Massage Chair Health Risks – What You Need to Know?

While massage chairs offer a convenient way to relax and unwind, they can also pose a risk to your health if used improperly or for too long.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common massage chair health risks, and provide tips for using them safely and responsibly.

Whether you’re a regular user or considering purchasing a massage chair for the first time, it’s important to be informed about the potential risks and how to avoid them.

A woman sitting on a massage chair with her eyes closed

Understanding Massage Chair Health Risks

Massage chairs are designed to simulate the motions and techniques used in professional massage therapy.

These chairs are equipped with a variety of features, including rollers, airbags, and vibration mechanisms, which work together to provide a relaxing massage experience.

Massage Chair Health risks - infographic

Some of the most common risks associated with massage chairs include:

1. Soft Tissue Injuries:

One of the most common injuries associated with massage chairs is soft tissue injuries, such as bruising, soreness, and muscle damage.

This can occur when the rollers and airbags apply too much pressure on your muscles and soft tissues, which can cause them to become inflamed or damaged.

To avoid these types of injuries, it’s important to use the massage chair in moderation.

2. Nerve Damage:

Another potential injury associated with massage chairs is nerve damage.

This can occur when the pressure and motion of the chair compress nerves in your body, leading to numbness, tingling, and other symptoms.

To avoid nerve damage, it’s important to use the massage chair properly and to avoid sitting in it for too long.

3. Joint Injuries:

People with joint problems or arthritis may be at risk for aggravating their condition if they use a massage chair for an extended period.

The pressure and motion of the chair can exacerbate joint pain and stiffness, potentially causing further damage.

If you have joint problems, it’s important to talk to your doctor before using a massage chair and to use it only in moderation and under supervision.

4. Blood Clots:

Prolonged sitting in a massage chair can interfere with your circulation and increase the risk of blood clots, which can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

To reduce the risk of blood clots, it’s important to use the massage chair in moderation and to take frequent breaks to stretch and move around.

If you have a history of blood clots or other circulatory problems, it’s especially important to talk to your doctor before using a massage chair.

Massage Chair Health Risks Associated with Sitting for Too Long

In addition to the potential risks associated with using a massage chair, there are also health risks associated with sitting for too long in general.

These risks are particularly relevant for people who use a massage chair frequently or for extended periods.

Some of the health risks associated with sitting for too long include:

1. Back Pain:

Sitting for too long can put pressure on your spine and lead to back pain. This is especially true if you’re sitting in a chair that doesn’t provide adequate support for your back.

2. Poor Posture:

Sitting for too long can also lead to poor posture, which can cause a range of health problems over time, including back and neck pain, headaches, and even breathing difficulties.

3. Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases:

Studies have shown that sitting for too long can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

To reduce the risks associated with sitting for too long, it’s important to take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around.

If you use a massage chair frequently, consider setting a timer to remind yourself to take breaks at regular intervals.

You can also incorporate other forms of physical activity into your day, such as walking or doing light exercises, to help reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting.

Massage chair Limitations for Those with Pre-Existing Health Conditions

While massage chairs can be a great way to relieve tension and promote relaxation, they may not be suitable for everyone.

In particular, people with certain pre-existing health conditions may be at greater risk of experiencing adverse effects from using a massage chair.

Some of the conditions that may limit the use of a massage chair include:

Health Condition Limitation
Osteoporosis Greater risk of fractures or injuries due to pressure exerted by the massage chair.
Herniated Discs Exacerbation of the condition and pain due to the pressure exerted by the massage chair.
Pregnancy Potential harm to the developing fetus; pregnant women should avoid using massage chairs, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.
Medical Devices Vibrations from the massage chair may interfere with the functioning of medical devices like pacemakers or insulin pumps.

Responsible Use of Massage Chairs: Tips for Avoiding Health Risks

To minimize the risk of experiencing health issues from using a massage chair, it’s important to use the chair responsibly and by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Here are some tips to help you use a massage chair safely:

1. Limit Your Usage: Avoid using the massage chair for extended periods. Experts recommend limiting use to no more than 15-20 minutes at a time, up to 3 times a week.

2. Start Slowly: If you’re new to using a massage chair, start with a lower intensity setting and gradually increase the intensity over time.

3. Follow the Instructions: Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. This includes adjusting the chair to fit your body properly and using the chair in the intended manner.

4. Listen to Your Body: If you experience any discomfort or pain while using the massage chair, stop using it immediately and consult with your healthcare provider.

5. Maintenance: Regularly maintain your massage chair, including cleaning the surface and replacing any worn or damaged parts.


In conclusion, massage chairs can provide many benefits, such as stress relief, improved circulation, and reduced muscle tension.

However, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with using a massage chair, such as muscle strain, blood clots, and aggravation of pre-existing conditions.

So, if you’re considering purchasing a massage chair, be sure to weigh the benefits and risks carefully and make an informed decision that’s best for your health and well-being.


1. Can massage chairs be bad for you?

Mostly no, but it depends! While massage chairs offer relaxation and potential pain relief, overuse or misuse can lead to trouble.

Think of it like a good workout – too much, and you get sore.

Start slow, listen to your body, and stick to the recommended times (usually around 15 minutes). If you have any health concerns, especially bone or blood vessel issues, consult your doctor before plugging in.

2. What are the main risks to watch out for?

  • Soreness: Just like a real massage, too much intensity or pressure can leave you feeling achy. Start gently and gradually increase intensity as needed.
  • Heat woes: Some chairs offer heat therapy, which is great for relaxation, but too much can lead to burns. Adjust the settings carefully and listen to your skin.
  • Underlying conditions: If you have any health issues, like osteoporosis, blood clots, or certain heart conditions, massage chairs might not be suitable. Talk to your doctor first.
MassageVirtue Doctor Image

About the author

I am Dr. Arjun Patel. Sharing my 20+ years of experience in Massage & Physical Therapy. I am an active member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). To learn more about me and our team, visit the about us page. Click here to contact me for questions, concerns, and consultation






Leave a Comment