Massage Chair or Massage Therapist: Which Is Better?

November 25, 2020 6 min read

Massage Chair or Massage Therapist: Which Is Better?

Do you love getting a massage but have trouble finding the time book an appointment with a massage therapist? Are you looking for the convenience of a massage at home, instead? A massage chair might be the best solution for you!

Having access to a massage in your own home is one of the biggest perks of purchasing a massage chair. There are other benefits you may not have considered though when you ask yourself which is better, a massage chair or a massage therapist? Let’s explore this question and you should walk away knowing whether the investment in a massage chair or massage therapist is more worthwhile.

Let’s be honest, when asking the question, “Which is better: Massage chair or massage therapist?” a massage chair cannot replicate a human massage therapist in some key ways. For example, a massage therapist can offer an individualized treatment based on communication in real time with their patient and make their own assessment of which muscles need work.

However, many top-of-the-line and mid-range massage chairs today also offer this type of individualized treatment. You can use a remote or even an app to control and choose from a wide variety of massage programs and even target specific muscle groups with a specific type of massage. And you never have to worry about miscommunication! A massage chair does exactly what you tell it.

So, what is the answer? Either a massage chair or massage therapist is a great option to relieve stress, stretch muscles, and aid in muscle recovery after a tough workout. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the massage chair or massage therapist so you can make the right choice for your particular lifestyle and your budget.

Massage Therapist Cons

Scheduling an in-person massage can be inconvenient.
Whether you are homebound, live in an area with bad weather, or are just busy like so many of us today, finding time to visit your massage therapist can be a hassle. If you are tired and stressed out enough that you need a massage, scheduling time to get one might just add more stress.

If you are uncomfortable with human touch or being undressed with a stranger, the tension you may feel during a massage can negate the benefits.
Similarly, a lot of people just don’t like the massage experience. Maybe you do not want to disrobe and have a stranger touch you or you do not want to talk to anyone after a long day of work. Massage therapy is am inherently social interaction and you can’t get around that.

Massage therapists can be inconsistent. 
Have you ever gotten a massage and left feeling like you didn’t get your money’s worth?  Maybe the massage therapist was having a bad day. Maybe you were their last client of the day, or they were tired or had personal problems that were impacting their work. Or maybe you just got a massage therapist that just wasn’t good. 

Everyone has bad days, but if you’re spending a lot of money for you want to receive the best experience your money can buy.

The costs add up over time if you want weekly massages.
Massages are not cheap, because you are paying for the time and training of a professional. Their expertise is worth the price you pay. If you’re looking for the concrete answer to “massage chair or massage therapist,” add up your massage costs over a year and compare them to the cost of a massage chair. You might see that the massage chair to be the better value.

Massage Therapist Pros

Massage therapists use a variety of techniques to work your muscles and give you the results you request.
Massage therapists typically work in different stages to first prepare the muscles, then loosen muscles and relieve stress, and then work even harder on specific problem areas to loosen knots.

Most massages contain some or all of these steps:

  • Effleurage - the therapy is used to warm up the muscles. Lotion or oil is often used.
  • Petrissage - this kneading relieves tension and muscle stress
  • Tapotement – further loosens stiff and tight muscles
  • Fricton – breaks up tissue adhesions for that extra loose and relaxed feeling after a massage
  • Vibration – used to break up particularly stubborn knots


Massage therapists should know which techniques to use on which muscles for the best results. As trained professionals, they should evaluate which areas need work to provide a truly customized massage. They should also listen to any of your feedback to give you the massage you want, whether it is a deep tissue kneading or a soft touch.

Massage Chair Cons

You may miss the benefit of human touch and human interaction.
This is really the only notable benefit of a massage therapist over a massage chair. Unfortunately, it is the only one that technology has been unable to replicate so far.

Massage chairs lack medical knowledge that a massage therapist could have.
Your massage chair does not have months of education in anatomy and physiology, but it does come with thousands of hours of programming behind it. The advanced technology in today’s massage chairs can adjust for your body type, and you have the control to decide which muscle groups need work, though.

Massage Chair Pros

Massage chairs offer a wide variety of techniques that almost human massage therapist.
Today’s mid-range to high-end massage chairs have as many as 6 to 20 options for massage, from shiatsu to Swedish to vibration. 

With a convenient handheld remote or an app, you can select a specific massage program to fit your needs, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your massage. You can also customize a massage based on the strength, speed, and target muscle groups. You can even change the settings mid-massage if you change your mind, all with the push of a button.

Massage chairs can adjust to your weight, height and body composition for an perfectly tailored, customized massage experience each time.
Today’s high-tech massage chairs can scan your body and then adjust the position and strength of the rollers to fit your exact height and weight. You are not reliant of the judgement of a human being and there are sophisticated algorithms designed to give you the best massage possible every time you sit in the chair.

Massage chairs offer features massage therapists don’t have.
From using heat to a Zero Gravity position that helps your spine to stretch and realign, the technology in today’s massage chairs goes way beyond what you’ll find with massage therapists office.

Massage chairs Z-Smart Massage Chair Plus can even bathe the room in colored LED light for relaxing color therapy. Our massage chairs also offer Bluetooth speakers so you can listen to your favorite playlist during your massage.

Massage chairs are more convenient and totally private.
Whether leaving the house and finding time to schedule a massage is merely inconvenient or physically impossible for you, a massage chair is there when you need it.

If you suffer from social anxiety, lack transportation, or don’t enjoy being around strangers, a massage chair offers you a customized, personalized massage in the comfort of your own home.

Massage chairs provide predictable results each time.
Unlike a massage therapist, your massage chair won’t ever have a bad day. If you don’t like the massage you received, simply choose a different program next time. Or even better, stop mid-massage to adjust the settings to your liking. The control is totally in your hands with your massage chair.

A massage chair costs less in the long run.
When some people shop for a massage chair for the first time, there might be a bit of sticker shock. Mid-range models can run from $3,000 to $6,000, while more premium models cost even more.

Before you decide “massage chair or massage therapist,” be sure to total up the cost of the massage, combined with transportation prices and the amount of time it takes.  You will see that a massage chair almost always the more cost-effective choice.

Today’s massage chair models provide advanced technology to customize the massage, a wide choice of programs, and easy to use controls.

Most offer the ability to work all your different muscle groups, from your neck down to your toes, even including arms, hands and legs in many cases, through a combination of rollers and airbags.

Now that you have explored the pros and cons of a massage chair or massage therapist, you can decide you like them both for different reasons. If you want to enjoy the benefits of a customized massage using advanced technology right in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you can start shopping here!

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R S


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