Chair massage is a type of massage performed in a specially designed chair.  This chair allows the client to kneel in the chair, lean onto a chest pad, and place head into a face cradle.  This chair opens the back and neck, relaxes the client, and positions the client for the massage therapist to massage the neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands.

Chair Massage Therapy Techniques

Chair massage therapists use a variety of techniques during a chair massage.  The techniques are selected based upon the client’s needs.  The techniques a chair massage therapist may use during your chair massage include:

  • Swedish Massage – This is the most commonly known massage technique.
  • Trigger Point Therapy – This technique helps release tight muscles.  The chair massage therapist applies pressure to the “knot” or tender point in a muscle and holds for several seconds.
  • Stretching – Chair massage therapists will incorporate gentle stretching in a chair massage to help release tension and balance the body.
  • Reflexology – While massaging the hands, the chair massage therapist may use reflexology.  The hands have several nerve endings linked to parts in the body.  For example, the chair massage therapist may use reflexology to release tension in the neck.
  • Myofascial Release – This technique focuses on the connective tissue throughout the body.  The chair massage therapist will use deep pressure with long strokes to help stretch and release the tension in the tissue.

How Is Chair Massage Performed?

After meeting the therapist, you will sit in the specially designed massage chair.  You will sit in the chair by kneeling onto the knee pads, leaning forward to place your chest against the pad, place your arms on the arm rest, and place your face into the face cradle.  The therapist will adjust the chair to ensure you are comfortable.

Chair massage typically starts with the larger muscles throughout the back.  The chair massage therapist will most likely start with basic Swedish massage.  If the therapist notices knots in the back, they will probably apply deeper pressure and/or use trigger point therapy to release the tension in that area.  Throughout the massage the chair massage therapist will check-in with you about the pressure used.  At any point in the massage, please tell the chair massage therapist if the pressure is too light or too deep.  You don’t have to wait for the therapist to ask.  The chair massage therapist wants you to be comfortable.

After the back, most therapists will move on to the neck.  The neck holds a tremendous amount of muscle tension and typically will relax once the back muscles are relaxed.  The therapist might also incorporate stretches to help stretch the chest and shoulders.  The therapist will also massage the arms and the hands.


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