Massage Chair or Massage Therapist: Which is better?

Massage Chair vs Massage Therapist

Do you love massages but have trouble finding the time to visit your massage therapist? Would you like the convenience of a massage in your own home, instead? A massage chair may be the solution.

Having access to a massage in your own home is definitely one of the benefits of purchasing a massage chair. But there are other benefits you may not have considered when you ask, Massage Chair or Massage Therapist?

After reading this article you should walk away knowing whether the investment in a massage chair or massage therapist is more worthwhile. Most importantly, you will know the differences between the two so you can make a more informed decision.

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Massage Chair or Massage Therapist: Which is better?

Let us be honest.

When considering the question, Which is better: Massage chair or massage therapist? a massage chair cannot replicate a human massage therapist in some important ways. For instance, human touch releases endorphins that help relieve stress, which is the same reason people enjoy cuddling with their partners.

In addition, massage therapists can offer an individualized massage treatment based on communication with their patient and their own assessment of which muscles need work.

However, most top-of-the-line and mid-range massage chairs today also offer an individualized treatment. You can use the remote control to choose from a wide variety of massage programs and even target specific muscle groups and the type of massage. And you do not have to worry about miscommunication! The massage chair does exactly what you tell it.

The answer? Either a massage chair or massage therapist is a terrific option to relieve stress, stretch muscles, and aid in muscle recovery after a tough workout.

Let us consider the pros and cons of the massage chair or massage therapist so you can make the right choice for your lifestyle and your budget.

Massage Therapist Cons

Massage Therapist

Going for a massage can be inconvenient

Whether you are homebound, live in an area prone to bad weather, or are just busy like so many of us today, making time to visit your massage therapist can be a hassle.

If you are tired and stressed out enough that you need a massage, finding time to get one might just add more stress. If you are uncomfortable with human touch or being naked in front of strangers, the tension you will feel during a massage could negate the benefits.

Similarly, many people just do not like the massage experience. Maybe you do not want to disrobe and have a stranger touch you. Maybe you do not want to talk to anyone after a long day of work. Massage therapy is a social interaction. There is no getting around that.

Massage therapists may be inconsistent

Did you ever go for a massage and come out feeling like you did not get your money worth? Maybe the massage therapist was tired. Maybe you were their last client of the day. Maybe they had personal problems that were reflected in their work. Or maybe you just got a massage therapist who was not very good.

Everyone can have a bad day. But if you are paying a lot of money for your massage, 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. You are paying for the time and training of a professional. Their expertise is worth a lot of money. If you are still wondering massage chair or massage therapist, add up your massage costs over a year. You may find the massage chair to be the better value.

Massage Therapist Pros

Human touch releases endorphins during massage therapy

As mentioned above, human touch releases endorphins that promote stress and pain relief. It bears repeating because it is probably the number one reason anyone would choose a massage therapist over a massage chair.

Massage therapists provide friendly interaction

Your massage therapist may provide a welcome human interaction. Friendly conversation and a smile go a long way toward stress relief, especially for people who do not have a strong support network at home.

The flip side is also true: If you deal with people all day, you may not want to have to feel obligated to make small talk with your massage therapist. So your massage chair may provide the silent therapy you need.

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

Most massages contain some or all of these steps:
  • Effleurage - the therapy begins to warm up the muscles. Lotion or oil is typically used.
  • Petrissage - this kneading technique relieves tension and muscle stress
  • Tapotement – further loosens tight muscles
  • Friction – breaks up tissue adhesions for that really loose feeling following a massage
  • Vibration – helps break up particularly stubborn knots

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

Massage Chair Cons

Massage Chair

Human Interaction

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

Medical Knowledge

Massage chairs lack medical knowledge that a massage therapist may offer. Your massage chair has not had months of education in anatomy and physiology. But it does have thousands of hours of programming going for it The advanced technology in current massage chairs can adjust for your height and weight. It is up to you to decide which muscle groups need work, though.

Massage Chair Pros

Massage chairs offer a wide variety of techniques to nearly replicate a human massage therapist. Newer mid-range to high-end massage chairs provide as many as 6 to 10 options for massage, from shiatsu to tapotement and vibration.

With a convenient handheld remote, you can choose a specific massage program to fit your needs, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your massage. Or you can customize a massage based on the strength, speed, and muscle groups. You can even change the settings on the fly 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 expertly tailored, customized massage experience every time. New high-tech massage chairs perform a scan of your body and then adjust the position and strength of the rollers to fit your exact height and weight.

You are not relying on the judgement of a human being. These are sophisticated algorithms designed to generate the best massage possible each time you sit in the chair.

Massage chairs offer features massage therapists cannot

From the application of heat to a Zero Gravity position that helps your spine to stretch and realign, the technology in newer massage chairs goes far beyond what you will find with a massage therapist.

Massage chairs like the Osaki OS-Pro Maxim can even bathe the room in blue LED light for relaxing color therapy. And most massage chairs today have Bluetooth speakers so you can listen to your favorite playlist during your massage or even apply heat therapy.


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

If you suffer from social anxiety, lack transportation, or just do not feel like being around other people, a massage chair offers you a customized, personalized massage in the comfort of your own home.

Massage chairs provide predictable results every time

Unlike a massage therapist, your massage chair will never have a bad day. If you do not like the massage you received from your chair, it was all in the program. Choose a different program next time. Or stop mid-massage to adjust the settings to your liking. It is all 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, they may experience sticker shock. Mid-range models can run from $3,000 to $6,000, while more advanced models cost even more.

Before you decide massage chair or massage therapist, add up the price of a massage, combined with transportation costs and the amount of time it takes. You will see that a massage chair is actually the more cost-effective choice.

Current massage chair models offer advanced technology to customize the massage, a wide choice of massage programs, and easy to use controls.

Most offer the ability to work all muscle groups, from your neck down to your toes, even including your arms and legs in many cases, through a combination of rollers and airbags. There are many benefits to owning a massage chair.

Massage Chair or Massage Therapist?

Now that you know the differences in a massage chair or massage therapist, you may decide you like them both for different reasons. Many people do. If you are ready to enjoy the benefits of a customized massage through advanced technology right in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you can start by reading out Massage Chair Buying Guide.

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