Massage therapy offers a wealth of mental and physical health benefits. It helps relax your muscles, relieve tension from your joints, alleviate stress and anxiety and even improve the quality of your sleep. But are all massages created equal? Is there a difference between the kind of massage you get from a licensed therapist and a massage chair?
Licensed massage therapists undoubtedly deliver a personalised experience that’s difficult to achieve through a massage chair. However, today’s massage equipment products offer advanced functions and convenient features that could replicate a spa massage right in the comfort of your home.
Ultimately, these two options come with hard-to-beat perks. We’ve broken down the differences between massage chairs and massage therapists below to help you decide which option suits your needs and lifestyle better.
1. Physical Touch
The biggest advantage of going to a masseuse is human touch. Studies show that physical touch stimulates the production ofoxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, which are your ‘feel-good’ hormones. These hormones regulate your mood, which partly explains why massages are so relaxing.
2. Personalised Experience
Massage therapists can modify their technique according to your preferences. You can tell them if you want the pressure a bit harder on certain parts of your body or if you want them to work on a particularly stubborn knot. It can be difficult to achieve this level of customisation with massage chairs since you have to adjust the setting every time you want to increase or decrease the pressure level.
Additionally, the masseuse can target hard-to-reach places that massage chairs can’t, such as your temples and the front of your thighs.
3. Positive Client-Patient Relationship
You can grow your relationship with your massage therapist over time. Eventually, they won’t have to ask your massage preferences because they have everything memorised. They’ll also know what your problem areas are, which is extremely helpful if you suffer from any chronic aches.
4. Multiple Massage Types
There are various types of massage you can try, including Swedish, hot stone, Shiatsu and Thai, among others. These techniques target different problems, from chronic muscle pain and injury rehabilitation to anxiety and stress relief.
These massages also vary in pressure and technique. The most common type of massage is when you’re lying face down on a bed and the masseuse relieves knots and tension in your muscles. Meanwhile, some massages, like Thai massage, stretch and twist you into various positions to improve your flexibility and range of motion.
Going to a masseuse lets you try out these different massage therapies until you find one that suits your needs best.
The cost of a regular massage adds up over time. The rate of a basic, one-hour massage ranges from $50 to $75, not including the cost of specialist products like hot stones or aromatherapy. If you get a $60 massage every week, that amounts to at least $3,120 a year.
You need to schedule an appointment with your masseuse. This has its perks, of course – you don’t have to worry about the spa being fully booked when you get there or waiting for a long time for your turn.
However, having to book an appointment can be inflexible, which is a problem if you have a busy schedule. You can’t just go get a massage when you feel like it or on the rare occasion that you have free time. Plus, some massage therapists charge a fee if you cancel at the last minute.
Some people are very particular with how they want their massages, which makes it hard for them to find a therapist they’re comfortable with. If this is the case for you, it might take you a while before you find a masseuse that you like.
4. Risk of Pain
If the masseuse doesn’t ask the right questions upfront, they can end up hurting you due to excessive pressure, targeting the wrong area or using the wrong techniques. Some massage therapists can also be a little too heavy-handed for your pain tolerance, even after you tell them to ease up on the pressure. This could ruin what would have been a relaxing experience.
Owning a massage chair means you can get a massage anytime you want. You won’t have to book an appointment, leave your house and brave traffic just to have a relaxing massage.
This level of convenience is especially helpful if you have a busy schedule since you can easily squeeze in a 15-minute massage whenever you have the time. You can even multitask– take calls, read, listen to an audio book or watch something on Netflix – while enjoying a rejuvenating massage.
A massage chair is a worthwhile investment if you’re the kind who goes for massages weekly. There are quality full-body massage chairs sold at around $4,000, which costs only a little more than the average annual cost of spa massages mentioned above. Plus, you can use your massage chair for over five years, so you’ll definitely be seeing a high return on your investment.
3. Additional Furniture
Some people are wary of buying massage chairs because they take up so much space and are thus difficult to store. Massage chairs don’t need storing, though. They double as furniture pieces when not in use, so they’re still functional even when you’re not getting a massage. Additionally, massage chairs are aesthetically pleasing and come in various colours, so you can choose one that goes with your interiors.
4. Special Features
Massage chairs have strategically positioned airbags and rollers that reach common problem areas, such as your shoulders, the nape of your neck, lumbar area and even thighs and calves. Having these features means you don’t have to go out to enjoy a full-body massage experience.
Aside from their advanced massage capabilities, massage chairs have additional features that elevate your experience. Some models have heated massage options, targeted foot and calf massages, surround-sound speakers and Bluetooth connection.
Premium massage chairs also have the Zero Gravity recline setting. Inspired by NASA’s neutral body posture specifications, the Zero Gravity setting lifts pressure on your joints so you can enjoy a deeper, more relaxing massage experience.
- Possible Defects or Breakdowns
Just like any machine, massage chairs are could break down or encounter a mechanical problem. If your chair isn’t properly maintained, it might not be able to give you the quality of massage you expect. Luckily, most massage chairs come with warranties. You can have your chair repaired or replaced at no extra cost if it’s still within the validity period.
2. Limited Settings
Affordable massage chairs offer only a few massage programs and pressure level settings. If you want a wider variety of programs, you’ll have to invest in pricier chairs. This doesn’t mean low-grade massage chairs are meritless, though. Just be sure to try them out and see if the available settings are satisfactory for your massage needs before making a purchase.
3. Limited Coverage
Because of their shape, massage chairs can’t reach areas of the body that a massage therapist can. These include the temples, face, front of the thighs, arms and hands. Some chairs, however, have attachments to reach these places. Otherwise, you can purchase a hand-held massager that you can use on any part of your body.
Massage chair users risk over-targeting certain areas of the body if they’re not careful, which can batter and bruise the muscles. You can avoid this by limiting the frequency and pressure level of your massages. If you experience soreness after a session, you can use an ice pack on the painful areas for 10 minutes a couple of times a day.
Choosing Between a Massage Chair and a Massage Therapist
Both these options have their merits, so the decision ultimately depends on your personal preference. Consider your budget, day-to-day schedule and lifestyle to know if a massage chair or a regular visit to your masseuse is the better option.
So, if you’re suffering from a medical condition that requires a structured therapy plan, it’s wise to have the guidance of a licensed massage therapist. But if your goal is just to relieve stiffness soreness in your muscles after a long day, then investing in a high-quality massage chair instead of going to a masseuse regularly will help you save a hefty sum in the long-run.
If you need assistance in choosing the right massage chair, OSIM Massage Chair Company is here to help. We offer a range of products, from full-body massage sofas to smaller, hand-held massagers.
For enquiries about our products, call us at +44 020 4518 2485or fill out our online form.