Sitting long hours in the office may make you feel productive, but at the end of the day, you get home feeling tired and achy. It makes you wonder if you should change your office chair – and maybe you should. However, the one thing you will look forward to, even more than the next episode of your favorite TV show, is a relaxation medium.
The temptation to visit a masseuse over the weekend may be strong but, why not save the money and get a massage chair for your home? Bring the massage to you! Massage chairs help to relax your muscles and relieve pressure points. And two of the best methods that masseuses use are Swedish and Shiatsu massaging techniques – which we can now find in the best massage chairs.
First, a look at the two massaging techniques
This is the most renowned and common massage therapy. It involves soft and long kneading strokes, which are light and rhythmic. It also features tapping strokes on the upper layers of our muscles. The Swedish massage is perfect for relaxation and re-energizing.
It has five main moves:
- The effleurage – the gliding, smooth stroke that relaxes soft tissue, it is the warming up move
- Petrissage – this is the rolling, squeezing and kneading strokes that follow the effleurage.
- Friction – this is the deep and circular massage movements which cause rubbing of layers of tissue against each other increasing blood flow, as well as breaking down scar tissue. It is also called cross-fiber friction, and it breaks up adhesions in tissue
- Tapotement– it involves short and alternating firm taps done with your hands cupped, the fingers or the edge of the hand. Think of the famous ‘karate chop’ technique.
- Vibration – applied in localized areas with stubborn muscle knots and tension.
A Swedish massage chair mimics the movements made by the hand.
Shiatsu is Japanese for finger pressure. This means that the therapist of the massage chair incorporated variable rhythmic pressure on specific parts of the body – acupressure points. These points are important for the flow of the body’s vital energy; Chi (Qi). The shiatsu massage relieves any blockages at these acupressure points.
Although a Swedish massage feels more elaborate, most people opt for the Shiatsu technique when asked to choose between the two. This is mostly because a Shiatsu massage focuses on ridding the body of the accumulated negative energy.
A Shiatsu massage chair also stimulates the mentioned acupoints for deep tissue relaxation and blood flow. The acupoints, also called the meridians, include the thumb, elbows, feet, knees, and hands. A shiatsu massage chair mimics the shiatsu technique that involves the use of rollers. An airbag and a power roller system target the vital pressure points, such as your lower back. Now, there are full body shiatsu massage chairs which hit all pressure points in the body.
3 Similarities Between Swedish and Shiatsu Massage Chairs
Note that both Swedish and Shiatsu massage chairs have:
- Location controls to indicate areas where massage will happen
- Heat controls to determine the temperature exposed
- Intensity controls for setting the desired strength of the massage.
The OS-4000 features 6 massaging techniques that combine with one another to provide a complete massaging experience. Like many of the massage chairs from our Osaki buyers-guide, the OS-4000 uses the Swedish technique as one of its main massaging methods. By mimicking the hand motions of a Swedish massage, Osaki was able to create the ideal circular motion which increases your blood flow. This feature is complemented with light squeezing that relaxes and works through tight areas.
Airbag massaging is also delivered through the arm, foot, calf, hip, and shoulder areas. We also found that lumbar and hip squeezing accurately mimicked Petrissage movements. This chair also features a wireless control, heat therapy, leg scanning, and many more features that improve your massage experience.
The Full Body chair from Real Relax is one of the best Shiatsu massage chairs simply based on price. It makes an appearance on our top Shiatsu chairs list and the primary reason is that of the value you get. It is difficult to find this many features in a massage chair for such an amazing price.
In regards to quality, the Shiatsu massage performed as expected but it was overshadowed by the zero-gravity recline and 50 airbags. The Shiatsu massage feature is almost secondary when you consider the hip massage and hip vibrator. Ultimately, it is hard to find a big enough downside that would stop you from buying this chair. For this price, we couldn’t believe the amount of features and full body relief being provided.
Final Thoughts – Which one is better?
In the end, there isn’t an obvious choice between a Swedish massage chair and Shiatsu massage chair. Many times we find that the two techniques overlap and modern brands are including both methods in their products. They both have their upsides, the Swedish massage is rhythmic and helps you feel completely refreshed and the Shiatsu massage targets acupressure points extremely well.
However, with the 2 chairs we analyzed, our pick would have to be the Shiatsu massage chair by Real Relax. And the main reason is because of the value you get. There are very few products that can deliver a quality product and great customer service without charging an arm and leg (read the verified reviews). If you have any questions regarding Swedish or Shiatsu massages leave us a message below and we will be happy to answer it.