If you’re looking for a way to unwind after a long day, a massage chair might be just what you need. With Panasonic massage chairs, you can enjoy the benefits of a luxurious massage in the comfort of your own home. These chairs are designed to provide you with a full-body massage that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of Panasonic massage chairs and what makes them stand out from other massage chairs on the market. Why Choose Panasonic Massage Chairs? Panasonic…
Category: Massage Chairs
You may have noticed the growing interest in massage chairs, the increasing uptake of these chairs and how suddenly, massage chair dealers you didn’t even know existed seem to pop up all over the net. It’s not all in your mind. Massage chairs are trending locally and in a growing number of places around the world. Previously the preserve of spas, massage parlours and wellness centres, these chairs are making a transition into homes, bringing with them the general, enhanced wellness people went in search of at the spas. The chair can be used as often as needed and there are no side effects. Quite the contrary, having and using one in your home puts you in charge of your health and wellness and brings the luxurious indulgence of personalized relaxation therapy into your personal space. Let’s analyse these chairs to see how they work and what benefits they bring to your life.
How Massage Chairs Work
As per the name, massage chairs offer therapeutic relief and relaxation by massaging the body. One has to sit on the chair and turn on the massage feature to enjoy this function. For this to happen, the chair relies on motors, gears, wheels, rollers, vibrating mechanisms, air bags and heating systems to make the massage action possible. At the core of any chair massage is vibration. This is the simplest form of mechanism used in these chairs, and is what low-cost massage chairs rely on to carry out the massage. To create the vibrating sensation, a wheel is strategically placed on the inside of the chair. When the massage is activated, this wheel is set in motion by a series of motors. As it rotates in increasing speed and intensity, the wheel causes vibrations on the body of the person sitting on the chair.
The most basic massage chair by today’s standards is a big improvement from the old models made when the technology was first invented, approximately 80 years ago. Back then, the chair was quite mechanical and relied upon metal bars to deliver the vibrations. For this to happen, a motorized wheel of uneven weight would begin to spin as soon as the motors were turned on. This would shake the metal plates and the resulting effect on the body in contact with the metal would be a vibrating sensation. Although this mechanical approach is still the principle behind the operation of modern massage chairs, electric motors have long replaced the mechanical component. The technology today is more sophisticated and more efficient.
Simpler models of the massage chair use only the basic vibrating elements to give a massage. More advanced massage chairs use a more complex combination of technologies to deliver better results. Usually, this involves use\of rollers, air/pneumatic systems, water or hydraulic systems, heating systems and a range of manipulative massage techniques. When rollers are used, they move from one part of the body to another in a rolling motion. Electric motors are used to operate the rollers. Rollers are mostly used to massage large areas of the body, such as the back and shoulders. They are an integral component of any modern massage chair, and no matter how sophisticated a chair may be, any additional technology used is built upon the roller technology, to complement it.
Both the hydraulic and pneumatic systems use compression to massage the body. This they do with the help of an air or water pump, as is applicable to the system\. The pump works by filling up and draining or inflating and deflating in alternate pattern. In so doing, it causes the stretching and compressing effect that leaves the body relaxed.
All these processes are integrated in the chair and are designed to work simultaneously. And because the chair is designed to make the massage experience as similar to a human hand massage as possible, a number of well-known massage techniques are used to aid in this. These are fed into the chair’s memory as preset programs. The chair then uses a computerized operating system to align all these processes, and deliver the massages in predetermined patterns.
Benefits of a Massage Chair
The importance of massage is a well documented form of therapy, and is largely accepted in the healthcare industry. The massage chair does exactly what the masseuse would do, only it gives you more control over which massage to receive, when to get one and how often you enjoy massage. With a massage therapist, your options are limited by their availability and budgetary constraints. You may wish to get a massage treatment after work only to find that the massage parlour is closed for the day. Should you be lucky to find one open or get a therapist willing to offer the service at your house, you’re likely to pay hefty, after-work hours. And assuming the time constraints are not really an issue, then your pocket will decide how many massage sessions you can afford in a week, if at all your budget allows for massage treats in the first place. The benefits, both health and non-health, are numerous. The most significant are listed below.
– Regular use of a massage chair relieves back ache, neck pain and osteoarthritis. Generally, you experience relief from recurrent pain on most parts of the body.
– Massage reduces stress levels in the body by effectively lowering the amount of cortisol, the stress-hormone, produced in the body.
– Due to reduced stress levels, it lowers or prevents high blood pressure. Regular massage (medical research shows two massage sessions a week make a difference) also regulates blood pressure in the body.
– Reduces heart rate, which is important for heart health. Massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system to counter the stress signals released by the \sympathetic nervous system (SNS), helping restore the heart rate back to normal.
