Imagine being able to enjoy a Shiatsu massage any time you want.
Without a licensed massage therapist available to assist you any time of the day or night, your dreams of massage-on-demand may be impossible.
However, Shiatsu massage chairs are available for purchase, which many people have seen at malls or while attending some special outdoor event.
But just how do they compare to the real thing and are they safe to use?
What are shiatsu massage chairs, and how do they work?
A professional Shiatsu massage, uses the fingers or acupressure to stimulate various pressure points in the body to promote relaxation and overall healing throughout the entire body.
Shiatsu massage chairs are designed to mimic these same techniques using mechanical rollers, along with various other robotic functions, to provide comparable results.
Shiatsu chairs come in various designs, meaning they each have their own mechanical system of gears, motors, and rollers nestled underneath their upholstery (the image up top is the Lamborghini chair).
However, some newer models use hydro jets of water to deliver massage, while also keeping the user dry.
As the person relaxes in the chair, the electric motor goes to work powering the rollers to simulate human fingers, kneading, rolling, tapping, gripping, and pressing the pressure points, which is the basis of Shiatsu massage.
The rollers move in different patterns determined by the structured frame.
For instance, some rollers move up and down the back of the chair, while others are designed to move left and right, and some even move in circles to stimulate the pressure points.
Most massage chairs also enable you to adjust the intensity of the massage, using a remote.
The chair's massage information is stored in an integrated circuit inside the chair.
When the remote is activated, the circuit sends a command to increase the intensity.
It also stores the information for the various massage patterns, which enables users to select their own massage pattern.
Since Shiatsu massage chairs are reclining chairs, they are also designed to operate in any position, and the extendable footrest also massages your calves and feet.
Are shiatsu massage chairs good for you?
Some people wonder are Shiatsu massage chairs good for you, and the answer is yes. Shiatsu massage chairs have been proven to help relieve stress which negatively impacts the body.
Therefore, they are good for you.
In fact, Shiatsu massage chairs provide many benefits for the body, including help balance energy.
Shiatsu work is designed to release Qi, or energy blockages in the body, which practitioners believe is to blame for pain.
Shiatsu massage chairs are designed using the same principle and are thereby built to balance energy throughout the body, which research shows helps alleviate pain and discomfort associated with various chronic painful conditions, such as arthritis, chronic headaches, and more.
Furthermore, since massage alone is proven to help relieve muscle tension, which is often associated with stress, a Shiatsu massage chair can also be used to help promote relaxation.
Studies show that when you become stressed, your nervous system responds by putting added pressure on the blood vessels, which restricts blood flow to the muscles, resulting in muscle tension and pain.
However, massage helps encourage the muscles to relax, which helps reduce muscle tightness.
As we just saw, decreased blood flow causes various issues in the body, such as muscle tension and pain; however, increased circulation provides many benefits for the body, including helps rid the body of built-up toxins and helps speed healing and recovery from sickness and injuries.
It also improves digestion and increases oil production and nutrient flow to the skin, which helps improve its tone and texture.
Some Shiatsu massage chairs also enable the user to adjust the position of the chair to a slightly upside-down position, which helps increase blood flow the heart, causing the heart to pump more blood, thus, increasing circulation throughout the body.
Meanwhile, during massage, the pressure and manipulations from the massage cause the blood vessels to become dilated, which also helps improve circulation.
Increased blood flow also increases lymph circulation, which helps reduce swelling in some individuals, as well as causes them to shed excess water.
There are also Shiatsu massage chairs that help realign the spine, as well as the shoulder and neck muscles, which also helps improve your posture.
Poor posture can cause various issues in the body, including soreness and pain, as a misaligned spine puts undue pressure and stress on the ligaments and other parts of the body.
It can also worsen arthritis and cause you to become fatigued easily as poor posture requires more energy to compensate for the added strain and stress on the body.
However, realigning the spine with massage can help alleviate any pain and discomfort caused by poor posture and even naturally correct your posture over time.
Shiatsu massage chairs are also great for improving overall emotional well being as studies show that massage induces a positive effect on the nervous and endocrine system that not only helps reduce stress and anxiety but also increases feel-good chemicals, which help enhance mood.
