Massage Chairs

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2005

My doctor told me during my annual physical exam that my back muscles are very tight and that I might consider getting a massage. I was quite surprised, as I thought that I had a relatively stress free life ( laid back personality as well). I had no idea I was under stress and that it was knotting up my back. :)

Anyway, I had a professional massage today, boy was it great! I felt so relaxed and limber! Getting a professional massage regularily is out of the question due to its prohibitive cost. Is there any other way I can accompish this result? I notice various products ( massaging chairs etc) are sold in stores such as Sharper Image and Brookstones... Do these work? If anyone has any ideas please let me know. Thanks. Anon

I dont' know much about massage chairs, but there are several massage schools in the Bay Area that have clinics where you can get less expensive massages. You will be worked on by students of the schools and often can get a great massage. I don't know the prices, but they are way less than the cost of a skilled professional massage therapist.

There is a school in Emeryville called ''National Holistic Instituite''. Also, in San Anselmo is ''Alive and Well Institute for Conscious Bodywork'' Both of these schools have a clinic. You can also go to some of the sauna places (Berkeley Sauna comes to mind) and get a 1/2 hour massage and choose to have just your neck and shoulders worked on.

Massage chairs, from my memory of ''trying them out for a few minutes'' is it feels nice as the rollers go over the body, but you don't get any deep work done on specific areas. Some people who can't afford regular massage find that they can afford once per month, or even once per 6 weeks or so.

As a massage therapist, and as a mom who REALLY NEEDS lots of massage, I'd go for finding a way to fit it into your budget over a chair. Think about this....maybe you'd be paying $500.00 or more for a good massage chair. How many massages could you get out of that especially at the school clinics? Just a thought. Good luck, June Kamerling NCTMB

Dec 2003

I'd like to by a high quality massage chair for my dad for Christmas. I don't care if it is the most supple of leathers. I am concerned that it is rated as very safe, that it is supremely comfortable, and that it simulates an actual massage as much as possible. Some chairs I've sat in have actually hurt with the different vibrations and motions! If you have some suggestions of where to find such a chair, I'd be greatly appreciative!

We're also researching massage chairs and are about to buy one through Sharper Image. If you contact their San Francisco office they can refer you to their showroom where you can bring your father in to try the different models. They have a special showroom that features these chairs. I've found that whether it hurts or not can depend on the body type of the person being massaged, so it will be important to get him into the chair. Laurence

I can't recommend a specific chair, but do be aware that massage chairs are one of those things that are not ''one size fits all''. At a recent massage chair display, my daughter loved one of the chairs so much, she urged me to try it, too. I did, and the chair was so uncomforatble for me (I'd actually say painful), it ended up reviving an old hip-pain problem. It's still hurting months later! R.K.