Types Of Massage Chair (Recliners | Zero Gravity | Full Body | Ottoman)

Considering buying a massage chair but just don’t know where to start your hunt?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

The reality of the situation is that choosing a massage chair can be a very complicated process. After all, massage chairs aren’t cheap so it’s essential that you select the right massage chair from the outset.

One handy way to make choosing a massage chair rather easier is to consider the different types of massage chair available. In doing so you will quickly be able to cross off a large percentage of the massage chairs currently on offer, and instead focus your time on assessing just a handful of models.

In this post we’re going to look at some of the more popular types of massage chair to help speed up the selection process for you. By the time you’ve finished this article you’ll also be better armed with information about which chair might be most appropriate for your needs.

Before we begin, however, it is important to point out one warning: in many cases a specific massage chair can appear for a number of different categories. It could, for example, offer both a specific massage type *and* a specific recline angle. Just be aware as you read through the different types of massage chairs that the best chair for your needs is likely to be the one appearing in multiple categories.

Reclining Massage Chairs

Massage chairs can vary massively in price. At the bottom end of the market you could find a reasonable massage chair for a few hundred dollars. The top-end models however will set you back several thousand. The most expensive (yet impressive) models of all can cost $5,000 or more to purchase.

One factor that can affect these costs are the level and type of recline. The cheapest massage chairs, for example, may not recline at all – you will need to sit upright while enjoying your massage. Others will allow a small degree of recline, but this is often a manual process requiring you to pull a lever to recline the chair back.

Mid-range massage chairs and upwards tend to have two rather major differences. Firstly, the recline function is motorized, and controlled by a separate control panel. This can make relaxing into your reclining massage chair far more relaxing and luxurious-feeling. The other difference is the angle of recline; premium massage chairs will typically recline into an almost horizontal position, helping to releave pressure on the spine and so make for a more beneficial massage experience.

When considering massage chairs therefore, try paying attention to the level of recline each chair gives. In general, a larger angle of recline will lead to a more enjoyable massage experience for you.

Zero Gravity Massage Chairs

Zero gravity massage chairs take the recline feature to a whole new level. This feature – only seen in more expensive models – aims to mimic the seating position used by astronauts travelling into space (hence the name). This position has been developed specifically to support the body fully while relieving pressure on the back and other joints.

As a result, while you will pay for the effect, investing in a zero gravity massage chair can be worth every penny in terms of pain relief and massage enjoyment.

Full Body Massage Chairs

While cheaper massage chairs may only massage the back and shoulders, full body massage chairs aim to target every major muscle group of your body. Using leg rests and arm rests, full body massage chairs are capable of gently kneading away tension and pain in every part of the body; from the legs and arms, to your neck and lower back.

Rather like the zero gravity models, therefore, full body massage chairs tend to be more expensive, but can offer a far more effective and enjoyable massage.

Ottoman Massage Chairs

Low cost massage chairs tend to resemble comfy leather office chairs, albeit with a massaging function in the seat and back. Top-end models look far more “futuristic” and bulky, often incorporating leg rests and suchlike for a fully supportive massage experience.

In order to make more modestly-priced massage chairs more comfortable, a small number of models also come with a separate Ottoman (or leg rest). In the better models this itself offers gentle massage to yor legs. If you suffer from sore, swollen or throbbing legs at the end of the day, but would rather not fork out for a top-end model, finding one with an Ottoman or a built-in leg rest can be a reasonable compromise for getting the best possible massage for your money.

Heated Massage Chairs

It’s not just the physical action of gently kneading and massaging your muscles using rollers and airbags which can make for an effective and pain-relieving massage. Many massage chair users find that gentle warmth can also be beneficial for their joints and muscles and can help to improve the overall beneficial results of a massage chair.

Another useful feature then is to pay attention to which massage chairs provide gentle heat. This is most commonly provided in the lower back area (the most common area for back pain) though a handful of models like the Osaki OS-7200 alternatively provide a heated shoulder area to ease away more general discomfort.

Massage Chair Pads

Lastly, while this website focuses more on actual massage chairs themselves, there are a number of massage chair pads. These can be placed onto a firm chair in your home and provide a degree of massage pleasure.

Typically these massaging chair pads are considerably cheaper than a full-blown massage chair, though the effects are also much more meagre. Unless you are on an incredibly tight budget then investing in a proper massage chair is likely to provide you with the most beneficial massage experience.


As you can see there are a broad range of different types of massage chair. Hopefully by now you’ll have some ideas in mind as to the style and features that your ideal massage chair will provide. The trick now is to apply this knowledge in helping you narrow down the options available to you so that you can find the perfect massage chair for your needs.

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