Massage chairs not only ease aches and pains, but can help relaxation and lower stress. Using a massage chair can have a positive effect on both your physical and mental health.
There are five immediate health benefits of using a massage chair:
A reclining chair reduces pressure on the spine by supporting the back in a horizontal position. Major nerves run through the vertebrae to peripheral areas of the body including hands, feet, fingers and toes. Tension in the spine or misaligned vertebrae can compress nerves. As muscles that support the vertebrae relax, the spine lengthens and vertebrae resume their natural alignment. When impinged nerves are freed from pressure, nerve impulses travel easily through the spinal column to the extremities.
Massage chairs target specific muscles and use several kinds of strokes to relieve pain. As muscles relax, imbalances are corrected. Relaxed muscles allow the body to move with increased mobility. A natural tendency to alleviate pain is to compensate by using another set of muscles. This often places undue stress on adjacent muscles and ligaments. For example, a sore hip may make someone sit unevenly to reduce pressure on the painful side. This causes the muscles along the lower spine to bear weight unevenly. Neck or shoulder muscles may become strained from misalignment or from bearing weight usually held by the lower spine. After a session in a massage chair, many people feel that their posture and balance have improved.
Stress affects not only mental well-being; it has a physiological impact on health as well. Stress may cause sleeplessness, poor appetite or high blood pressure. Alleviating stress reduces levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, which helps to control blood pressure.
Increased circulation promotes healing. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to cells and organs and removes toxins. Constricted, tense muscles can constrict blood flow. By relaxing muscles, blood flows to the tissues and organs. The Mayo Clinic reports that some studies suggest that the immune system is strengthened by massage.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that help to reduce the perception of pain and lessen the effects of stress. Endorphins create a feeling of well-being and enhance immune response. Studies have shown that massage triggers secretion of endorphins.
The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommend massage as a way to alleviate chronic pain. Professional massage therapists use specific techniques to work with strained, sore muscles. A motorized massage chair performs many of the basic strokes that a professional therapist uses, and can be used any time.