Chair Massage is done in an ergonomically designed portable chair. Chair Massage focuses on the head, neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands., Massage therapists are able to offer on-site massage to many corporate environments because of the portability of the massage chair. Clients do not need to disrobe to receive a chair massage. Due to these two factors, chair massage is often performed in settings such as corporate offices, Employee Appreciation Events, Trade Show Events, Conferences and Trainings, Corporate Golf Outings and Corporate Wellness Events.
Massaging chairs most frequently resemble recliners. There are many different types and brands, including office-style chairs that operate from internal batteries. A less expensive option is a separate massaging pad that may be used with an existing chair. Some of the available brands include Fujiiryoki, Family Inada, iRest, Masse, Omega, One Life, Kyokei, Masseuse, Back Doctor, Human Touch, NEOX, Sanyo, Panasonic, SHSS, OSIM, OTO, VGO, OGAWA, Homedics, and Oregon Scientific.
Robotic massage chairs were first brought to market in 1962 by the Family Inada company. Today, Japan is the largest consumer of massage chairs with some surveys suggesting that over 20% of Japanese households actually own a massage chair. By comparison, massage chair penetration in the US market is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 1%. The current massage chair market is dominated at the top by a three dominant manufacturers: Fujiiryoki, Family Inada, and Panasonic. After the purchase of Sanyo by Panasonic, Panasonic announced plans to eliminate Sanyo as a brand for all current Sanyo consumer products.
The major US brand has been Human Touch, which fills the low-price to mid-market massage chair categories. Their most popular models are purported to be the sub-$1000 units of the line they call i-Joy. Human Touch grew rapidly in between 2003 and 2007 before their near-complete demise during the recession that followed 2007 - many industry insiders predicted that the company would fold. Their peak year was reportedly just over $127MM in sales. Their worst years in 2008 or 2009 were reportedly down by more than 50% from their peak.
Massaging chairs vary tremendously in price, style and intensity, from cheap "vibrate only" chairs to full intensity Shiatsu models for people who require as close to a real invigorating massage as possible.
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