How do Massage Chairs Work?

What is a massage chair? Well, there are two kinds of massage chairs that can be found in the market. One is where you sit in a way so that the masseur can easily access your back of the head, shoulder, and full back. The other massage chair we will discuss here is a chair that provides massage using a vibrator and motor. Before we discuss massage chairs we will talk about where the concept of massage came from.

The massage concept first originated in India. It was then a sacred process through which people tried to get rid of pain, recover from injuries, and also helped to sync with the surroundings which they believed to be helpful to cure your inner sickness. This concept was also found in ancient China, Egypt, and Japan. It’s China that brought the massage concept to japan. In Japan, it was called shiatsu massage (found on a shiatsu massage chair) which was a massage technique applied using finger pressure. The concept of all the massage techniques is the same. It was used to heal injuries and give calmness to people’s minds by relaxation. Before the invention of the massage chair concept, people use any kind of structure available to get their massage therapy from massage therapists.

Nobuo Fujimoto is the one who invented the first-ever massage chair in Japan in 1954. He got his idea from a public bath as he worked there. Then he started building chairs using car handles, chains from bicycles, and baseballs. He perfected his desired chair after several tries. His chair only had a mechanical handle which was used to move the regular massage balls. He started selling these chairs by the brand name fujiiryoki. Now it’s a big company, and they sell fully automated massage chairs in the market do the chair massage. Massage chairs have evolved a lot from where they started. Now you can get a full body massage by simply pushing a button. We will discuss in this article how do massage chairs work.

Working principle:

Most of the massage chairs have a motor, vibrator, and roller to do the massage job. The chair uses a vibrating surface under which there are gear or wheels with weight and motor connected to it. The weight is set in an imbalanced way to let the roller move in different ways. When the motor starts the wheel starts to rotate under the cover of the chair which gives the feel of hand massage. This is how most of the massage chairs work.

But all companies do not follow the same method of operation. The massage rollers are set on a frame. In some companies the frame allows the roller to move only up and down but not horizontal or in any other direction. And in some chairs, this function is done by a mechanical arm which is run by a separate motor to change its position, and this arm lets the rollers move in both vertically and horizontally.


Intensity is another function that can also be controlled in today’s massage chairs. This program is simply done by pressing a button that controls the intensity. It is simply done by letting the roller move closer or away depending on the user’s demand. It is done by the mechanical hand.

Massage chairs available in the market are mostly reclining chairs with massaging features. It can also be used as an office chair. These recliners are designed to change position and can provide massage support in any position. But all the recliners are not the same. Some reclining massage chairs use a separate motor to change its position while others use a mechanical lever that needs to be pulled by hand to get to the desired position.

All these chairs can perform different kinds of massage techniques. Some may let the roller go up and down, and some let the roller go in a circular pattern. These are common. But some may provide a gripping massage where the chairs grip the leg and hands politely then release them. Some may concentrate on the desired spot to relieve muscle fatigue of that particular area of the body.

Micro controller based memory function:

Most companies fix the suitable massage position in a pre-programmed memory. You can call it a microprocessor. So what you have to do is simply choose the position that better suits you. Some chairs have buttons on the chair’s body, and some use remote control. Though the massage is preprogrammed the memory can save the massage type, position, and intensity to help the user.


High-end massage chairs include an infrared scanner which allows it to scan the user’s body as soon as the user sits on it, to adjust at which position the massage should work better. This is good if the chair is used by people of different sizes. Some also use galvanic sensors to get pulse data and sweating data. By using these data the chair can recognise that the particular part of the body is stiff and needs to take special care so it changes the intensity.

A few chairs come with a voice command option to change the best position for massage by only speaking the command. No need to use a remote or lever.

Non-conventional massage chairs:

There are other massage chairs like a hydro massage chair and an airbag massage chair. The hydro-type massage chair has a membrane under the backrest which is supported by several numbers nozzles and an electric pump. It also has a temperature control system. The pump lets the water circulate through the nozzles which, gives a message-type sensation, and the user can control the temperature of the water as he or she desires.

In the airbag or air pressure massage chair there is an air compressor and several airbags around the legs and arms. The airbags are connected with the compressor with the help of several pipes through which air is blown into the airbags. As inflated by the compressor, the airbags try to squeeze the arm and leg muscles to give comfort and relief. The intensity of the squeeze is controllable by the user.


Massaging is used for pain relief and fatigue relief from the muscles of your body. It helps you to relax and gives you comfort. You do not have to go to a spa or any medical center if you can afford a quality massage chair. But first, you have to get an idea of how these chairs work. This article will hopefully help you to understand how do massage chairs work.

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