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Airbag Massage Chairs: Here’s What You Should Know

A relaxed man with a beard is reclining in a modern, black massage chair in a cozy room with a fireplace in the background. The man appears calm and content, eyes closed, enjoying the comfort of the chair

If you’ve ever shopped for a massage chair, you’ve likely come across the term “airbag” in the product details. Typically associated with car safety systems, you might have thought, “Why do I need airbag protection in my massage chair?” In reality, the airbags in a massage chair are part of a comprehensive relaxation program that contributes to full-body tension relief.

What Is an Airbag Massage Chair?

Massage chairs utilize two mechanisms to deliver both full-body and targeted massage therapy: rollers and airbags. A front view of a black massage chair highlighted with blue areas to indicate airbag massage features. The labels show 'Shoulder Airbag Massage' at the top, 'Arm Airbag Massage' on the sides, 'Hips & Lumbar Squeeze' in the middle, 'Leg & Calf Massage' at the lower part, and 'Foot Massage' at the base. The chair brand 'KYOTA' is visible at the top.

Rollers provide fairly comprehensive back coverage, and can be programmed to mimic various massage techniques like kneading, tapping and shiatsu. However, there are some areas of your body that are difficult for rollers to reach — and that’s where airbags come in.

Airbags are intended to mimic Swedish massage, delivering variable pressure meant to stimulate blood flow throughout the user’s muscles and connective tissue. They inflate and deflate to provide gentle, variable compression, often targeting the shoulders, legs, feet, arms and neck.

Airbags are also used to perform waist twist, rocking and back stretch functions. They can operate independently or in unison, depending on the user’s preferred massage experience. Some airbags can be programmed to deliver the same targeted techniques as rollers, but they are generally more effective at providing gentle compression therapy to entire muscle groups at once.

Benefits of Airbag Massage

A luxurious beige and cream massage chair in a reclined position, designed with multiple padded sections for comfort.Airbags are most often situated to target the following areas of the body: 

  • Head and neck
  • Shoulders, including front, sides and back
  • Trapezius
  • Forearms and hands
  • Waist
  • Glutes
  • Thighs
  • Calves and feet

Airbag massage works similarly to compression socks, relieving the stiffness and discomfort associated with poor circulation. Compression therapy is widely used to stimulate blood flow and the movement of lymph fluid throughout the body, which helps in filtering toxins out of the circulatory system. People who receive compression massage therapy experience a reduction in swelling, faster recovery from injuries and increased warmth in cold limbs.

How Do Airbag Massage Chairs Work?

A demonstration of the airbags expanding in an airbag massage chair

Airbag compression therapy is a frequent feature of high-quality massage chairs, which can come equipped with anywhere from four to 100 airbags. Typically, the more airbags there are in a massage chair, the more customizable, effective and nuanced the chair’s massage capabilities. For example, a 4D massage chair like the Kyota Kansha M878 utilizes 32 airbags and 60 aircells to achieve complete coverage and variable intensity; by comparison, the Kofuko E330, which has 14 airbags and 24 aircells, delivers standard 2D intensity.

Each airbag is attached via hose to an air compressor that alternately fills it with air and deflates it, almost like breathing lungs. Airbags can work in tandem or separately; for example, airbags situated on either side of the user’s hips can inflate alternately to create a “rocking” motion, which loosens and relaxes the hip joints and lower back muscles.

Some airbags can be programmed to inflate and deflate in sequence throughout the entire massage chair, creating a wave-like motion that mimics a masseuse’s hands. This variable pressure pushes the rollers deeper into the user’s muscles, providing a more intense massage experience for ultimate tension relief.

Looking For Your Next Massage Chair?

At Massage Chair Store, all of our massage chairs come equipped with airbags that provide full-body muscle relief, often through customizable programs. To learn more about the features and benefits of airbag compression massage, reach out to us today — one of our specialists will be happy to chat.

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