some massage chairs with remotes

Massage Chair Dangers & Side Effects – Can They Cause Injury?


Due to their numerous health benefits, massage chairs have become increasingly popular, more so for people looking to improve their overall physical health. Naturally, you wanna know if indulging in regular massage sessions may have any possible side effects. Let’s see what the data says. (1)

Even the most harmless of items can cause harm if used incorrectly or excessively. Just like other types of massage therapies, you will need to exercise caution when using the massage chair. Although massage chairs are known to have little to no disadvantages, if you suffer from ailments, seeking your doctor's advice before using a massage chair is recommended.

Dangers of Massage Chairs

Below are some of the possible side effects associated with the use of massage chairs and how you can avoid them.

Wrong use can lead to injury

While a massage chair is meant to relax your muscles and ease body pain, wrong usage of the chair can lead to injuries, or even worse, aggravation of an existing injury or medical condition. Before the first use, spend some time to read through the user’s manual.

a woman pressing the button on remote control

Unlike normal chairs, a massage chair is uniquely designed to offer back support while soothing your muscles. This implies that incorrect use can lead to injuries, especially back injuries. Put simply, a massage chair should not be used as a substitute for gaming or office chairs; instead, you should use your chair when in need of a massage or when relaxing.

Pain

Due to the different features provided by competing brands, there are no universal settings when it comes to massage chairs. Some settings might be nice and relaxing for an experienced user while being hard for others, especially for first time users. When it comes to massage chairs, it is not unusual to experience residual pain after a thorough session. The pain usually arises due to the pressure used for deep tissue massage.

an illustration how the massage chair reduces your pain

Worry not, though, as the pain experienced is usually mild and tends to last for short durations. To avoid dealing with pain after a massage, don’t just jump in a massage chair after someone else. Always check the settings to ensure that you select the right pressure and vibrations to avoid hurting your muscles.

Circulatory Issues

Another possible side effect of massage chairs can involve blood circulation. As you might be aware, massage therapy often stimulates the lymph nodes in a bid to ease muscle tension. Therefore, if you have a history of circulatory issues, blood clots or vein thrombosis, it is recommended to seek your doctor's advice before using a massage chair. But, if you have no history of blood circulation issues, then you can go ahead and use the massage chairs without any worries.

Bruises and muscle injury

In the short list of massage chair side effects, the risk of muscle injury is the most common. To put it in perspective, your massage chair cannot cause direct harm to your skin or muscles.

However, if incorrect settings are used, then chances are you can get bruises or muscle injury, especially if you have soft skin and weak muscles.

If your skin and muscles are relatively weak, it is advisable to start with short sessions and use low pressure settings to prevent harming yourself. You can work your way up to longer sessions as you get used to the massage chair.

Only the right fitting chairs are recommended 

Among the dangers of massage chairs is using one that cannot accommodate your weight range. According to a research conducted by the American Psychological Association, to avoid sustaining back and muscle injuries, it is important to use a chair that can support your weight.

people relaxing on chairs

Although it might be tempting to ignore the weight specifications, doing so only increases your chances of sustaining injuries. Remember, for a massage chair to be effective, it must be comfortable enough to allow you to lie on it for hours.

Can be a health hazard for people with low blood pressure

Effective massage therapies reduce your overall blood pressure due to the calming effect they produce. Therefore, before using a massage chair to calm your muscles and relax your joints, consult your physician if you have a history of low blood pressure.

On the other hand, if you have never had any issue with your blood pressure, then a massage chair will not expose you to any risk whatsoever.

Overstimulation can cause fatigue

Similar to other massage therapies, overindulging in your massage chair can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue after the session. When using a massage chair, it is easy to get carried away and extend your session every now and then. Make sure your body can handle shorter sessions well before you do this.

an old lady enjoying on the white massage chair

Alternatively, if you want to have a prolonged session, we recommend using low pressure settings to prevent the overstimulation of your muscles. In case it still happens, don’t worry too much, as the fatigue or muscle soreness usually abate within 12 hours.

The risk of bone fracture

Although extremely rare, there is a slight risk of fracturing your bones if you put high pressure settings on your massage chair. However, similar to the other side effects, the risk of bone fracture does not apply to everyone. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer and other diseases which weaken the bones are at increased risk of sustaining injuries and should consult with a medical professional beforehand.

Irritations on the contact area

If you use the massage chair frequently for long hours, do not be surprised to develop slight irritations, especially on your area of contact with the chair. These irritations are normally mild and will go away after you give some break to the massage chair usage.

A massage chair will make you slow

A massage chair relaxes all your body muscles; thus, even after completing your session, it is normal for your body to remain slow or ‘lazy’ as your muscles continue to relax. Experts recommend that upon the completion of any massage session, you should avoid rushing your body back to aggressive physical activities.


Can a massage chair cause injury?

Well, as explained in the above section, a correctly used massage chair is extremely unlikely to cause any form of direct injury.

Before using a massage chair, we recommend checking the weight specifications to ensure that you select the right fit. Remember, you increase the chances of hurting your back whenever you use a massage chair that cannot accommodate your weight.

As is evident, the risks associated with using massage chairs cannot outweigh the benefits. Luckily, all the above side effects can be avoided if you take the necessary precautions and keep a close attention to detail. If you have a history of medical complications, we recommend talking to your doctor before purchasing or using a massage chair.

After reading all this, you might wanna read our article on the benefits of massage chairs so you can make an informed decision if investing in a massage chair is for you.

Grant Moore
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