Who doesn’t love a massage? Many people lead lives that are very stressful to the body and have little time to recover and relax. Massages loosen the muscles, stimulate circulation and can be part of a therapy regimen for injuries or to prevent long term harm caused by the demands of physical jobs or poor working conditions. Wouldn’t it be great if this kind of revitalizing treatment wasn’t sandwiched between a trip to the clinic, a wait in the waiting room, and another trip back home from the clinic. What if you are injured or find it difficult to commute to the clinic at all? For these reasons, the house-call is a popular approach to massage therapy and it is made possible by the portable massage chair.
Portable massage chairs allow the therapist to get access to the body of the patient in such a way that reduces the amount of stress for the therapist and facilitate total muscle relaxation in the patient. It is good to remember that these ergonomic goals are for both parties: an inappropriately configured table or chair can cause strains or even injuries for the therapist and can hinder the effectiveness of the treatment for the patient. In some cases the patient may not even be able to use the equipment. For elderly, injured, arthritic, pregnant or overweight people, a table may not be an option. Massage tables also do not provide easy access to much of the body besides the patient’s sides and they require more room to set up and work around.
Massage chairs on the other hand are much easier for a wider range of patients to use. They are unique in that they allow the patient to remain clothed and the device doesn’t require them to get up onto a table which can be a problem for some. Patients ease into the chair face first, and leaning slightly forward relieves lower back muscles and gives the therapist access to much more of their body without reaching or straining. All of this makes massage chairs quicker to use, easier to get in and out of, and the requirement for privacy is greatly reduced meaning that the massage chair allows for therapy to happen just about anywhere.
For a therapist building a business, this is no small benefit. It means that people can watch you work and that you can set up your service in public places. The appearance of a massage chair is compelling as they do not even look like a chair but rather like a piece of exercise equipment and will likely attract curiosity in potential customers, especially if they can watch their friends receive a treatment with no hassle or indignity.
As your primary piece of equipment and a symbol of massage treatment in general, your chair should inspire confidence, project professionalism, and should never make customers nervous. When looking to purchase a chair you will want to ensure this positive reaction by keeping the following requirements in mind.
The Chair Must Be Sturdy
The chair should be sturdy and rated for even the heaviest patients you will be serving. Never allow the parts of your chair to become corroded, damaged or worn, and select a chair that is made from quality parts to prevent breakdown. Chairs are rated for their load capacity but you should try the chair to make sure that it doesn’t squeak or wobble. If you do not feel completely secure in the chair then your patients won’t either.
Must Be Easy To Set Up
You should be very familiar with the chair and be able to set it up and adjust it with minimal effort. This is essential if you want to appear competent and to avoid the customer grimacing for being billed for the time it takes you to set up your gear. Most portable chairs come with wheeled carrying cases and if you require accessories for special cases then all of these as well as any consumables like disposable liners should all fit in the case. Make sure that the entire kit fits comfortably in your vehicle and that you can easily handle it.
Must Be Adjustable
If you work with children or people with mobility problems, the chair should have adjustable legs and the head and arm supports should adjust to accommodate the largest to the smallest patient you will potentially work with. If you will be using the chair frequently then you will want to invest in the thickest padding. You should find out about the availability and cost of replacement pads and other parts.
The cost of a portable massage chair ranges from $150 to $550, but many are under $300. Common accessories include a cushion that can be added to the chest pad (sternum pad), kit bags and paper face cushion liners, cleaning materials and the all-important wheeled carrying cases. Of course the chair comes in a selection of colors and the manufacturers will tell you about the correct cleaning products and methods to ensure that you do not damage the covering.
There are also ultra-compact portable massage chairs called desktop chairs which are used on a desk and assume the presence of a reasonably comfortable office chair or ergonomic computer chair. These go for only $80 to $200 and have the added benefits of being smaller, easy to set up and allow you to target clients that are desk-ridden, bed-ridden or just don’t want to leave their tiny cubicles.
Although a massage professional will still require a high-quality massage table in their clinic or home-based practice, a portable massage chair is an essential piece of equipment to any practitioner, especially those just starting out who do not yet have a permanent location, those working with pregnant or mobility-limited patients, or those who have a more mobile, travelling business strategy or want to promote themselves at public events.