Massage Chair Glossary

Need help figuring out which massage chair features are right for you? Check out these definitions of common massage chair terms that will help you compare models and find the best fit for your lifestyle.


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3D Massage

In addition to the width and length, allows users to adjust the depth (intensity) of the massage chair rollers for a more personalized massage

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4D Massage

4D massage chairs combine a multidimensional massage with variable speed and intensity.

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Air Ionizer

A feature that gently blows fresh air from small vents in the headrest to facilitate healthy oxygen intake

Airbag System

Mimics Swedish massage by inflating and deflating in a variety of methods and speeds to press the muscles and connective tissues; airbag sections can typically work independently or in unison

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Back Rubbing Technique

Basic rubbing massage to soothe from the upper back through the lumbar and gluteus regions

Bed Position

Reclined position that imitates a bed and allows the user to sleep comfortably in the massage chair

Bluetooth Technology

Allows users to connect their Bluetooth-capable mobile device to the massage chair in order to stream their own music wirelessly

Body Scan Technology

Detects the position of your body in the chair and targets specific areas of your body, such as the shoulders or calves, in order to deliver an accurate massage

Compression Therapy

General massage technique consisting of rhythmic squeezing and pressure on muscles used to loosen the tissues

Deep Pressure Massage

Any type of massage therapy performed with more pressure; encourages the muscles to relax, relieves general aches and pains, and stimulates the circulatory system

Deep Tissue Massage

Specific massage technique that helps muscle or connective tissue that has been injured or otherwise compromised; used to break up scar tissue, release adhesions where muscle or tissue layers have stuck together, or separate chronically tense muscle fibers

Finger Knead Technique

Emulates a massage therapist’s hands by providing a precise and rapid deep tissue massage

Four-Wheel Massage Mechanism

Massage roller mechanism located on the track in the back rest that performs the primary massage functions

Infrared Heat Therapy

Heats the body directly, rather than warming just the air around the body like conventional heat does; “radiates” heat outward, distributing it more evenly than conventional heat sources that “transfer” heat

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Intersound / Synchronic

Massages in rhythm to any music you connect to your chair

Inversion Therapy

Places your body in line with the downward force of gravity; uses your own body weight as a natural form of traction to elongate the spine by increasing the space between the vertebrae, relieving the pressure on discs, ligaments, and nerve roots

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Kneading Technique

Involves alternating and intermittent compression of the tissue, either by grasping it or compressing it against underlying bony surfaces


Massage chair roller track that extends from the neck through the gluteus muscles and also conforms to the spine’s natural “S” shape

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Lumbar Stretch

Reclined position that effectively stretches and decompresses the lower back area to relieve pain and tension

Pulse Shiatsu Technique

Shiatsu massage during which the massage rollers extend in and out in a pulsating motion along the back

Rocking Motion

Massage chair rocks back and forth to relieve muscles of the pressures of gravity


Massage chair roller track that extends from the neck through the lumbar region and conforms to the spine’s natural “S” shape

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Shiatsu Massage

A form of Japanese bodywork based on the theoretical framework of traditional Chinese medicine; shiatsu means “finger pressure”, and techniques include massages with fingers, thumbs, feet and palms; assisted stretching; and joint manipulation and mobilization

Space Saving

Technology that enables the chair to move forward on its track or axis, allowing the user to place it only several inches from the wall (See “Zero Wall” for a more advanced setting)

Stroke Length

Refers to length and reach of the massage chair roller track

Swedish Massage

Most common type of massage that involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles; this is combined with movement of the joints; four common strokes are effleurage, petrissage, friction, and tapotement

Swing Technique

Airbag technique used by the seat, calf, and foot airbags in some massage chairs to sway the limbs and body side-to-side

Tapping Technique

A light percussion (or tapotement) movement that imitates fingers tapping on the back and shoulder muscles

Tru-Grip V Stretch

Full-body stretch in which the massage chair’s airbags grip your shoulders and legs as the chair reclines accordingly to provide a spinal stretch

Waist Twist / Seat Swivel

Function in which the massage chair seat airbags inflate in a pattern to help rotate and loosen the lumbar and gluteus regions

Yoga Function

Offers a complete stretch to relax the lumbar, upper leg, and pelvic areas; stimulates the stretching effect of a professional massage therapist

Zero Gravity

Massage chair position in which the legs are extended and elevated above the heart, allowing the spine to decompress and providing a sense of weightlessness

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Zero Wall

A more advanced space-saving technology that enables the chair to move forward on its track or axis, allowing the user to place it only one to two inches from the wall