Scanning function in massage chairs


If you read the descriptions of various massage chair models, you’ll notice that some of them feature the scanning technology. When the chair is activated, and just before the massage starts, the massaging arms automatically scan the line of the spine and memorise its shape. In the video below, Paweł talks about what exactly scanning involves and explains how it can vary from chair to chair.

How does the massage chair scan the body? 

Whenever a massage programme is started, a special sensor automatically scans the spine. However, the accuracy of the scan depends on the sophistication of the technology used in the massage chair. In more advanced models, the scanning system follows the line of the spine and memorises its shape. This allows the massage mechanism to adapt to the natural shape of the spine – it runs closer to the spine at the lumbar region and moves away from it at the chest. In basic models, on the other hand, scanning is most often limited to detecting the user’s height. And this, in turn, means that the arms don’t massage the head and work only along the spinal section, stopping at the neck. It’s also important to highlight that it’s crucial to sit and fit properly in the massage chair. Any posture correction or holding the head up can result in the spine not being scanned properly, and consequently a less accurate massage.  

Innovative scanning using artificial intelligence

At this point, it’s worth drawing attention to the most advanced scanning solution available on the massage chair market. Used in the Japanese Fujiiryoki JP2000 model, scanning is combined with artificial intelligence to mimic hand movements even better and provide a perfectly tailored massage. The algorithm, thoroughly developed by Fujiiryoki’s engineers, scans the line of the spine while collecting information about current muscle tension. This allows the massage chair to detect and recognise the degree of muscle stiffness and then adjust the pressure accordingly. Then, using artificial intelligence, the chair adjusts the intensity of the massage in real time. We have already written more about artificial intelligence in the article Artificial intelligence algorithm (5D AI) in the massage chair

Spinal defects and the effects of scanning

Unfortunately, even the most sophisticated scanning functionality hasn’t been able (as of yet) to distinguish between spinal defects or degenerative changes. As we have previously mentioned in one of our articles, in case of any kind of spinal disorder, it’s advisable to opt for a session with a specialist. Only a human being is able to assess the condition of the spine and recommend a suitable therapeutic massage. Therefore, it’s always advisable to consult a doctor or therapist before massage if you have any doubts regarding the use of a massage chair.

As you see, scanning is one of the most important features of high-end massage chairs. It makes the massage more adapted to our body and thus more effective. If you have any questions after reading, feel free to contact us.


Paul, can a massage chair scan your body?

Massage chairs can scan your back, but primarily the shape of your spine, not the whole body.

Superior models have a scanning system, which is designed to follow the S shape of the spine. The results of the scan moves the mechanism closer to the spine in the lumbar region and at chest level it moves the opposite way. Then it will give a consistent pressure along the whole length of the spine.

So is it like an X-ray machine?

It works in a different way and it’s safer. Accuracy depends on how advanced the model is. In basic models, the scanning system is limited to recognising the height of the user. It is important that the head is not massaged and so the mechanism stops at neck level.

Can it recognise a scoliosis of the spine?

Unfortunately not, any degenerative changes will not be accurately identified, and as I have previously mentioned, this is a part of therapeutic massage and is not really appropriate for a massage chair.

During scanning, an advanced massage chair can recognise back muscle stiffness and adjust its strength accordingly. This is done by specific motors within the massage mechanism, which measure the tightness of a muscle and determine how much energy is needed to work through it.

Ok., but will it know when a particular tension is released?

You will feel it and then you can change the technique or programme. During a single massage session, high-end massage chairs use an AI algorithm which recognise the best possible adjustment of the massage intensity, in real time, based on the actual muscle tension detected by the chair.

Currently, artificial intelligence used in massage chairs scanning systems is a premium function and its use will definitely increase in next generation models.

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Published: 2023.03.02

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