Massage Chair Glossary

Massage chairs are, by design, meant to be fairly straightforward in their function, and end up doing most of the work for you. If you have done any research into buying a massage chair, you will quickly find out that there are many differences, and a wealth of information can quickly bury you in new terms. We have broken down some of the finer aspects of massage chairs and several of their techniques and technologies. This list will help you make an informed decision about your new chair purchase! The glossary below is going to help you along the way.

2D Massage Roller
A massage roller mechanism that moves side to side and top to bottom.

3D Massage Roller
A massage roller mechanism moves side to side, top to bottom, and in and out— thus able to mimic more accurately the actions of a shiatsu massage master.

4D Massage Roller
A massage roller mechanism which moves side to side, top to bottom, and in and out—the fourth dimension is speed. This programming enables the massage mechanism to slow down and speed up, authentically reproducing the work of a shiatsu master.

Acupressure is a massage technique that delivers pressure to a targeted range of “acupoints” across the body.
Acupressure has much in common with acupuncture, but there are no needles involved. Shiatsu massage is often called acupressure massage, and it is believed that applying pressure to the acupoints will have the same desired effect as the acupuncture needles.

Acupuncture Point or Acupoint
You have more than 350 acupoints across your whole body, with over 100 of them in your back and neck.
Acupoints are believed to have a direct connection to specific parts or systems of the body. They can be found along the body’s meridian and are used in acupressure and acupuncture.

A key component of traditional Chinese medicine involving the insertion of skinny needles through your skin at strategic points on your body, most commonly used to treat pain, and increasingly, for overall wellness, including stress management

Airbag Massage System
Airbag Massage Systems are used to mimic deep tissue massage, and they do this by inflating the airbag system in specific ways to provide a deep massage to muscles in the extremities and a beneficial stretch to muscles that need it. The airbag system on most massage chairs is the basis for any stretch programs and can work with the back rollers to improve the benefit you receive from your massage. This is done by pushing you back onto the massage rollers.

Air Cell (or Air Bag) Compression System
A complex of expanding “accordions” that are inflated and deflated according to a program to simulate massage action

Air Ionizer
An extra feature in some massage chairs that delivers ionized air, which kills bacteria, to the area in and around the headrest

Automated Programs
Automated Programs are preset massage programs that come with your chair. They provide a specific kind of massage focusing on one technique, and most automated programs can be customized to the user’s preferences using manual adjustments available on the remote.

Body Scan Technology
Body Scan Technology uses the rollers and computer mapping to determine the size, shape, and locations of stress on every individual who uses the massage chair. A chair with body scanning technology will provide each user with a more enhanced personalized and specific massage for their body type.

A metaphor for the complex, programmed interaction of various movements and actions by massage chair air cells, activators, and rollers to simulate human massage

A method of treatment that uses light in the form of color to balance “energy” lacking from a person’s body, whether it be on physical, emotional, or mental levels

Clapping Technique
The clapping technique uses the massage rollers to mimic a cupped hand and utilizes a clapping motion on the muscle, lifting and stretching it.

Compression Technique
A compression massage is a tight squeezing or rubbing motion that is used to provide relief. The massage chair’s airbag system often administers this technique.

Deep Pressure Massage
The deep pressure massage mode applies strong pressure to a group of muscles for a sustained amount of time. This is done to remove deep knots in the muscles.

Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is able to access deeper muscle and connective tissue for an increased effect. This is done by applying deep sustained strokes to problem areas in your back and neck. There can be a bit of soreness associated with this type of massage if you haven’t experienced it before.

Full-Body Massage
A head-to-toe massage treatment—literally from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet—whether delivered by a human or massage chair

Hawaiian Massage Technique
A type of massage provided by massage technicians and massage chairs done with the hands and forearms involving  long and sweeping strokes, also known as “Lomilomi” massage

Heat Therapy
Heat Therapy is a set of built-in heating pads that work with the massage rollers and airbag system to increase the overall massage effects. When heat is applied to large muscle groups, it can help relieve stress and loosen muscles.

Kneading Massage Technique
Kneading Massage uses the thumb and forefingers in a pinching method. Pressure is applied to stretch and warm the muscles.

