Understanding How Massage Chairs Work

Nothing is more relaxing than a luxurious massage. They reduce stress, ease muscle tension, alleviate pain, and help the body recover after exercise. Fortunately, it is possible to get these same benefits without seeing a masseuse or leaving your living room. Massage chairs do the job, but just how do these fascinating machines provide quality massages?

Types of Chairs

Beneath the upholstery of any massage chair, you will find mechanisms designed to mimic the techniques of human masseuses, such as kneading, tapping, applying pressure, gripping, and targeting pressure points. Different chairs will use different types of devices, and understanding how massage chairs work begins with grasping these differences.

Vibrations and Rollers

Many massage chairs will use vibrations, rollers, or some combination of the two in order to mimic a real massage. Vibrating massage chairs utilize devices that are very similar to what makes a cell phone vibrate: an electric motor hooked up to an unbalanced weight that vibrates when the motor spins. These vibrations imitate the small tapping motions performed by masseuses, which reduces back and joint pain and can even improve circulation. Rollers use several of these motors and attach them to small, round objects or wheels that roll against the muscles the way a masseuse would use their thumbs or elbows to give a deeper massage and loosen up tense muscles and knots.


Hydromassage, a type of massage that uses water instead of human hands, can also be provided through a massage chair. These chairs are made with a waterproof lining that conceals a water pump, a heater, and a series of nozzles. While sitting in the chair, the nozzles shoot jets of water against the lining that moves like rollers against the user’s back, relieving tension. The temperature of the water can also be adjusted, a function that is especially beneficial for those suffering with muscle pain from physical activity.


Unique from the other choices on our list, massage chairs that use air focus more on larger muscles than roller chairs or hydromassage chairs. These chairs contain airbags that inflate and deflate in patterns which press against larger muscles the same way a masseuse would grip and release muscles in order to relieve tension and improve circulation. The user can control the amount of pressure simply by adjusting how much air fills the bags. This highly effective technology is found in many of our Trumedic massage chairs.

Massage chairs come in different shapes and sizes, each providing their own unique experience. Understanding how different massage chairs work will not only help you decide which type is right for you but will also help you fully appreciate the chair you ultimately choose.

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