Chair massage has become quite popular in the last ten years. It makes massage fun and accessible to many people who would never get massage otherwise. There is a common misconception that chair massage is a lesser form of massage than unclothed table massage. Many people think that chair massage is just for stress relief and a feel good experience; when in fact, in some ways chair massage is better than table massage. For instance:
- If a client is positioned correctly in a chair massage chair, their spine is lined up correctly and their head is supported in such a way that the muscles in the neck relax and stress patterns release without any massage occurring. Tables do not support the cervical curve this way.
- The shoulders are very accessible in a chair such that it is easy to do range-of-motion and stretches with little fuss.
- The body positioned in a chair, takes stress off of the low back by flexing the hips and bending the legs at the knees. People with severe low back issues, need extra cushioning on most tables.
With a little bit of creativity, almost anything can be accomplished in a chair that can be done with a table. In fifteen minutes, a lot more can be accomplished than most people would imagine. It is possible to get vascular, lymphatic, and cranial circulation boosted. Restrictions in major muscle groups can be addressed and the body can be realigned structurally. Obvious affects include more energy, easier more pain free movement, a stronger immune system, and a brighter outlook on the day.
From the therapist's point of view, chair massage can be more physically demanding than table massage. Clothed massage often uses with greater frequency the more strength related techniques like petrissage (lifting and kneading tissue like with dough in baking). This really is the only major draw back. A minor issue is that people who want an hour or longer session do not change their position in a chair and more than 45 minutes in a chair begins to become uncomfortable.