– Promotes positive emotional response and is a mood enhancer. Some studies show that receiving massage therapy over time reduces one’s hostility level, which has been noted to stem from improved emotional wellbeing. This benefit has a bearing on the next one below.
– It clears headaches and gradually lessens or completely eliminates constant migraines.
– Massage reduces anxiety and depression.
– Reduces side effects of treatment in chronic illnesses, such as reduces fatigue, nausea, pain, swelling and depression in cancer patients.
– Massage minimizes\the build-up of lactic acid and other toxins.
– It improves blood flow.
– Massage relaxes the muscles and reduces muscle fatigue.
– It aligns the spine and helps in correcting and maintaining good posture.
– Massage stimulates the lymphatic system for quick and efficient removal of toxins.
– It enhances the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain and stress relieving agents.
– Massage helps heal sore muscles by reducing pain in the affected tissue.
– It promotes healing, thereby shortening recovery time for injury muscles.
– It boosts flexibility, leading to better functioning of the body.
– It promotes mental relaxation, thereby improving\thinking ability and enhancing awareness.
Following improvement in health and wellbeing, you spend less money on chiropractors, physiotherapists and other health practitioners.
Because the massage chairs is yours for good and it stays in your house, you can use it whenever you like to get a customized massage to serve your needs at that particular time.
In the long run, the cost of a massage chair becomes minimal compared to the amount of money you would have spent on massage sessions over the same period.
Types of Massage Chairs
Massage chairs differ both in how they are structured and how they work. This difference accounts for the different types of massage chairs in the market. To end up with the right chair, you should understand how the chair works, the kind of massage it offers and which parts of the body the massage targets. Weigh this\information against your needs to determine if the chair will meet your therapeutic requirements.
Zero gravity massage chairs
The most popular type of massage chairs in recent times, the zero gravity massage chair has proven to be the star attraction in the world of massage chairs. The chair operates on the premise of zero gravity positioning, where it reclines to a point where the feet are raised above or on the same level as the heart. In this position – a position also referred to as the neutral position – the body is weightless and the spine is stretched and aligned to its correct, natural posture. In this position, the pressure that’s incessant on the shoulders, neck, back, thighs and feet is lifted, and the body whole body is relaxed.
Just the position alone is enough to make a difference in how you feel. Laying this way gives you a heavenly, floating sensation, the kind that can only be experienced when there is no pressure bearing down on any part of the body. And so far, only zero gravity chairs can give this sensation. Actually, the zero gravity recline originated from NASA technology. For aerospace engineers to venture into space, they have to take off in the zero gravity position so that they can fight off the aggressive gravity which tries to pull them back. Of course in space technology the intricacies of how this works are a lot more complex, because it has to be fine tuned to work with the special equipment used inside the rockets. But the technology was so successful that it inspired massage chair designers to come up with a similar system for wellness and therapeutic purposes. And so, the zero gravity massage chair was born.
What makes these chairs different from other massage chairs is the chairs’ ability to combine the zero gravity feature and the massage function. It offers the massage of your choice while you lie in the zero gravity position, a premium relaxation approach that is absent in all other types of massage chairs. Zero gravity chairs are highly adjustable, and can be manoeuvred to operate in both the reclined position and the upright position. It is worth noting that zero gravity massage chairs are not limited to the zero gravity recline alone. They have multiple other angles of recline in which one can position themselves. The efficacy of the massage is not affected by the positioning of the chair. Rather, this versatility only makes it easier to identify which positions feel more comfortable for you, and so, you’re able to adjust the chair accordingly to reach your desired comfort level.
While these two primary features make up a great portion of the zero gravity massage chair fiber, they are in no way the only ones. The chairs also come with additional features, both functional and luxurious, al geared towards giving you the most personalized and satisfactory experience.
Recliner massage chairs
Recliner massage chairs are the direct opposite of zero gravity massage chairs, the main difference between the two being that recliner massage chairs do not have the zero gravity feature. Of the two, they are the older sibling in the massage chair family, having been around for much longer. In fact, they’ve enjoyed quite a good run since the incline function was added to massage chair technology, and have only recently dropped from the number one position with the entrance of zero gravity massage chairs.
Recliner massage chairs work in both the reclining and upright positions. The recline position offers multiple adjustments, and you can change the reclining angle at will.
Heated massage chairs
These chairs use heat therapy to boost the body’s healing ability. Depending on the chair’s design, heating pads or heated rollers can be used. Some chairs use both. When rollers are used, turning on the heat warms up the rollers, and as they move along the body, they spread this heat uniformly to every part of the body they’re in contact with. This method is mostly used for back and lumbar area massage. With heating pads, the heat is applied internally. As the surface becomes warmer and warmer, the body parts that are in contact with the pads receive a relaxing heat treatment. Heating pads are mostly used for the lower back, buttocks, thighs and feet.
