Are There Any Side Effects of Massage Chairs?

What is it about massage chairs really? 

Their popularity? Their growing business in the world? 

Well, a massage chair unveils several health benefits; therefore, they’re all the rage nowadays.

Massage therapies via massage chair certainly help people with anxiety, depression, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases. It also enhances cardiac health as well as lowers blood pressure.

I purchased a massage chair for myself around six months ago. Why? Because it was a last resort I had.

I met an accident earlier than that and suffered a number of bone and muscle injuries. 

My physician recommended me to get a full-body massage as he believed it could make my recovery smooth.

To be honest, my massage chair has helped me a great deal in recovering from the arm fracture I had as well as muscle damage while improving my health in general.

Besides the benefits, massage chair therapies may bring along some undesired side effects.

massage chair side effects

They can be a result of inappropriate massage therapy application or certain medical conditions.

Still, they can be unpleasant, and in severe cases, life-threatening as well.

Are you scared of using a massage chair?

Wondering if it is worth spending the money?

Well, everything has a positive and negative side.

Though I would say that the side effects of a massage chair can be catered through proper care; still, it is safe to know them ahead of time.

With all the benefits that massage chairs come along with, it cannot be said that massage therapies via massage chairs are the solution to all your health problems.

Things like a wrong massage application or certain medical conditions may trigger severe side effects.

An Incorrect Massage Application

an incorrect massage application
Credit: ShutterStock

As a matter of fact, the body structure of every person is different.

Apart from that, everyone has different health issues to deal with; therefore, we all need customised massage therapies.

It is crucial to go with the right massage application, the one that suits your skin type and health in general.

Any massage application that doesn’t go well with your skin and body type can cause various side effects, including vein and blood vessels’ enlargement, abnormal sweating, skin irritation, and more.

Hence, it is essential to test your skin and body type before taking a massage therapy session. It can be done merely by applying pressure on the pressure points of the body.

What’s more?

Mentioned below are the few potential side effects of using a massage chair or merely choosing an incorrect massage application.

Bone Fractures

bone fractures

It is one of the most severe side effects that you may experience, even though it’s rare.

You’re more likely to experience a bone fracture if you’re suffering from any disease like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, or cancer.

In such diseases, your bones become exceptionally fragile. Thus, you can get a fracture in bone even with the slightest pressure from your massage chair.

Before you choose to opt for a massage chair therapy while having such conditions, it is wise to consult a physician first.

Body Inflammation

body inflammation

You must have heard that certain toxins and enzymes are released in your body after taking a massage chair session.

It is primarily the reason why experts recommend drinking lots of water after a massage session as it helps flush the toxins.

Contrarily, these accumulated toxins and enzymes can cause inflammation in the body.

In case of an inactive immune system, your body is more prone to catching infections.

Thus in order to avoid any infection, it is safe to consult a massage therapy expert beforehand.


bruises and hives

I’m a regular user of massage chairs, and I can tell you with experience that bruising is a common side effect.

It is essential to discuss your skin type with a massage chairs’ expert before purchasing a massage chair, especially if you have sensitive skin.

The same goes for people that take blood-thinning medication.

Other than that, take care of your existing muscle injuries, wounds, fractures, or similar problems.

Any injured area must not be massaged or else, you may get to face serious complications.

Low Blood Sugar Level

low blood sugar

Another serious aftermath of using a massage chair is a low level of blood sugar.

It is precisely why experts recommend people with diabetes not to take massage chair therapy. 

In case you have diabetes, please monitor the massage settings closely and get your blood sugar level checked regularly.



A research was performed by the National University of Health Sciences, Chicago, where they made a group of subjects take regular massage therapies via massage chairs for a few weeks.

As a result, they found that 1% of their experimental group subjects complained about having a headache right after their massage therapy sessions.

Nevertheless, none of them reported to have a headache for more than 12 hours.

Adding to it, they said that the pain was mild and went away on its own in a few hours, without taking any pain relief medication.

Blood Circulation

it improves blood circulation
Credit: ShutterStock

As per many studies, increased blood flow is beneficial for health, yet it isn’t favourable in some instances.

Hematologic diseases are quite common these days. Blood disorders like sickle cell disease, deep vein thrombosis, and blood clotting can become worse with massage chair therapies.

If you have a blood clotting disorder, massage therapies may aggravate the problem.

Body Aches

body aches

Truth be told, massage chair therapy helps to alleviate issues like backache, joint pain, and more. 

Yet, you cannot ignore the fact that body aches may sometimes happen as a result of improper massage chair settings.

Apart from that, if you have body aches because of any muscle injury, I would recommend you to check with a physician first before trying out a massage chair.

Aside from the existing issues, massage therapies via massage chairs, especially deep tissue and shiatsu massage, can sometimes irritate the muscles and nerves.

As a result of that, it may cause mild to moderate body aches.

Let me be clear here; it isn’t anything to worry much. The pain is usually bearable and abates in a few hours on its own.



Allergies are quite common nowadays. Name one person that isn’t allergic to anything around?

Everyone has to go through some allergic reaction at least once a year, whether it’s seasonal or due to any reason.

Leather massage chairs are all the rage these days, but if you’re allergic to leather, it may not be an ideal option for you.

I remember I used to have mild symptoms of flu every time I used my leather massage chair. 

Although I couldn’t figure it out earlier, I know that it was my leather massage chair causing an allergic reaction.

Due to that, I switched my massage chair with my parents’, I now have a fabric massage chair, and I am absolutely in love with it.

If you cannot switch or get rid of your massage chair, please ensure to cover your body well. It can help prevent an allergic reaction.



The similar study I quoted above also found that some of the subjects experienced fatigue after taking massage chair therapy.

Many of my friends also take regular massage chair sessions.

Fatigue is that one thing they often complain about.

However, they say fatigue doesn’t last for more than 24 hours.

Even then it is worrisome as it slows you down for merely an entire day.

A Few Points to Ponder

People with severe skin issues like ringworm, burns, blisters, should entirely avoid using a massage chair.

In the case of blood disorders, refrain using pressure massage chair settings.

Massage chairs are not meant for cancer patients as pressure when applied to tumours can be life-threatening.

Using a massage chair is discouraged in pregnancy.

High-pressure massage chair settings are not entirely safe for older adults due to fragile bones.

Overuse of a massage chair produces stress hormones in the body, which may cause anxiety and stress.

It can additionally trigger sciatica pain, let alone alleviate it.

Massage chair therapies can cause numbness if used for more than 15 minutes.

Massage chairs, in case of a deep vein thrombosis can cause pulmonary embolism, which is a life-threatening condition.

Regardless of all the side effects, a massage chair brings along; I’m still its biggest advocate.

With all these cons of using a massage chair, I cannot neglect the fact that my massage chair provides me with a massive number of benefits.

All these pointers can save you from getting into trouble later down the road. Give it a thought!

Leave a Comment