The therapeutic chairs is used to provide the client with a full body massage when seated on it. Modern day massage chairs are controlled by a number of settings, minimizing human input required to operate the machine efficiently. However, little is said about the invention of the massage chair since there is varying information about the early therapeutic chairs.
Backstory of the Earliest Massage Chair
Before the 20th century, the Egyptian and Japanese empires used massages to cure different ailments and fight off demons from their bodies. However, in the early 20th the Japanese came up with Shiatsu, a form of therapy bodywork that seeks to balance body energy and bring it to the homeopathic state.
The first electronic massage chair can be traced back to 1954, brought to the market by the Family Fujiryoki company. The chair’s designer was Nobou Fujimoto, who created numerous prototypes before successfully launching the first wooden massage chair and later on commercialized it. It had two ball kneading system and worked extensively on the back.
In 1965, the Fujiryoki company went ahead to develop a four ball knead system that was incorporated in its automatic massage chair. The height of the chair could be adjusted and the intensity of the massage could be adjusted just by the press of a switch. This was quite an innovative idea at that time.
In 1968, a Californian massage therapist and enthusiast, David Palmer, designed a “chair in a box” massage chair. It was to be used in the administering a massage effectively and safely but it required the therapist to hold the client so as not to fall off. He used the chair to popularize and promote the benefits of massage in the US.
In 1975, the Fujiryoki firm designed a clutch system incorporated in the therapeutic chair which was able to provide the much kneading and pounding on the back during massages. 1987 saw the creation of an 8 ball kneading system and spurred rollers which were all remote controlled. An air massage chair was invented in 1995 and had special modifications to massage the thighs and legs unlike the conventional massage chairs.
Modern Electric Massage Chairs
The 21st century has seen constant improvements on the making and functioning of these chairs. Most have a number of features for example;
- 3D Point Navigation System that senses the client’s body shape and pick the appropriate massage program for that body.
- Air Massage Functions – These functions help in targeting vital body parts such as the legs and thighs hence help in the cross and leg stretch therapy.
- Improved Knead Ball Systems – The knead balls are meant to offer the subtleness and strength adjustment just like the human hand, hence offering a comfortable massage to clients.
Today, Japan, the largest market for therapeutic chairs passes its early traditions of massage to the existing and coming generations by using these chairs. Most households in Japan own this chair. The massage chair can be used for both domestic and commercial purposes hence providing users with an income, increased blood circulation and relieving of joint, muscle and tissue pains.
Also read: Does Health Insurance Cover Massage Chair?