Welcome to our review of “Are Massage Chairs Worth the Money?”
Yes, every penny. We’ll get into the pros, cons, and benefits of owning a massage chair, and what to look for when shopping for one, a little bit later in this article. But first, let’s discuss if owning a massage chair is worth it in the first place.
Table of Contents
Are Massage Chairs Worth The Money – Introduction
Are massage chairs worth the money?
Let’s face it. Massage chairs are expensive…
No, I’m not going to recommend you buy some cheap massage chair made in China with zero customer service. That’s ridiculous, you should get what you’re worth.
You work hard every day, you deserve to be just as relaxed.
You probably had a couple of massage sessions and wondered if you could have it every day. Then you snapped out of it as your bank account refused to let you even indulge in a such daydream.
Well, let us entertain you with some simple math (please don’t have bad flashbacks to college algebra).
According to Thervo, the average cost of a massage is $50 – $90 per HOUR.
Let’s take the dollar value smack dab in the middle: $70…
If you could ONE massage every WEEK, that would cost you $3640 a year. Yeah, it adds up.
So when you buy a massage chair for $800, don’t expect too much. Remember, a massage chair is at least expected to last 5 years. If we were to compare using the formula above, it would amount to $18,200. So when we say buying a massage chair between $2000 and $3000 is reasonable, it’s because it is compared to what you would spend on a massage therapist.
Considering the alternatives, weighing in the health benefits, and understanding how massage chairs work, we’ve concluded that…
Yes, massage chairs are 100% worth it.
We know a thing or two about massage chairs. If you don’t want to read any further, we recommend the Kahuna SM 7300. It is our number one pick for the best massage chair for the money.
- Made for bigger and taller people. Accommodates up to 6 feet 6 inches and 320 lbs.
- Latest technology: zero gravity, hip air-cell massage, acupressure points, removable zipper leg extension for easy washing
- Relieving and awesome automatic programs including the infamous yoga stretching
- Read more about the Kahuna SM 7300!
Things to Consider When Buying A Massage Chair
- Make sure you have the time to use it. This sounds obvious but many people do not have much chance to use a massage chair for whatever reason: traveling for a job, attending kids’ extracurricular activities, night school, etc…
- Do you have space for it? Massage chairs take up quite a bit of space. Many newer modern ones have space-saving technology, but even so, it takes up a considerable amount of space. Generally, massage chairs take up 50 inches (Length) by 30 inches (width), so expect to allocate 125 sq feet of space. If you live in a small condo in Chicago, a massage chair may not be the best investment.
- Can you maintain it? Although massage chairs do not need much upkeep, there will come a time when you’ll need to make a call to a nearby technician for a faulty airbag valve. Make sure you have time to be able to take care of it.
- Will you benefit from it? This also sounds like an easy question to answer. Those who regularly feel body aches will benefit the most. Those who have physically demanding day jobs will find themselves most relieved.
- Do you enjoy deep tissue massage? Our experience tells us that most massage chairs deliver a strong deep tissue massage. If you are one of those sensitive people who cannot handle that, it may be better to purchase a handheld massager.
How Do Massage Chairs Work?
Massage chairs use roller mechanics, heat, air compression, and vibrations to provide a massage similar to the ones licensed massage therapists provide.
The technology in massage chairs has gone a long way to mimic the motions of a human hand.
We would argue that some massage chairs do a better job than a single massage therapist because it’s able to massage different parts of the body simultaneously, whereas one massage therapist would have only one area of focus.
The biggest problem that massage chairs potentially have is that the variability and pattern of the massage are too deterministic.
It doesn’t feel human when the massage is predictable. So, they usually have a lot of automatic programs and customization to address that issue.
What Are Some Health Benefits Associated With Massage Chairs?
Believe it or not, some studies show that there are health benefits associated with getting a massage from a massage chair.
Studies have shown:
- Massage increases alertness
- Massage increases cognitive abilities, specifically in math computations
- Massage decreases depression
- Reduces stress by almost 50% following a 10-minute session
- Reduces average rate by 10%
- Slightly reduces blood pressure
Some participant’s exact feedback:
“I loved the body stretch setting! It feels so amazing when the chair squeezes your calves and feet while pulling you back at the same time. I first tried the sport setting, but I thought it was intense, so I switched it to the stretch setting and loved it. Too bad this chair always seems to be taken when I come in.”Research Participant Weber State University
Are Massage Chairs Dangerous?
Generally speaking, massage chairs are safe. There are certain certifications you may want to look for if you want to be sure they are safe.
There are UL and FDA certifications that some massage chair brands hold for their chairs.
Contrary to popular belief, we do think using a massage chair while pregnant has benefits.
Some people believe it can negatively affect pregnancy but there are no studies done to support that stance.
However, be aware of the strength of some massage chairs.
Brands like to err on the side of a stronger massage because it’s what customers want.
However, some people are sensitive and have found some foot massagers to be “bone-crushing.” Keep in mind it’s easier to dampen strength with a towel than to increase strength.
Also, take caution when carrying and installing massage chairs.
It’s typically very heavy and that’s where the most danger is posed, during the installation process.
We recommend a white glove delivery any time it’s available.
Although not dangerous, we recommend using a massage chair for a maximum of 15 – 30 minutes a day. No more than 7 times a week. The reason is mainly that overusing a massage chair might shorten the lifespan of the machine and you wouldn’t be gaining any health benefits for an extended amount of use.
How to buy a massage chair that is worth it
Massage chairs have been around for around over a century. However, the marketplace is always flooded with cheap chairs that lure customers with their low prices, only for customers to find them broken 6 months after purchase with virtually no customer service.
Here are some things to consider and look out for:
There’s no doubt that brand matters. Building a reputation as a quality chairmaker takes years of engineering and marketing. We recommend brands that have their website, knowledgeable support staff, and a history of unbiased positive reviews.
When looking at the brand’s website, look at the amount of effort they put into their website. Test the customer representative’s expertise by asking a particular question about a specific model chair. Check if they have patents. Patents mean the brand invests in creating advanced massage technology.
Kahuna and Osaki are good examples of quality brands.
We hate to say this cliche but “You get what you pay for” especially applies to massage chairs.
Our data analysis finds that the perfect sweet spot for the price is between $2000 and $3000. Anything less, you’ll find faulty features and weak customer support. Anything over you’ll find polished features that you can probably live without.
Massage chairs have a ton of features. The most important ones are:
- Zero gravity
- Strength of the massage
- 4D rollers (being able to choose depth)
- Heated rollers
- Calve and foot rollers
- A lot of adjustment controls (speed, width, strength)
- 20 – 30 airbags
- Noise reduction technology
- Height and Weight limit
This list of features is things we found to make the most difference in a massage chair. However, you don’t need to have all of them to find your ideal massage chair.
If you need more help on what to look for when buying a massage chair, check out our guide on how to choose a massage chair!
Are Massage Chairs Worth It – Conclusion
As you can see, investing in a massage chair isn’t for everyone. But if you’re someone who regularly spends money on massages, or simply wants to come home to a relaxing massage chair every evening, then they are worth the money.
They are safe, effective, have lots of different features to suit individual needs, and overall are super relaxing and enjoyable, and will put a smile on your face!
Here are some more articles about our favorite massage chairs that you may enjoy reading