of your own home, and in conditions that promote the maximum relaxed state. In massage chairs that have integrated music technology, you can even enjoy your massage to the accompaniment of your favorite music or playlists from your mobile phone.
With a massage chair, you can experience a deep, relaxing massage in virtually any attire. The only exception is shoes – as in order to enjoy the full benefits of massage chair foot rollers it is best to take off your shoes and place your feet into the footrests wearing only socks.
In conclusion – when comparing human massage vs. massage chair, BOTH are beneficial to the body, mind, and overall well-being. However with today’s premium massage chairs, there are compelling cost, time, pressure and touch benefits to owning your own massage chair.
For those of you who prefer a softer Swedish style massage chair we recommend the Inada Flex 3S. And for those who prefer a deep tissue shiatsu style we think you should check out the Panasonic MA-J7.