The back and seat of the chair are in a fixed position, allowing the massage mechanism to move beneath the buttocks and enabling the chair to move into Zero gravity positioning – superior for spinal decompression.

Lymphatic system
The tissues and organs, including the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes, produce and store cells fighting infection and disease. The channels that carry lymph are also part of this system.

Massage Chair Motors
Massage chairs have internal motors that provide the different functions of the chair. There are rotary motors, piston motors, and vibration motors. Rotary motors control the massage rollers and the kneading and tapping functions, piston motors control the leg rest and recline functions, and vibration motors control the vibrating movements.

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy comprises several techniques designed to relieve muscle knots and promote relaxation and well-being. Known benefits of massage therapy are enhanced muscle function, improved healing process, improved relaxation, and a better sense of well-being.

Enables the chair to both lie flat (S Track) and assume zero gravity position (L Track), so you don’t need to choose between zero gravity positioning and spinal decompression (L Track) and superior stretch with lie-flat positioning (S Track). You get both.

Traditional Chinese medical theory describing meridians—invisible channels in your body that carry energy called qi (ch’i)—beginning at your fingertips and connecting to your brain and then an organ or networks of organs to create a communication system.

Referred Pain
When the pain you feel in one part of your body is actually caused by pain or injury in another part of your body. For example, an injury in your lower back causes pain in your neck.

Reflexology is a therapy that applies physical pressure to the feet, hands, and ears. These points are believed be connected to systems throughout the body, providing therapy to them as well.

The massage roller is a circular-shaped robotic component that runs vertically along the upper and lower back when you sit in the chair. This is used to stretch and warm the back for deeper levels of massage.

Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu Massage is a Japanese therapy that incorporates the thumbs, fingers, and palms in applying pressure and stretching to the body. Shiatsu comes from a Japanese word literally meaning “finger pressure,” shiatsu massage uses a unique finger pressure technique with focus along the body energy meridians that stretches and massages tired and sore muscles and helps relaxation of both body and mind.

A contoured roller mechanism in the back of a massage chair that allows massage action to follow the curve of the spine, S track chairs are hinged at the base of the seat and back, and then again at the front of the seat where the ottoman attaches. This allows the chair to lay flat— better for achieving a superior stretch.

The S-Track and/or L-Track run the length of the best massage chairs. Unique from most other massage chair products, it not only has a larger massage range. But also achieves precise knocking, kneading, tapping, clapping, rolling, shiatsu, and other massage methods to relax your whole body, combining the Thai-style massage and other methods to perform a relaxing massage. The two heating devices at the waist of the massage chair can warm your waist and care for your health by reaching up to 45℃.

Swedish Massage
Swedish Massage is a varied therapy that includes multiple styles and stretches. This technique applies kneading, long strokes, and friction to different muscles as well as joints. A specific type of massage technique that doesn’t use as much pressure as deep tissue massage. The flowing, kneading movements are instead used to stimulate nerve endings in your connective tissue and increase blood flow. It also helps to release general tension and promote relaxation.

Tapping Technique
The Tapping Technique applies deep tissue massage by emulating fists tapping on the back and shoulder muscles. A type of massage provided by massage technicians that are imitated by the best massage chairs. Tapping therapy is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations helps calm the nervous system, rewire the brain to respond in healthier ways, and restore the body’s balance of energy.

Vibration gives a balanced shaking effect that can alternate in muscle penetration. Vibration is often used with other massage techniques so you get the most out of your experience.

A technology that allows the chair to slide forward on the base so that it requires only 4” (10 cm) between the backrest and the wall allowing the chair to fit almost anywhere

Zero Gravity
A reclining position in a massage chair or recliner in which the feet are raised above the heart level, and the body is resting more or less horizontally at 160 degrees, resulting in spinal decompression and improved circulation.

Other Questions?
Purchasing a massage chair can feel like a very big commitment and can evolve into a stressful experience. It doesn’t need to feel that way, and we can help make the process a lot more relaxing for you. Find your new chair today! If you have other questions, please give us a call at 833-387-5907, and one of our massage chair experts will be happy to assist you with your question.