Heat therapy promotes healing of torn and damaged tissues. When the injured tissue is exposed to heat, it expands, clearing the way for oxygen and other nutrients to flow into its cells. This promotes speedy healing. Heat also loosens tightness in the muscles and reliefs tension and soreness, all which leave the body feeling better and performing optimally.
Roller massage chairs
These chairs use rollers to carry out a rolling massage movement, which expands and manipulates the skin to deliver a thorough and intense massage. Because of the size and technique of the rollers, this method works best on larger body surfaces. As such, it’s used on massage chairs that target the upper body only. What makes roller massage technology so effective is the high level of customization employed. Many modern chairs use body scanning technology to map out the body as soon as one sits on the chair. The chair then automatically makes micro adjustments to suit the shape and length of the body, and the positioning of the shoulders. With the new adjustments, the rollers then move along the body, delivering a fully personalized massage.
Air massage chairs
Air massage chairs use compression to give a massage. Air bags are used in the process. For it to work, air bags are placed in different strategic locations across the chair. An air pump is then used to inflate and deflate the air bags in turn, in a revolving cycle that lasts the entire duration of the massage. As the air bags rise and fall with the pressure of air, the part of the body that’s pressed into them expands and compresses in tandem with the movement of the air bags, leaving the body invigorated. Air compression is also effective in stretching the body and increasing strength and flexibility.
Full body massage chairs
These types of massage chairs work on the entire body, from the hands, arms, neck and shoulders to the upper, mid and lower back, thighs, buttocks, hips, legs, calves and feet. They mostly come with extensions for the arms and feet to make these areas accessible. Without these extensions, the arms, hands and feet would miss out on the massage. The extensions serve as the connection between these parts and the rest of the body, and through them, the massage systems are able to penetrate into these peripheral body regions.
Full body massage chairs combine the technologies used in air massage and heat massage chairs to deliver a wholesome experience.
Upper body massage chairs
Upper body massage chairs, as the name suggests, target the upper body. They typically only massage the back, neck, shoulders and arms. Once the massage function is switched on, they’ll work on the mentioned parts alone, and won’t go down to the thighs or legs. These massage chairs are ideal for individuals who require routine massage as a health management solution. Patients suffering from back pain, neck pain and shoulder tension will benefit immensely from using this chair.
Massage Techniques used in Massage Chairs
Shiatsu massage – Shiatsu massage therapy originated in Japan, and continues to be one of the most popular massage techniques even today. It works by simultaneously manipulating the skin in a number of ways and applying pressure on the body using the thumb and fingers to relieve stress, eliminate muscle pain, anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation. Following the successful therapeutic relief shiatsu gives, massage chair manufacturers worked on a way to incorporate this technique into massage chairs. The result is a robotic massage technique that applies rolling, kneading, tapping, patting and squeezing movements to deliver an intense massage. Shiatsu massage chairs are the most popular, without a doubt because of how effective they are.
Swedish massage – Swedish massage therapy entails use of kneading and gliding movements. These are the same movements the Swedish massage technique gives in a massage chair. This technique is effective for releasing knots and tension in muscles, providing pain relief, enhancing joint comfort, and improving blood circulation.
Deep tissue massage – The deep tissue massage technique is quite similar to a Swedish massage, except it uses deeper strokes. It is designed to reach deep into muscle and tissue, and generally areas that are hard to reach. It’s a technique used to provide relief from muscle tension, knotting and chronic pain, and promote whole body relaxation.
Tapping – Tapping is a massage technique that uses rapid tapping movements to stimulate the muscles. Tapping is effective in removing scar tissue, relieving stiffness and improving blood flow.
Kneading – The kneading technique works by lifting and stretching the muscles. In a massage chair, it is delivered in small, circular movements. It’s effective in tension relief, reducing soreness, improving blood circulation, boosting lymphatic system function and eliminating toxins from nerve tissue and muscles. In massage chairs, this massage technique is one of the most effective in reaching places that are hard to get to.
Rolling – The rolling technique works by applying pressure in an up and down rolling movement. Rollers are used to make this possible. The speed and strength of the rollers can be adjusted accordingly to deliver the desired intensity. It’s very effective in loosening tight muscles and relaxing the back.
Stretching – The stretching technique targets specific muscles at a time. It relieves knots and helps loosen tight muscles. In many chairs, air bags are used to make the stretching technique more effective.
Squeezing – This technique uses the squeezing action to apply pressure to a specific area with the aim of relieving stress, tension and joint pain.
Reflexology – A technique that applies pressure to specific areas of the foot to activate the release of endorphins in a different interconnected part of the body. Reflexology is specific to foot massage and does not apply to any other parts of the body.
Vibration – Vibration is one of the oldest massage techniques to ever find its way into a massage chair. In fact, it can be traced to the earliest massage chairs, although the delivery method used to bring about the vibration effect at the time was crude compared to what’s available\today. This technique is good at enhancing relaxation, reducing soreness and enhancing blood circulation.
