Life as we know it is full of stress and hardship. For years, humanity has tirelessly searched for the best ways to unwind and relax, even if that relaxation is fleeting. Massage therapy is one of these revered relaxation methods, well-known for its ability to soothe muscles and relieve tension. Massages have been around for thousands of years, but humanity’s spirit of advancement is ever-enduring, resulting in the invention of the very first mechanical massage chairs roughly 70 years ago.
Massage chairs allowed for increased convenience compared to typical massages. They could be situated within the comfort of your own home, eliminating the need to spend time, effort, and money on traveling to a massage parlor. Thus, they have reached an understandable amount of popularity, especially after the global COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented increase in the time spent at home. However, this popularity has also brought up some understandable concerns: Are massage chairs safe? Are massage chairs safe for children? Are massage chairs safe in pregnancy? Do massage chair benefits and massage chair benefits for health truly exist?
The answer to all those questions: yes. Massage chairs are generally safe for their users, whether adults, children, or pregnant women. However, it does not hurt to consult with your doctor beforehand to verify safety in your situation. Keep reading for a closer look at safety for children, pregnant women, and massage chair health benefits.
Are Massage Chairs Safe for Children?
All parents are intimately familiar with the sheer sense of worry that young children incite with their antics. As such, “Are massage chairs safe for children?” is a common question parents ask. Massage chairs are large, heavy, and filled with moving mechanical parts — surely, they pose a risk to a curious child. In addition, children’s bodies are still in the midst of development. Can a massage cause them harm?
Generally, you can use parental discretion to decide whether or not your child can use a massage chair. There is no hard age limit on massage chair use, but younger or smaller children whose bodies are still in the midst of developing should refrain from constant use as they may sustain injury. Otherwise, allowing your children to use a massage chair can actually be beneficial.
One of the main reasons that adults use massage chairs is to alleviate stress. While children may not exhibit similar symptoms of stress, that does not mean they are not affected by it. The pressure of doing well in school or extracurriculars and troubles in their relationships with friends or family are both common causes of stress in children. Constant stress is harmful to the body due to the increase of the “stress hormone” cortisol. Excess cortisol can lead to increased blood sugar levels, weight gain, weakened immune system, digestive problems, or heart disease. Massage therapy has long been used for stress relief and your child can take advantage of it through a massage chair.
Aside from stress, some medical conditions have also seen improvement after massage therapy. Research is still limited, but children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) see improvement in “the areas of social communication, adaptive behavior, and sensory profile,” and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) see improvement in their mood and anger control, sleep quality, social functioning, and focus.
When you choose a quality massage chair and teach your children to operate it properly, it can be a source of joy instead of worry. Kids love novel experiences and the sensation of a massage chair is sure to be enjoyable.
Safety Tips for Parents
- Teach children how to use the massage chair properly and supervise their use even if you are confident in their ability to operate it.
- Choose a massage chair that has a wide, sturdy base to minimize the risk of it tipping over.
- Ensure that there are no exposed gears or wires on your chair.
- Allocate an appropriate amount of space around the chair to accommodate the movement of the backrest or footrest.
- Look for features that allow you to confirm clearance before moving the chair (e.g. sensors, automatic retraction when the chair hits a foreign object, controls that require pressing down and holding vs. automatic one-touch controls).
Are Massage Chairs Safe in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a difficult time for the mother’s body as it adjusts to the second life growing inside it. For this reason, pregnant women are prohibited from many activities, such as drinking and smoking, using a hot tub or sauna, eating raw seafood, wearing high heels — the list goes on. Worried mothers will find themselves asking “Are massage chairs safe in pregnancy?”
As mentioned, massages are generally safe as they are non-invasive and considered low-risk.
Some massage chair manufacturers, however, do not recommend the use of their chairs during pregnancy. This stems from a concern that the massage may stimulate pressure points and induce premature labor, but this claim is yet to be proven. Most pregnant women can use massage chairs without worry and enjoy the benefits of stress relief and elevated moods, improved blood and lymphatic circulation, and increased muscle strength and flexibility.
There are two cases where a pregnant woman should consult with their doctor before the use of a massage chair: women in their first trimester of pregnancy and women with certain medical conditions. Many prenatal massage therapists do not accept clients in their first trimester as the risk of miscarriage is highest during this period. There are concerns that increased blood flow and the stimulation of certain pressure points may induce premature labor, and they would rather err on the side of caution. Some massage therapists will still accept clients in the first trimester if they have a doctor’s approval.
For those with certain medical conditions or issues, it would be best to consult with your doctor before using a massage chair during your pregnancy, as massages affect blood flow. These conditions include:
- High-risk pregnancy factors (e.g. gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, autoimmune diseases, etc.)
