|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2007)|
A massage chair is a chair designed for massages. Traditional chairs allow easy access to the head, shoulders, and back of a massage recipient, while robotic massage chairs use electronic vibrators and motors to provide a massage.
Traditional massage chairs
Chair Massage is done in an ergonomically designed portable chair. Chair massage focuses on the head, neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands. Massage therapists are able to offer on-site massage to many environments because of the portability of the massage chair, and clients do not need to disrobe to receive a chair massage. Due to these two factors, chair massage is often performed in settings such as business offices, employee appreciation events, trade shows, conferences, and other corporate settings.
Robotic massage chairs
A robotic massage chair is a chair that contains internal electronic motors and gears designed to massage the person sitting in them. Most robotic massage chairs have some form of controller to vary the type, location, or intensity of massage.
Massaging chairs most frequently resemble recliners. There are many different types and brands, including office-style chairs that operate from internal batteries. A less expensive option is a separate massaging pad that may be used with an existing chair.
Robotic massage chairs were first brought to market in 1954 by the Family Fujiryoki company. Today, Japan is the largest consumer of massage chairs with some surveys suggesting that over 20% of Japanese households actually own a massage chair. By comparison, massage chair penetration in the US market is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 1%.
Massaging chairs vary tremendously in price, style and intensity, from cheap "vibrate only" chairs to full intensity Shiatsu models.