If you want to relax and recharge your body in the comfort of your home, consider purchasing a massage chair. Massage chairs offer relief for tired, achy muscles— aiding in muscle recovery. There are many varieties and designs to target your back, neck, and legs. Plus, the best massage chairs allow you to choose the type of massage as well as the intensity, providing a spa experience right at home.
Massages are a great way to treat yourself and de-stress. In fact, a recent study shows even short massages are beneficial. Researchers from the University of Konstanz in Germany say a group of participants showed notable improvements in both psychological and physiological relaxation after just a 10-minute massage. This is the first study to ever conclude that the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) can be jump-started by such a small period of relaxation.
Two different 10-minute massages were administered to study participants. The first was a head and neck massage specifically designed to stimulate the PNS via pressure on the vagal nerve. The second was a more traditional neck and shoulders massage. A control group of participants who just relaxed while sitting down was included as well.
Across all three groups, all the participants enjoyed both psychological and physiological stress reduction after relaxing or getting a massage for 10 minutes. Every person reported feeling more relaxed and less stressed.
Keep in mind, massage chairs are an investment furniture piece, so plan your budget accordingly. If you’re ready to relax, StudyFinds put together a list of the top five brands from ten expert websites to find the best massage chairs. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best Massage Chairs, According to Experts
If you are looking for a deluxe zero-gravity massage chair, this one is a must-try. The New York Times calls the OS-Champ by Osaki ‘The Best Massage Chair’, adding it “reclines until you’re fully supine, and it envelops your body in pillowy, faux-leather padding. Internal mechanisms massage your neck, back, and thighs, and airbags on the front and sides of the chair apply pressure to your shoulders, arms, calves, and feet.”
This massage chair boasts lumbar heating and five auto massage programs. Forbes points out, “the OS-Champ features not one, but two different zero-gravity modes. You can choose the recline angle that better suits you.”
“With an L-track roller system and 18 airbags, this massage chair massages from head to toe. It also uses compression to relax the arms and feet. An extendable footrest allows users to cater the chair to their height,” notes Bob Vila. Just keep in mind this chair is bulky. It does come in a few different color variations, but expect it to be a standout furniture piece.
This massage chair gets ‘Best Overall’ accolades from Popular Science, who suggests “it’s particularly good at massaging and rolling calves and feet. The controls are intuitive. Switch between six auto programs, heating, reclining, and leg compression quickly using your voice or the large LCD remote controller. The zero-gravity tilt—which can recline up to 145 degrees—turns this chair into a cloud of comfort, and the chair can handle up to 400 pounds.”
The chair features an S-track design, with “two sets of rollers on each side, simulating a two-handed massage by a professional. Its intensity and heat features can be adjusted to your preferences, and it features a zero gravity recline for ultimate pain relief, offers three types of massage (shiatsu, kneading, and knocking),” according to Verywell Health.
“And if you’re looking for a fully immersive experience, the Favor-03 ADV Massage Chair features Bluetooth speakers that allow you to connect your device and enjoy your favorite tunes or audiobook. Although this chair requires assembly, the set-up process is not difficult,” adds Health. However, some reviewers did note the chair’s pressure may be too intense for some users.
Do you prefer a massage chair that looks like a recliner, rather than a seat on a spacecraft? Here’s a good choice for a family room or den. Bob Vila points out, it “offers a 3D back massage using orbital rollers. Users can also recline the seat and pop out the retractable calf massager for a more full-body massage.”
Medical News Today notes, “the chair also features heating in the lumbar area, a swivel base, and five auto-massage programs.” Plus, the company boasts the chair’s patented warm air technology for additional relief of muscle tension, and BodyMap PRO® so you can pinpoint where you want to feel better.
4. Osaki OS-4000 / OS-4000T / OS-4000LS Massage Chair
Our third place pick is a tie between these three equally impressive models from Osaki. Health crowns this S-track massage chair from Osaki ‘Best Overall’, noting “with complete body scan technology, the Osaki OS-4000 maps the curvature of your back as well as your calf and foot regions to self-adjust and ensure it hits the key areas of tension. Not only does that mean you’ll be getting a massage that’s right for you, but your family and friends can have an experience that meets their needs with the exact same chair.”
Real Simple spotlights the OS-4000T, adding it “will give your entire body some TLC, with an array of bonus features and customization available. It has an ergonomic, zero-gravity design that fits a variety of spine shapes and reclines to alleviate pressure off your back.” This S-track chair also boasts full body air massage, seat vibration, and heat therapy for your back.
The Osaki OS-4000LS is built with an L-track design. “Like other Osaki chairs, this also features adjustable shoulder airbag massages, as well as 24 airbags spread throughout the chair to provide compression and support for your back, arms, calves, and hamstrings,” according to USA Today.
Maybe you don’t have the room for a large massage chair. This massage cushion from Homedics is a solid solution for tight spaces. You can place it on the furniture you already own. “This compact and portable massager comes with a controller that keeps the massage in your hands, literally. You can adjust it to your needs by turning the heat on and off, adjusting width and height, and reversing the massage direction,” notes The Spruce.
This product “offers shiatsu massages (a Japanese style of massage that employs kneading, tapping and pressing) to relax muscles in your neck, shoulders and back. Additionally, it has three massage modes: kneading (for deep tissue), rolling (for a mellower massage) and spot massage (to treat problem areas),” points out Forbes.
An added bonus? It won’t bust your budget. However, if you are looking for a leg or foot massager, this isn’t the product for you. “It massages only the neck and back, must be strapped onto an existing chair to function, and lacks an adjustable reclining feature. But it’s your best bet if you want a massage chair that you can fold up and carry with you,” adds The New York Times.
You might also be interested in:
- The New York Times
- Bob Vila
- Popular Science
- Verywell Health
- Medical News Today
- USA Today
- Real Simple
- The Spruce
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.