A massage chair is a definite luxury in a home, both in terms of its cost and in terms of the relaxation that it can give. It is especially coveted by those who are too busy bustling around eight or more hours a day at work and then face up to countless extracurricular responsibilities, not even having the time in a regular week to have a nice, deep tissue massage to work out the kinks! Indeed, a massage chair may cost much at the initial outlay, but in the long run, the benefits you get will definitely prove it a worthwhile investment.
Before you even jump into the actual purchase of a massage chair, you need to understand the two basic types. Massage chairs are differentiated by the way they massage your body. One type is the vibrating type of massage chair, which makes use of vibrations and pulses to give you the sensation of a massage. This is known as an air-massager, and it may come with heat or other special functions, but basically, it is described as the more toned-down type of massage chair.
The other type of massage chair is the shiatsu massage chair. From the name itself, you can understand that the chair is designed to give you a shiatsu massage, which is essentially a deep tissue massage. This means that it tends to be much more intense than a vibration massage chair, which consequently means that not everyone may come to like it. The deep tissue massage makes use of moving components in the massage chair designed to penetrate your muscles. Some chairs, in fact, can lift you off your seat by as high as 6 inches, which some people may find rather unnerving or uncomfortable, especially if they have underlying conditions that may make them uncomfortable with such movements.
If you are considering buying a shiatsu massage chair, first off, you need to be certain you are comfortable with shiatsu massages in general. This is because a person who is not used to deep tissue massages may find it too powerful, and therefore might result in his feeling more tired than when he first began. Certainly, it is possible that this type of massage will grow on you, but it is better to have some idea already of what to expect, preferably from prior experience with shiatsu. This way, you will not be unpleasantly surprised by the sensation and will also be more knowledgeable when something happens to be amiss.
For a shiatsu massage chair, you will need to consider the recline feature: manufacturers tend to have different ideas of what comprises a partial or a full recline of a chair, but a general guideline is that any reclining angle that is greater than 170 degrees can be safely considered a full recline, while anything lower than that is only a partial recline. If you have been used to having a shiatsu full-body massage, you will likely benefit from a massager that can recline fully; if you are satisfied with a deep tissue massage only on your back, a partially-reclining massager will likely be enough to satisfy you.
Another thing to consider about a shiatsu massage chair is the width and more importantly the depth of the chair. Why is this important? The depth of the chair will determine whether your legs are in the right place, and ultimately whether you get to maximize the features of the chair. For example, if the chair is too deep for you, or if you are of a shorter stature than usual, you may find that your thighs and lower legs do not get the massage designed for them, since you are not seated on the components designed to massage them. This is perhaps why the HT Massage Chair, while having been appreciated for its nice, relaxing massage, has received customer comments about how it seemed better suited for women and smaller men.
Interestingly, you can actually also get a shiatsu massage chair by simply buying a shiatsu massage cushion and installing it on an existing lazy chair in your house. For example, the Homedics Shiatsu Massage Cushion is highly portable, so you can even have your very own shiatsu massage in your car! Of course, the effects may not be the same as having a full-sized chair, but it may serve as a good introduction to shiatsu-type massagers for a beginner.
In any case, when you know what to expect and what to look for in a shiatsu massage chair, chances are, you will not be disappointed!