Air compression – In this massage technique, air bags are used to create the compression effect by expanding and contracting. Compression is excellent in eliminating stiffness, improving blood flow and stimulating the lymphatic system for toxin removal. It’s mostly used for the legs, feet, hands, and sometimes the lower back.
Hardly will you come across a massage chair that uses only one massage technique. Remember the aim of the massage chair is to give a massage that is as smooth, perfect and effective as a human massage. It’s correct to say massage chairs were developed with the ultimate intention of becoming an alternative to human massage therapist. In other words, these chairs can comfortably replace the masseuse in most cases. To achieve this level of finesse, multiple massage techniques have been integrated so that the resulting massage is thorough, vigorous, and rejuvenating. That’s why most massage chairs are indicated to use air, heat, vibration, shiatsu and squeezing technologies or any other combination.
Features/Qualities of a Good Massage Chair
You are going to spend a lot of time on your massage chair. It may not seem so right now. You may even be thinking you’ll only use it for two 30-sessions a week tops. But the moment you get your first taste of what this chair does to the body, you’ll be rethinking the earlier resolution you made to keep usage at a minimal. Add the freedom to plop into the chair whenever you like, with no time, money or skill constraints and this chair could very well become your new best friend. Let’s make sure then, that the massage chair is a worthy companion. There are a few factors to consider when making your purchase that will ensure the chair you choose does not disappoint.
Sturdy build – This is the first and most crucial thing to consider. Before the chair can give you the relaxation it’s claimed to be capable of, it must be strong enough to sustain your weight. This can only be achieved if the chair is well constructed using sturdy materials and concise assembly. Top massage chair brands do not have a problem with this, so you’ll be safe with any of the leading names in the industry. Companies like Human Touch, Cozzia, Inada, Luraco, Infinity, Sanyo, Omega, Osaki, Panasonic, Inner Balance, and Ogawa are all safe choices, as they make the best massage chairs in the world.
Brand reputation – This point ties in with the first one. The need to choose a recognized and reputable brand cannot be emphasized enough. Other than the obvious superior product quality a well known brand offers, there are also things like ease of access to manufacturer and availability of spare parts. You never know when you may need a spare part for your chair or require any type of specialized mechanical service, which only\the manufacturer and authorized dealers can offer. If you opted for a generic, no-name massage chair without a known manufacturer on record, it might prove difficult to get the help you need or find the parts you require.
Customization – A good massage chair is one that gives you total control over it operation. Go for the chair that is customizable and adjustable. It should allow you to reset the speed and intensity of the massage, the height, seat position, foot rests, arm rests, head support and reclining angle among other features. When such a broad range of customizable features is offered, it’s easier for more people to benefit from the chair, and each can adjust the chair to a position that’s comfortable for them, and personalize the massage to their needs.
Weight and height capacity – Most chairs have a weight and height limit, meaning they’re not suitable for people whose weight exceeds the indicated capacity or those who fall outside a given height range. If you’re the only one who will be using the chair, this hurdle is an easy one to cross as you only need to look for the chair that supports your weight and height. If more people will be using the chair, however, it’s prudent that you look for a model with a higher weight capacity and one that supports a broader height range.
Some brands have done really well in this, producing specific chairs that anyone can use, whether they are taller than average or are a heavy, plus size. There is even a model that can be used by kids and teenagers. Understand what’s supported and what’s not in the chair you plan to buy, so that you don’t end up with a massage chair that\doesn’t serve you as well as you would have liked it to.
Ease of control – The best massage chairs are also easy to use. If you need to spend an hour figuring out how to change the settings or deactivate a particular feature, forget about it. It’s not worth the hassle. Not when there are easy to use alternatives. Test the chair to see if it feels right, and while at this, try and operate the controls.
What to look for: A massage chair that comes with both manual and auto control settings, one that’s easily operated via remote control or touch response, a detailed control panel with all the requisite buttons or well-lit display unit.
Warranty – A massage chair calls for you to invest a considerable amount of money. Just like you wouldn’t buy expensive electronics if they didn’t have a warranty, you have no excuse for buying a massage chair with no warranty or one with a questionable warranty. The best massage chairs come with a 5-year warranty on parts and labour, though this may vary from brand to brand. The industry standard is three years on parts and labour, but a few equally reputable brands give a 1- or 2-year warranty. Use your discernment to gauge whether the chair you pick is a good deal, given the warranty period and feedback from other users.
A massage chair will contribute greatly to your emotional and physical wellbeing. It’s the best pro-wellness invention ever made and it will get you closer to attaining optimal health and wellness. Learn all there is to know about the different massage chairs in the market and how they work, and you’ll be in a better position to make an informed choice on your purchase.
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