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What Massage Techniques Are Available in the Chair?

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Chair massage is a great entry point for people who might otherwise not get to experience massage. It also provides an approachable way for massage therapists to introduce themselves to clients.

With innovations in robotic technology, there is now hardly any technique that a massage chair can’t perform. This article will look at some of the most common ones.


Tapping is one of the most important massage techniques available in the chair. The clapping technique, which is part of a larger set of percussion strokes called tapotement, stimulates nerve endings and improves muscle tone by applying rhythmic pressure to soft tissues. It is a great choice for anyone seeking to relieve stress, although it’s also helpful for people with chronic pain or those who suffer from bronchitis or cystic fibrosis.

The seated position of the massage chair provides improved access to many body parts that are difficult to reach when clients are lying down flat on a massage table. For example, the chair allows masseurs to easily work on muscles that rise towards the ears and the base of the skull, which are difficult to massage when the client is in a lying position.

The chair can also perform the sweeping massage movement known as effleurage. This is accomplished by a combination of rollers that move in a unified wave up and down the back, generating a soothing sensation that is especially good for the neck and shoulders. The chair can also enable sleep mode, which enables the user to remain in a reclined position with a synchronized rocking motion for deep relaxation. The chair can also provide a spinal decompression stretch that uses air compression and a series of stretches to strengthen the back and limbs, reducing pain and tension.


Kneading is one of the most common massage techniques in chair therapy. It involves circular stretching movements on the back that soothe tense muscles and eliminate fatigue. It also helps stretch the spinal muscles and bring vital nutrients to the area. This eliminates toxins and relieves pain. It is often used on the neck, shoulders and lower back in a chair massage.

The technique of kneeling, also known as petrissage, is another common massage technique in a massage chair. It is a form of friction massage that uses kneading motions to soothe the muscles and release tension. It is especially beneficial for releasing stress and increasing mental clarity. This can be helpful for individuals in high-stress jobs or who require prolonged periods of mental concentration.

Using a technique similar to Swedish massage, kneading in a massage chair is accomplished by using rollers that sweep up and down the back, mimicking the motion of thumbs pressing into the muscle. It can also be accompanied by tapping and other massage techniques.

Massage chairs can also use a technique called rolling, which is accomplished by the use of airbags. These airbags can be programmed to inflate and deflate, squeezing and releasing large muscle groups for gentle compression therapy. Most massage chairs also incorporate a footrest. This allows users to reclining with their feet in the footrest to alleviate pressure on the spine and experience a full-body stretch.


A vibration massage is a technique that uses shaking movements to soothe or stimulate soft tissue and nerves. Many massage chairs with vibration capabilities offer this style with varying intensity levels to meet the user’s needs.

Kneading is another technique that can be performed in a chair and is often combined with 3D massage rollers for the neck, upper shoulders, and certain muscles in the spine to provide a full-body kneading sensation. This type of massage also helps loosen the muscles, which makes them easier to access for a deeper massage.

Other common techniques in a chair include Effleurage (gliding strokes that relax soft tissue) and Petrissage (kneading movements that lift and squeeze muscles). Many massage chairs that have built-in programs also have manual modes where the user can create their own sequence of different massage styles to be saved for future use.

Most chair massages do not incorporate deep pressure or trigger point therapy as it is challenging to leverage the body weight of the therapist over a client in a reclined position. However, it is not unheard of for a massage therapist to ask the client about their pressure preferences prior to beginning a session and to make any adjustments accordingly.


The shiatsu massage technique uses a combination of finger pressure, palm and elbow, knees and feet to release blockages on the meridian pathways of energy. It is often cited as an effective therapy for musculoskeletal conditions such as neck and back pain, fibromyalgia and tension headaches. It can also relieve stress, mental fatigue and improve concentration. It is often a complementary therapy to acupuncture.

Kneading is one of the most popular massage techniques in chair models and it helps loosen tense muscles. This technique is complemented with orbital oscillation and kneading rollers in the ottoman footrest of massage chairs.

Another popular technique is a petrissage of the trapezius muscles (the muscles that fill the space between your shoulders). This is a great way to loosen and relax these muscles.

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If you have an underlying condition that may be contraindicated for certain types of massage, it is important to discuss it with your practitioner before undergoing treatment. They can advise you on whether a chair massage is safe for you, and how they might adapt their treatment to account for these issues. This is particularly important for individuals in high-stress occupations or who have a medical condition like lupus that is in the flare-up stage. This will prevent you from developing a rash or other symptoms that may be exacerbated by the massage.

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