A Detailed Guide on How Massage Chairs Work

It is natural to get weary after a long day of hard work. You get home with throbbing feet and every muscle in your body is aching (More information). Your may need to throw yourself at something that will offer you comfort like a massage chair.

A good massage chair will offer you a massage to remove the stress and tensions. The idea behind robotic massage chairs is very simple; a device inside the chair on the chair simulates the work of a human massage therapist.

Massage chairs employ several technologies. Some use simple vibrating elements while others have complex mechanisms to mimic human hands. Although most massage chairs use mechanical methods, some models use water or a series of airbags to massage away the stress and tensions.

Mechanical Massage Chairs

The main components of this chair are an electric motor, gears, vibration mechanisms, and rollers. The simplest form of massage chairs uses vibration mechanisms. Several vibration mechanisms are needed in the chair to produce uniform vibration without destabilizing the chair. To achieve vibration, a weighted wheel is attached to an electric motor. The weight is off-centered so that vibration is produced when the motor rotates rapidly.

Other chairs use rollers to do the work of human hands. The rollers are powered by electric motors and have a limited range of motion determined by the frame inside the chair.

More complicated chairs employ mechanical arms that have rollers mounted on them. These arms move in three dimensions according to the movements pre-programmed motions in a microprocessor. This combination can simulate various massage techniques.

Water Massage Chairs

These massage chairs use water to give a massage without getting you wet as most would presume. The chair has a waterproof membrane that is similar to those on water mattresses.

The front part of the membrane is restrained by a series of bars. There are valves at the top of the membrane that allows the user to fill the membrane cushion with water. At the back of the membrane are a series of nozzles that connect to an electric water pump and heating and cooling systems.

As the pump circulates the water through the chair, it pushes it through the nozzles and this is what brings about a massage sensation. Basically, this method gives a massage from thermo-regulated jets of water.

Air Massage Chairs

This is a massage technique that involves squeezing large muscles to release the tension in them. Air massage chairs target the hands and the legs. The chair has a series of air compressors and airbags. Inflated airbags squeeze the muscles to massage them.

The airbags are connected by a series of tubes and valves to activate the desired airbags. The intensity of the squeeze is proportional to the amount of inflation of the airbag. A microprocessor controls the inflation and deflation of the airbags to mimic several massage patterns.


Generally, most modern massage chairs have onboard microprocessors to control their operating parameters. Some come with preset factory conditions while others have interactive controls to meet the needs of the user. Regardless of the different massage techniques, massage chairs are designed to provide comfort and relaxation.

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