Are Massage Chairs Good for Back Pain or Harmful?

Are massage chairs good for back pain for everyone or just certain back issues? Are they harmful and are they worth the money?

If you suffer from painful muscles and joints a full body massage chair may be a great solution for you if you have the money to buy one.

Short answer to Are Massage Chairs Good for Back pain or Harmful?: Yes they can be good but there are hundreds of styles of massage chair and budgets from under $100 – $$$$$!

Long answer: Read on for more information on the benefits of a full body massage chair and what to look for if you want to buy one.

There are alternatives such as a massage cushion or a handheld massager but nothing beats the luxury of a full body massage chair. They can be large pieces of furniture so there are a few things to consider before you take the plunge and buy one for your home.

Some of my other articles on massage chairs, massage cushions and handheld massagers –

If you are interested in buying a full body massage chair but don’t have thousands to spend there are some models of chair well within most budgets. Here is a recent article on Best Massage Chair 2020

If you don’t want to jump in and buy a full body massage chair you could try a massage cushion at a fraction of the price. Here is a recent article on Massage Cushion Benefits for Back, Sciatica and Pregnancy

If you would prefer a handheld massager here is a recent article – Can You Use the Hyperice Hypervolt for Back Pain Relief and Recovery?

Do massage chairs actually work?

Yes they do work but there are many different types of chair available. So doing some research and knowing why you want a chair is the first thing to think about.

If you want a massage chair to reduce your back pain you will need to know where and why you have pain.

Are there any side effects from using a massage chair?

Although massage chairs are very comfortable to sit in without switching on the massage you shouldn’t have a massage for hours in the chair. There are usually different levels of intensity to choose from as some of the set features can be quite powerful.

Some people report bruising after using a massage chair but this is probably because they chose the wrong intensity or had it switched on for far too long.

Are back massage chairs bad for you?

massage chairs good for back pain

They can be if you use them for too long. If you have a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT’s) you shouldn’t use a chair that massages the lower leg and feet. This is because there may be a risk of dislodging a clot which can cause serious health issues.

Can you use a massage chair too much?

Yes you can.

You shouldn’t spend hours sitting having a massage as you may find you come out in bruises the next day! Many chairs have a 15 minute cut off so if you fall asleep during your massage you wont be pummelled to death for hours.

Disadvantages of massage chairs

As good as massage chairs are, there are some draw backs to buying one, owning one and finding enough room in your house to use it effectively.

  • They can be too powerful
  • They are usually quite large pieces of furniture
  • They are relatively expensive
  • You don’t have an expert on hand for advice
  • Can be expensive to fix

You need to think how a full body massage chair will fit into your home and power points available. You also need to be aware of any underlying health issues which may make a deep tissue body massage dangerous. If you are in doubt get advice from your doctor.

Dangers of massage chairs

If you sit in them for too long, if you have an underlying health problem. If you suffer from blood clots in the lower leg or thigh (DVT) you shouldn’t use a massage chair as the leg and foot features could dislodge a blood clot which can be life threatening.

Are massage chairs good for back pain if you have never used one before?

Yes they are good for generalised back pain. You should choose a low intensity massage to start off with then move through the programmes.

Once you are familiar with the chair and the programmes you can mix and match the type of massage that best suits you.

There is no reason you shouldn’t find a massage chair useful to reduce your back pain, as long as you know why you have the back pain in the first place. Always consult your doctor before you use a massage chair or massage gun.

Do massage chairs help circulation?

Yes the actions of the rollers and sometimes added heat will promote movement in the muscle groups. This can increase range of movement, aid recovery and help you relax.

Types of massage chair

  • 4D Roller Tech (deeper, more penetrating massage)
  • Full Body Massage Chairs
  • Zero-Gravity massage chair
  • Air Massage Chairs
  • Ottoman Massage Chairs
  • Professional Massage Chairs

Things to think about before you buy a massage chair

Can massage chairs be harmful?

Yes if used for too long. They can also be harmful if you have certain underlying health conditions such as a history of blood clots. Speak to your doctor if you are uncertain as to the reason for your back pain before you sit in a massage chair.

Can I use massage chair everyday?

Yes you can but it is advised you should only use a massage chair for 15 minutes at a time. There is usually a safety cut-off so the massage will not continue past the time of the chosen program.


  • The effectiveness of massage therapy for the treatment of nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review of systematic reviews (source)
  • Comparison of Deep Tissue Massage and Therapeutic Massage for Lower Back Pain (source)
  • Massage for low‐back pain (source)
  • The effect of chair massage on muscular discomfort in cardiac sonographers: a pilot study (source)
  • The Effectiveness of Massage Therapy Intervention on Reducing Anxiety in the Workplace (source)
  • Local Back Massage with an Automated Massage Chair: General Muscle and Psychophysiologic Relaxing Properties (source)