- High blood pressure
- Recent injury or surgery
- Recent organ transplant
Pregnancy comes with many aches and pains, which is why it is understandable that using massage chairs is appealing. Fortunately, as long as you exercise due caution and consult with your doctor beforehand, it is safe to use massage chairs in pregnancy.
Contraindications to Massage Therapy
Contraindications are specific situations where a procedure should not be used as it may cause harm to the person receiving it. While there are no contraindications for massage chairs specifically, there are still contraindications to massage therapy that apply. Child or adult, female or male, pregnant or not, these contraindications should be observed as they ensure that you can enjoy the use of your massage chair without risks to your health or safety. Contraindications can be either local or absolute — local contraindications still permit massage therapy on unaffected areas of the body, but absolute contraindications do not allow it at all. Some common local contraindications are:
- Open wounds or sores
- Inflammation of the skin
- Recent broken bones, fractures, sprains, or bruises
- Local irritable skin conditions or rashes
These local contraindications are easy enough to avoid, so you can use your massage chair as long as you avoid the area. For others, such as varicose veins, blood clots, or recent surgery, it may be necessary to consult with your doctor first.
In Summary: Yes, Massage Chairs Are Safe
Questions like “Are massage chairs safe?”, “Are massage chairs safe for children?”, “Are massage chairs safe in pregnancy?” can cause people looking to purchase a massage chair to rethink their decisions. As such, they miss out on the many health and wellness benefits offered by a massage chair.
Thankfully, massage chairs are generally safe for kids, adults, and pregnant women — massages are non-invasive by nature and are seen as very low risk. Any contraindications that prohibit people from using general massage therapy still apply, but there are no defined risks or contraindications for massage chairs specifically. In addition, you can always consult with your doctor before committing to a massage chair purchase if your worries are still not assuaged.
Massage Chair Benefits
Massage chairs are a marvel of human invention. They allow you to have a dose of relaxation within the comfort of your home anytime you want. With a massage chair, you no longer have to deal with the tediousness of booking appointments at the nearest massage parlor to enjoy a relaxing massage.
In addition, massage chairs today feature a wide range of sophisticated features. Various shapes, contours, and fabric materials meant for comfort, accessories like a separate ottoman or footrest, various strengths and intensities of massages, massages targeting areas from head to toe — neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, arms, hands, legs, feet, and easy-to-use controls and preset massages, the list goes on.
The massage chair benefits do not stop at comfort and relaxation, however. Massage chairs offer a wide range of health benefits too.
Massage Chair Benefits: Health
If you suffer from constant stress, back pain, high blood pressure, or poor sleep quality, you might just be surprised at how using a massage chair benefits health. Using a massage chair can have these positive effects:
- Pain relief — More than 75% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Many just learn to live with it, but massages offer some much-needed relief. Massages help muscles relax, which in turn reduces pain. This can also lead to improved posture, which will decrease pain in the future.
- Faster muscle recovery — After vigorous exercise or other physical activity, your muscles produce lactic acid, which causes muscle fatigue and soreness. Your body will naturally remove lactic acid on its own, but massages can help you feel more relaxed and well-rested afterward.
- Fewer headaches — Headaches and migraines can sometimes be caused or affected by muscle tension. As massages reduce muscle tension, the frequency or intensity of headaches may also decrease.
- Lower blood pressure — Massage chairs trigger your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to regulate high blood pressure and heart rate, improving blood circulation and reducing the risk of diseases like heart disease and stroke.
- Improved immune system — Living under constant stress weakens your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to sickness. Massage chairs help you relax and bring down stress levels, allowing your immune system to function at top capacity.
- Lower cortisol levels — As mentioned, the “stress hormone” cortisol can have adverse effects on the body when produced in excess. The stress relief provided by massage chairs is effective in lowering cortisol levels in the body.
Buy Your Own Massage Chair Today!
Now that you are aware that massage chairs are generally safe, you might be eager to purchase one of your own. Look no further than our catalog here at Massage Chair Relief. We are committed to selling only the highest quality massage chairs from well-known and highly-trusted brands, such as Osaki, Luraco, Human Touch, Panasonic, and more.
We include a lifetime labor warranty with all our chairs — no need to worry about your chair breaking down in five years without the right parts or repairman to get it back to working condition. We also offer free shipping across the continental USA and financing programs of up to 48 months, just because we want to make the process of buying your dream massage chair as convenient and affordable as possible.
Lastly, if you are still on the fence about the commitment of paying for a massage chair, you can rest assured that our 90-day return policy is truly free — we pay for 100% of the return shipping costs with no restocking fees, no back-billing for the original shipping costs, and no strings attached. Stop worrying about “Are massage chairs safe?” and start shopping for the right massage chair for you and your family — the benefits to health and wellness cannot be ignored.