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Portable Massage Chairs

Massage Chairs | Senior Health Care | The Senior Life

Massage chairs can improve your health and well-being in several ways, but only if you invest in one that’s adequately designed and backed by medical research and quality construction.

What Are the Benefits of Massage Chairs?

Massage chairs, if properly designed and constructed, can give seniors relief from a variety of aches and pains while improving health, including:

  • Relieving the pain of tired, aching muscles
  • Loosening tense muscles and trigger points, particularly in the neck and shoulders
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving circulation and promoting healing
  • Reducing pressure
  • Improving spinal alignment
  • Reducing headaches
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Lowers heart rate and reduces blood pressure with regular use

It is crucial, however, to invest in a massage chair that has been researched, designed, and approved by qualified medical experts. There are massage chairs on the market that are poorly designed. These don’t have any health benefits and can actually be detrimental to your health because they are poorly designed and work against your body.

What to Look For in a Massage Chair

Massage chairs come with a dizzying array of options and features. Still, the most important features are the type of massage and what parts of the body the chair massages. Let’s look at those first.

Types of Massage

  • Shiatsu massage closely mimics the feel of a masseuse working your muscles and is a Japanese form of massage. Some shiatsu massage chairs have a multi-directional feature.
  • Kneading will ease away knots and work out any tension or trigger points that have built up in your muscles. If your muscles are tight, a kneading massage may help.
  • Percussion massage is a more intense, pounding form of massage, as though someone is thumping on your back with their hands. This gets deeper into the tissues, but if you are sensitive or are looking for something gentler, this may not be what you’re looking for.
  • Stretching is good for lubricating joints and loosening tight muscles, so it’s good for after a workout or if you feel like you need to stretch out.
  • Compression massage puts mild pressure on various areas of the body, often the extremities, to relieve pain and minimize fluid build-up.
  • Tapping also helps relax muscles and improve circulation.

Massage Chair Body Coverage

Nearly all massage chairs will massage the back, it’s part of the definition of being a massage chair. They most often come in either an S formation, which fits along the spine in an S shape from the base of the neck to the base of the spine, or an L shape, which goes from the base of the neck and continues along the seat. The L shape also massages your buttocks and the thighs.

Some massage chairs will also massage other areas of the body, such as the neck, head, and feet. For seniors who carry a lot of tension in their neck and shoulders, neck massage can be a great stress reliever. If you are prone to tension or migraine headaches, a massage chair with a built-in head massager may be a consideration. If you’re on your feet all day or have circulatory problems, a massage chair with a foot massage function can bring relief.

Additional Considerations

There are other considerations, including style, cost, and extras, such as heat or USB ports. Take the time to compare several models and decide which will best suit your needs. Don’t forget to take the warranty into consideration as well since this will be a fairly expensive investment.

Three Massage Chairs That Really Work

We based our evaluations based on how well they worked, their reputations, and whether they were medically sound and safe. Here are three we are confident will ease away the tension and bring hours of relaxation.

Real Relax 2020 Massage Chair

This is a massage chair the comes in at a good price with a decent amount of extras and a three-year warranty. It has wheels on it so you can move it from room to room easily, which is a rare feature. The zero-gravity design enhances the comfort and shiatsu massage intensity, although there is no roller option for the back. The chair includes roller massage for the arms, neck, legs, and feet, as well as an excellent full-body air massage feature. Heat and vibration complete a nicely packaged massage chair at an entry-level price point.


  • Wheels for easy transport
  • Shiatsu massage
  • 4 pre-programmed massage options
  • Heat
  • Vibration
  • Full body air massage
  • Leg & foot massage – roller and airbag
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Remote control
  • Zero gravity in three positions
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Adjustable height


  • Some say leg massage is a bit intense
  • Back node positions not adjustable
  • You don’t have a choice of massage styles such as Swedish or kneading massage

Final Thought: This is a nice choice for your first massage chair because it covers it gives good basic massage, and has an attractive style that will look good anywhere.

4.5 Stars

Medical Breakthrough 6 Massage Chair

Yes, the price on this is steep, but this is a true, medical-grade massage chair. It scans your body when you sit down to automatically adjust the rollers to your frame for optimal relief and a perfect massage. The chair was designed by a team of 25 doctors, chiropractors, and pain specialists, and it shows. This is a chair that is recommended by some doctors as a stand-in for physical therapy, which is not possible with most massage chairs. The range of massage styles you can choose using the remote includes Shiatsu, deep tissue, stretching, Swedish, air, and Yoga. There is also Chiropractic stretching available.


  • Fully customized massage with body scan
  • Wheels for easy transport
  • Several styles of massage, including Shiatsu, deep tissue, stretching, Swedish
  • Chiropractic stretching
  • Heat
  • Full body air massage
  • Leg & foot massage
  • Remote control
  • Zero gravity
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Adjustable height
  • 3-year limited warranty


  • Only one angle of zero gravity
  • Price is out of reach for some
  • 250-pound weight limit

Final Thought: For the ultimate massage experience, this is the chair you want if you can afford the price tag. It offers every massage option imaginable in a top-quality chair with the price tag to go with it.

4.9 Stars

Kahuna Massage Chair LM-6800

This massage chair offers an impressive array of options, including Shiatsu, kneading, rolling, tapping, and combination massage options from the neck to the feet. The chair is an L-track model, so you’re getting full back and seat coverage as well as full-body scanning for a customized fit for a comfortable massage. There are three speeds and three levels of air massage to give you the exact amount of pressure and relief you’re seeking. It isn’t the best choice, however, for larger individuals, as it has a weight limit of just 220 pounds.


  • Fully customized massage with body scan
  • 6 automatic program options
  • 5 manual massage techniques
  • Several styles of massage, including Shiatsu, kneading, rolling, and combination
  • Heat
  • Three levels of massage
  • Leg & foot massage
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Remote control
  • Three levels of zero gravity
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Yoga stretching program


  • 220-pound weight limit
  • 6’2” height limit
  • Difficult to assemble
  • 4.8 Stars

Our Top Pick

The Kahuna Massage Chair LM-6800 has an impressively rich menu of features that’s surprising for a chair that comes in under that $2,000 mark with 3-year, limited warranty. It gets amazing reviews from owners, and on the rare occasions it has problems, customer service is always responsive and friendly. The body scan means you’re benefiting from a fully customizable massage that you usually only find in much more expensive models. You just won’t find many massage chairs with more options, including manual, automatic, and combination massages and heat from neck to feet.

Highly Rated

Doctors and chiropractors love the Medical Breakthrough 6 massage chair because it was developed specifically with patients in mind. It has tons of features that address the needs of those with problems with circulation, spinal issues, sore muscles, tension, and other issues that massage can help with. Features include a yoga setting and deep tissue and chiropractic stretching. This chair is incredibly comfortable, lasts for years, and has the best craftsmanship around. It can also be set just three inches from the wall, so it works well in a smaller room. You won’t find anything better, and the adjustable height means it works for almost anyone.

Great Value

If you’re looking for a dependable, basic massage chair that comes in at under $1,000, the Real Relax 2020 is your massage chair. While it doesn’t have a lot of options, the shiatsu massage gives you a thoroughly relaxing treatment for your back and neck. The rollers for the arms, legs, and feet provide a very nice, adjustable massage for the rest of the body, and the heat and vibration improve your overall relaxation. The 3-year, limited warranty on this chair lasts as long as the warranty on many massage chairs at three times the price.


Investing in your health isn’t just about doctor’s visits and medications. Relaxation and easing away the sore muscles and stiffness can lead to a variety of results, including better mental health, more restful and deeper sleep, lower blood pressure, and improved immune health.

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