In the backrest of each massage chair there are certain mechanisms that work upon the back. At their core are massaging arms that imitate the movements of human hands and perform specific massage techniques. In addition to airbag massage or leg massage, the techniques form automatic programs. When buying a massage chair, questions often arise about how many automatic programs it offers or which massage techniques can be used in it. So in this episode, Paweł tells us what each automatic program contains and describes the role of massage techniques.
Massage chair vs. massage techniques
Techniques are also referred to as manual programs. These are mechanical massage programs that rely solely on the operation of the massaging arms that imitate the movement of the masseur’s hands. Technique is the way the massaging arms act on the back and, in the case of L-shape systems, on the buttocks. The most common techniques available are kneading, tapping, kneading with tapping, shiatsu or pounding.
Let’s take a look at the individual techniques.
The name of the shiatsu technique, which originated in Japan, basically means “finger pressing.” The purpose of massage is to apply pressure to the energy channels that run through the human body; channels which can become blocked, causing physical and mental ailments. The smooth and rhythmic pressure is therefore designed to unblock the channels and prevent future disruptions in the flow of energy in the body. As a result, it does a great job of relieving tension, promoting harmony and balance throughout the body.
To unclench the muscles along the spine, the massaging arms mimic the movement of a masseur using a closed fist. The key advantage of this massage technique is amazing relaxation of tense muscles. It’s also excellent for dealing with muscle pain and tension after long hours spent in one position, such as after work or a long, exhausting journey.
Another technique is to rhythmically tap the muscles along the spine. This is a bouncy and short movement imitating the open hand of a massage therapist. Performed in this way, it causes no pain and prevents the formation of bruises. Tapping strengthens muscles, stimulates the entire body and improves blood circulation.
One of the most prominent massage techniques is kneading. Massaging arms perform circular stretching movements on both sides of the spine. Their task is to stretch the muscles, bring nutrients to them, and reduce accumulated tension. In some massage chair models, there is also the synchronous kneading with tapping technique, which combines circular movements from kneading with the tapping of muscles near the spine.
In turn, rolling is used to deliver massage mainly by stroking, rubbing and kneading. The massaging arms move up and down along the spine with even pressure applied to the surrounding muscles. It is used to massage the connective tissue and superficial layers of muscles, and because it is excellent for warming up muscles, it is also used as a preparation for a deeper massage.
Wave massage is a massage technique similar to rolling. The massaging arms perform a wave-like motion along the spine. It is most often used before a stronger massage. It perfectly improves blood circulation in the muscles and prepares them for further treatments.
The massage chair offers the possibility to choose a single massage technique, and what’s more, to direct the action of the massaging arms exactly to the area that calls for exceptional massaging and relaxation. Depending on the model, it is possible to move them up or down, or to choose a spot massage, a partial massage, i.e. over a certain section, or a full body massage. In addition, by choosing a manual technique, you can adjust its speed according to your own preferences.
Adjusting the speed and intensity of massage in massage chairs
Massage speed and intensity are two, probably the most commonly confused functions found in massage chairs. Massage speed refers to the pace of movement of the massaging arms, while massage intensity refers to the force of the massagers’ pressure against your back.
At the moment, massage intensity can only be adjusted in massage chairs that as a minimum have a 3D massage function. Our product range allows you to use this feature in the Massaggio Stravagante 2 and Fujiiryoki JP2000 models. The force of the pressure can be adjusted manually, or using automatic programs. For a stronger sensation, opt for more intense programs, however, if the intensity is not to be excessive, you should decide on programs in which the movement of the massaging arms is subtle and relaxing.
In basic models, namely those that don’t have manual adjustment of the massage intensity of the massaging arms (unless it’s the intensity of the airbags themselves), there is another way to adjust the pressure of the massager to suit your needs. And yes, you can increase it by getting massaged in a reclined position – horizontal or Zero Gravity. By taking advantage of gravity, the body presses more closely to the chair, increasing the intensity of the massage. On the other hand, if you want a softer massage, you can choose to use the massage chair in a sitting position.
Automatic programs in massage chairs
There are specially prepared, ready-made automatic programs in each massage chair, which make it easier to enjoy the massage. With just the push of a button and without the need for additional settings, they provide you with relaxing massage. Automatic programs are pre-programmed massage cycles that combine all the functions available in a particular model in the right combination and intensity. They adjust the massage technique, the pressure of the airbags and add other available options, such as roller massage.
When enjoying massage in massage chairs, you will come across two types of automatic programs. The first are programs that relate to where the massaging arms operate, and can be programs that target the entire body, both upper and lower. The second type includes automatic programs focused on the end result. So, when massaging yourself in a massage chair, you can go for relaxation, anti-stress, sports or regeneration programs. The Massaggio brand models come with a few, 15-20 minute programs to choose from, but the Japanese Fujiiryoki JP2000 chair features as many as 23.
To summarize, an automatic program represents the totality of functions offered by a massage chair. It also includes the massage technique, which can also be used independently. If you have any more questions about these functions or about anything else really, feel free to contact us.
– Paweł, I’ve read on your website about automatic programs, manual programs. How do they differ?
– To illustrate it, I could compare it to driving a car on my own and being in an automatic car, which chooses the route and the speed. Driving on your own, you have to control and adjust everything. The same goes for manual and automatic programs in massage chairs. Manual programs are primarily massage techniques that are performed by the massaging arms located in the backrest. Massage techniques consist of a single stroke, a sequence, which means here we are dealing with kneading, shiatsu massage or tapping, different single massage techniques. In manual programs we can configure these massage techniques, but also add leg massage, heating, airbag massage and various peripheral functions. What is important, in manual programs and in massage techniques we can adjust the speed of movement independently, we can adjust the intensity of the pressure in some models. We can also determine the point at which the technique is to be initiated. If we feel any tension in the lumbar region or at the lumbosacral spine, we can direct the massager there, guide to the point and at that particular point where we feel discomfort, for example, turn on the kneading and massage.
– So in fact, the massage technique and manual program are almost the same?
– Yes, it’s almost the same. The massage technique is what we mainly do during the manual program, that is, the core of the massage delivered by the chair, plus peripheral functions. What we manually configure ourselves.
And the other side is the automatic program in which the entire massage cycle is already configured in advance. Here everything happens automatically. The chair selects the massage techniques itself, activates the peripheral features such as legs, heating and generates the entire cycle automatically.
What’s important here is that automatic programmes are divided into two groups. The first are programmes that are targeted at the place of action. We have programs that affect, for example, the upper parts, i.e. they can massage the jugular and chest sections. The pads will work more effectively on the upper parts of the spine. There are also automatic programs that are directed to lower parts, i.e. they will take care of the legs, the lumbar section. By choosing these programs we decide which part of the body is going to be massaged by the chair, whether it is the upper or lower part, or others specified in this automatic program.
The second type of automatic programs are those aimed at the effect we want to achieve. We are talking about relaxing programs, before sleep, to get rid of fatigue, sore muscles, meaning that the whole sequence of all the massage techniques and other functions is designed to achieve the effect of relaxation and loosening of tense muscles and it is predefined in this automatic program. To sum up, the main difference is that in the manual program you do everything yourself, so unless you set it right away, you still have to play with the remote and look for your favorite functions. And in the automatic program there is this convenience that it’s all predefined, you turn on the program, lie down, close your eyes and have 15-20 minutes of guaranteed comfortable massage session.