Are Massage Chairs Safe?

Massage chairs can help reduce stress, promote blood and lymphatic circulation, elevate moods, as well as boost muscle strength and flexibility.

Sounds great, right? But is it too good to be true? 

If you’re wondering “are massage chairs safe?”, well, chances are you have nothing to worry about. Generally speaking, as long as the type of massage you’re having is non-invasive, it’s considered very low risk.

Are there Contradictions to Using Massage Chairs?

There are no specific risks or contraindications related to the use of massage chairs, which means they’re practically safe. There are, however, contraindications to general massage therapy, and we should follow these when using a massage chair. 

Contraindications for massage therapy include:

  • An open wound
  • Inflamed or infected injuries
  • Immediately after surgery
  • A recent surgery
  • At the sites of recent fractures, sprains, or bruises
  • Circulatory ailments such as phlebitis or varicose veins
  • An Infectious skin disease
  • A rash
  • A tendency to form blood clots or if using blood thinners
  • Areas of bleeding or heavy tissue damage
  • Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Osteoporosis
are massage chairs safe

Kahuna Massage Chair

L-Track Zero Gravity Full-Body Recliner LM-6800 with Yoga-Stretching & SH-Chiro Massage programs and heating therapy.

What Precautions Should You Take before Using a Massage Chair?

Before you take a massage from a massage chair, make sure you stick to the following precautions for maximum safety:

  • Electrical Safety – since most massage chairs operate via electricity, always plug the massage chair directly into the outlet in the wall. Avoid plugging your massage chair into an extension as it may result in a short circuit. Don’t forget to unplug your massage chair when cleaning or not in use so you don’t get electrocuted.
  • Individual Safety – if there are kids in need of using a massage chair, they can do so only under the supervision of an adult. Massage is known to help decrease blood pressure, so people who already have low blood pressure should consult a doctor first. As for pregnant women, they should also consult their doctor before using massage chairs.
  • Usage Duration – don’t use your massage chair for more than thirty minutes per single session. You should also avoid massaging a certain body part for more than five minutes straight.
  • Maintenance – make sure you thoroughly clean every part of your massage chair to avoid the build-up of dirt in the chair or over its surface. Don’t use an aerosol spray to clean the chair.
  • Defect – if your massage chair is defective in any way, you should stop using it immediately and contact the dealer who sold it to you. Always check the condition of all the parts before every session to make sure the chair will work properly

Are Massage Chairs Safe for Pregnant Women?

According to Tekoa L. King (certified nurse-midwife at the University of California, San Francisco), massage chairs are indeed safe for pregnant women to use. 

Even though massage chair manufacturers recommend that pregnant women refrain from using their chairs due to a concern that massage may stimulate pressure points on the back and cause premature labor, there’s no actual evidence to prove this claim.

are massage chairs safe

Osaki Massage Chair

Osaki OS4000TA Model OS-4000T Zero Gravity Massage Chair, Black, Computer Body Scan, Zero Gravity Design, Unique Foot roller, Next Generation Air Massage Technology, Arm Air Massagers, Auto Recline and Leg Extension, Wireless Controller.

When Should Pregnant Women Avoid Using a Massage Chair?

According to Dr.Shivani Patel (an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern), there are two cases in which a pregnant woman should think carefully about getting a massage from a massage chair:

  1. Women in their first trimester of pregnancy – the American Pregnancy Association says that it’s possible for a pregnant woman to receive a massage at any point during her pregnancy. Still, a lot of prenatal massage therapists don’t accept pregnant clients until the second trimester of pregnancy. 

The reason is that the risk of miscarriage is highest during the first trimester. Some therapists worry that increased blood flow during a massage might be in some way triggering.

Another reason, although less likely, is the presence of certain pressure points in the female body that are thought to stimulate contractions or potentially induce labor. Consequently, most prenatal massage therapists don’t work with women in their first trimester of pregnancy unless they produce a doctor’s release.

  1. Pregnant women with certain medical conditions – since massage therapy can alter blood flow in the body, there’s a possibility it can also and affect some health conditions. If any of the following issues apply to you, be sure to consult your doctor before getting a prenatal massage at any point in your pregnancy:
    • High blood pressure that isn’t controlled by medication
    • High-risk pregnancy concerns, such as congenital heart disease or preeclampsia
    • Recent injury or surgery
    • Recent organ transplant 

Wrap Up

How would you like to have a personal masseuse available on-demand at home or work? Massage chairs can give you this – without the awkward part of course. Instead of booking appointments and having to wait for days at a time, you can have your dose of relaxation anytime you want.

The best part? Massage chairs are totally safe as long as you follow the guidelines and precautions we discussed above.