What are the risks associated with shiatsu massage chairs?
Although Shiatsu massage chairs are safe for you, they do come with their share of risks or side effect for some.
People who bruise easily or that have sensitive skin should beware that the hard pressure of the massage chair might cause some bruising or irritation afterward;
however, this is often remedied by simply adjusting the setting on the massage chair to a lower setting.
Massage chairs may also pose a risk for people with diabetes because it lowers blood sugar levels in the body, which can cause various issues, including seizures.
Therefore, if you have diabetes, be sure to check with your doctor before using a Shiatsu massage chair to avoid complications.
Sometimes the deep tissue massage settings on the chair can cause you to become sore afterward;
however, it is usually just a mild pain that typically only lasts a few hours.
Improper use of the chair, such as using the wrong settings or using the chair too often, can slightly irritate the nerves and muscles, which can also cause soreness.
Likewise, if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to certain materials, the upholstery from the chair might cause your skin to become irritated.
Therefore, if you are allergic to certain materials, be sure to research the material of the chair first or dress appropriately to avoid skin irritations.
Those with circulatory issues, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), should also be careful when using massage chairs because your condition can become aggravated by massage; therefore, it is best to seek a doctor's advice before using a massage chair.
If your immune system is compromised for whatever reason, since the massage provided by massage chairs helps flush toxins and enzymes from the body, it can cause an infection or other complications in those with weakened immune systems.
Therefore, be sure to consult your doctor first, to be sure a massage chair is safe for you.
Lastly, you should never use a Shiatsu massage chair while pregnant because it poses certain risks to pregnant women, which we will see next.
Shiatsu massage chairs during pregnancy
With all the pains, aches, and discomforts associated with pregnancy and your growing belly, Shiatsu massage chairs during pregnancy might sound like a good idea.
However, massage during pregnancy poses various risks for those who are with child, especially without the strict guidance and supervision of a licensed therapist.
Therefore, Shiatsu massage chairs are not recommended for pregnant women.
For instance, there are certain pressure points on the body that when pressed or pressed too hard can stimulate uterine contractions, which can cause premature labor that in turn can cause several complications with your birth that can put both you and your unborn child in danger.
Massage is also not recommended during the first three months of pregnancy due to the risk of miscarrying.
Sometimes with pregnancy, varicose veins may also occur, which can happen as a result of carrying extra weight; however, because some varicose veins, especially DVT, can also be accompanied by blood clots that can be released during massage and travel throughout the body, Shiatsu massage chairs are not recommended for those with varicose veins and other vein issues.
Therefore, any type of massage during pregnancy is strongly advised against, unless it is conducted by a licensed therapist who is specifically trained in massage during pregnancy and understands the pressure points to avoid.
In fact, there are massages designed specifically for pregnancy, which a highly knowledgeable and trained therapist can provide to help ease any discomfort while also safeguarding the health of your unborn child.
He or she will also position you safely to avoid pressure on the uterus.
Massage done the right way during pregnancy can not only help soothe any discomfort in the body, but it also helps improve blood and oxygen flow to your unborn child.
It also leaves you feeling relaxed and invigorated, which can help improve your stamina.
Pregnancy massage also helps keep your mood uplifted throughout your pregnancy, which provides many benefits, including help ensure your newborn's health, as well as helps keep the muscles relaxed, including the birth canal, to help prepare you for successful labor.
So, there you have it, a Shiatsu massage chair provides many of the same great benefits of the actual massage but in a more convenient way.
It can even be used to compliment your current Shiatsu massage treatment or to prolong its effects.
It can also be used in between treatments whenever you need a touch-up, or for times you may not be able to make it to your therapist.
Provided you follow the proper guidelines to avoid any risks, Shiatsu massage chairs are safe and provides a great way to enjoy massage on your own, and it is as easy as just simply relaxing in the chair with your feet up and then selecting your own treatment, using the remote, which is designed to enable you to select the massage mode that bests addresses your specific pain or areas of concern.
They can also be used at home or in the office, whenever you need relief, and they also make great gifts for the holidays, birthdays, and more.