Massage Chairs: Rationale and Practice

Massage Chairs Rationale and Practice

During the past few years, chair massage has gained in popularity to become a favorite massage option for massage therapists and their clients.

The reason for this upsurge is that the practice of chair massage is attractive to those who are not normally recipients of massage therapy. Chair massage presents more flexibility, is much quicker and clients can remained dressed during the therapy sessions. These factors make chair massage more appealing and less intimidating to certain people.

Massage Chair Structure and Function

All massage chairs are essentially the same structure though they may differ in size and quality. Pretty much all massage chairs have padding for the head, chest, knees, arms, and seating area and can be adjusted to fit each individual. Normally, the face is placed in an open padded nest-like section at the top of the chair.
The client is seated facing the padded extension of the chair. Thus the client’s back is to the therapist allowing the massage therapist to easily reach the back, neck, shoulders and head.

Massage Chair Therapeutic Benefits

Chair massage is not a new practice. Actually, it has been around for quite a few years. It was originally utilized as a form of portable massage practice and was offered on premise at the place of work. The theory was that a quick massage during the work day would be relaxing and invigorating. As this approach became more popular, chair massage was then offered in a variety of locations such as shopping malls, airports, hotels and conventions.

A typical chair massage session will last anywhere from a few minutes to a half-hour as opposed to the normal one-hour sessions at a spa or clinic. Since the recipient is seated and upright, it is much easier for the therapist to access only those areas that require specific attention. It is typical that a person receiving a chair massage is seeking relief from the areas that are typically stressed such as the neck and shoulders.
Many massage therapists find it more comfortable administering a chair massage as opposed to having to lean over a client that is prone on a table.

Types of Massage Chairs

Chair MassageA massage therapist will have a variety of options from which to select when choosing a massage chair. These are not very complicated devices and they are fairly easy to use and very cost efficient.

Most massage chairs available today are portable. This is consistent with the original intent of chair massage which was to allow massage therapy to be brought from location to location. Stationary massage chairs are usually found as permanent pieces of equipment at spas or clinics wishing to expand the number of therapeutic options. These massage chairs are built for longevity and can be expensive though they are built for durability.

Folding massage chairs are compact and typically weigh less than 25 pounds. This allows these chairs to be easily carried to each unique session by the therapist. These chairs are relatively inexpensive due to their construction of lightweight aluminum. But they are subject to a lot of wear and tear and may need to be replaced periodically.

Types of Massage Chair Bodywork

Some of the specialties associated with massage chairs are scalp massage, thumb kneading, trigger point therapy and massage that addresses shoulders neck, arms and hands which are typically the parts of the body most affected by working over at a computer or in a general office environment. Portable chair massage is frequently marketed as a method of preventing or dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Practitioners of Chair Massage

Any licensed massage therapist can practice chair massage, it is quickly becoming a specialized area of massage therapy with practitioners that are uniquely qualified in chair massage techniques.
There is no special licensing or certification necessary to practice chair massage, but those desiring to learn specific techniques can find programs at massage schools that include chair massage as a specific course offering or take continuing education classes specific to chair massage.

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