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.
What kind of techniques does the chair use for a back massage?
They are similar to those made by a human hand. Let me explain.
I have explained how a massage chair works and that there are specific mechanisms in the back-rest which are guided to work on your back. It has massage arms which simulate the movements of human hands providing massage techniques such as: kneading, tapping, knocking and rolling along your spine. There is also the shiatsu technique, which I will talk about later. These are just a few of the core techniques and every massage chair should have them.
Can I adjust this massage technique to my individual needs?
Yes, each massage chair should allow you to choose a range of working massage techniques. The three main ones, are as follows:
The whole back – during the massage, the mechanism will move from the bottom to the top of your spine.
Partial massage – when you want to work on a specific part of your back. For example, you can set it to lumbar and it will just focus on this area.
Point massage – For this, the mechanisms do not move up and down, but the massage movements relieve tension accurately in one place.
What about other adjustments?
At this point it is important to explain that you can adjust the width of the massaging hands, allowing them to work close to the line of the spine or further apart. Speed can also be regulated to imitate faster and slower movement and this is often mistaken for strength. This adjustment is only available in models which have a 3D mechanism. The pressure is regulated by the massaging hand moving closer to the body, or hiding deeper in the back-rest.
Is it possible to regulate the strength of a back massage in models without 3D?
There is no specific control to do this, but you can change the position of the massage chair.
The flatter you lie on the chair, gravity pushes your body closer to the mechanism and therefore the massage will be stronger. In a sitting position, the massage will feel softer and is best for beginners, as it allows muscles to become accustomed to the pressure.
So with the single massage technique, you can choose any setting you like. However, with the auto-programme, settings are already done for you.
Does each massage chair have an auto-programme?
Yes, every massage chair has some automatic programmes. There are several predefined programmes available, you do not need to choose a technique, speed or duration it is already done for you. Depending on the programme chosen, a massage can take between 7, 15 or even 30 minutes. You just press the button and the massage chair will take control.
How would I know which auto-programme to choose?
One way is to choose which part of the body you want massaged: the whole, upper or lower body. Another way is to choose what you want to achieve.
For example if you simply want to chill-out press the Relax button; if you need a quick session to refresh yourself during the day use the Quick Restore programme; If you choose the Stretch programme you can relieve stiff muscles.
These are just a few examples of many programmes, whichever one you choose you will feel less tense and more relaxed.