Can You Actually Overuse a Massage Chair?

Picture of a young woman sitting on a massage chair

Massage chairs are a great tool for relaxation and are certainly meant to be used. But can you overuse a massage chair?

It is possible to overuse a massage chair. Overusing a massage chair can be bad for your body while also shortening the chair’s lifespan. When you overuse a massage chair, your muscles get overstimulated, which can trigger soreness, cramps, or spasms. Also, you can get bruises, inflammation, and even muscle damage and strain.

How Long Should You Sit In a Massage Chair?

When you first purchase your massage chair, the temptation is to use it all the time. It’s exciting to have a new chair. These are often expensive purchases, so you want to get your money’s worth from your new piece of equipment. Plus, they can feel so good and relaxing that it just makes sense to stay there. Sometimes, you can even fall asleep in your massage chair. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea.

So how long should you sit in a massage chair? And can I use the massage chair every day?

If you’re going to use your massage chair every day, then you want your sessions to be for ten to fifteen minutes. It’s wise to start off with a ten-minute session once a day and then as your body adjusts you can add a second session for another ten minutes. Eventually, these sessions can be from fifteen to twenty minutes long.

If you’re only going to sit in the chair once a day, you still never want to go over twenty minutes in one session. Starting with ten, working up to fifteen, and eventually trying twenty is a good plan.

What Happens When You Overuse a Massage Chair

When you overuse a massage chair, your muscles become overstimulated. While this can lead to sore muscles, it can also lead to muscle spasms and cramps. When you’re overusing the chair, you’re suddenly sending a lot more signals from the muscles to the nervous system. Your nervous system responds by increasing the number of signals it sends back to the muscle. Then, your muscles begin to spasm or cramp.

When you increase massage chair usage more gradually, you allow your nervous system to adapt. It recognizes that these signals are now normal, and doesn’t overreact. This saves you from the muscle spasms and cramps that could otherwise happen.

Other side effects of overusing a massage chair include bruised tissues, inflammation, and muscle damage, even muscle strain. This can make your body sore, stiff, and make it difficult for you to move around.

There is also the concern of agitating your existing injuries. Many people get massage chairs as a way to generally relax their bodies and relieve stress. Others get their chair for specific therapeutic use. If you have an existing injury, you should talk to your physical therapist or another physician about how often you should ideally use your chair.

Perform Self Checks For Overuse

As you increase your massage chair sessions in frequency or in length, make sure you are tracking how you feel. The effects of your massage aren’t limited to when you’re actively sitting in the chair. An hour after your massage, you may feel muscle cramps or soreness. This may also be true five hours later, or even the next day.

Your body is unique. You may have injuries, muscle soreness, posture issues, and other concerns that your massage chair will have an effect on.

To this end, if you want to get the most out of your massage chair, it may be wise to place a notebook next to the chair or start a blank document on your phone to record how you feel. This isn’t something you will likely need to do forever. Rather, this is an idea you can use for the first few weeks you’re actively using your massage chair and building the habit.

In the notebook or document on your phone, simply jot down the time you used the chair, how long you used it, how you felt when you sat down, and anything you noticed while you used it. Throughout the day, if you notice anything different when your body, make a note of what you felt and what time. Things to look for include muscle cramps, soreness, aches, pains, or a difference in your joints. You may also want to note down if you feel fatigued.

By tracking your own progress in the chair, you’ll be able to see how it’s impacting your health. You’ll be able to avoid massage chair overuse for your individual needs and learn the ideal timing for your own relaxation needs.

What Time of Day To Use My Massage Chair

You’re going to get conflicting advice about this. Experts swear by three different strategies. You may be told to use it first thing in the morning, at the end of a long day, or only when you feel like you need to do so.

If you know that you get sore muscles when you’re doing a specific activity, it could make sense to use the chair beforehand preventatively. However, this may make the activity worse on your muscles, since you’ve stimulated them and then gone into an activity that makes them sore.

A lot of people wake up sore, so using the chair in the morning to set your day off right could make sense.

Relaxing at the end of the day seems natural.

Which should you choose?

If you have specific medical concerns, you may want to consult with your doctor about this. Otherwise, this is where keeping a massage chair journal can be very helpful. You can test a new strategy for discovering the best time of day with your massage chair, write down the length of use and how you feel, and then review your results. Generally, three days of testing at a specific time will give you the best idea of how current usage is working for you.

The Benefits Of Your Massage Chair

Can you overuse a massage chair? Yes. But as long as you’re being mindful about your usage, there are still a lot of great benefits to using your massage chair in moderation.

Just like with manual massage, you can experience benefits like improvements in blood flow. This will improve your circulation, which makes your muscles feel better. Your flexibility may improve as your muscles release tension. With less tension in the muscles, many discover their posture improves over time. Wonderfully, you may emotionally feel better. Not just because your body feels less tense, but because massage can increase your endorphin levels. Higher endorphin levels mean less anxiety, less pain, and faster muscle recovery.

Use Your Massage Chair in Mindful Moderation

A massage chair was a wonderful investment. This equipment can keep your muscles in great shape and add a healthy dose of relaxation to your day. With only a ten-minute session, you can reap the benefits of your massage chair and go about the rest of your day.

While it may feel tempting to stay there and take a nap, it’s better to move off to another chair or your bed after. If the massage has you feeling a touch stiff, stretching your muscles for a few minutes can help ease that discomfort.

With some time and regular usage, you’ll discover what the best massage chair routine is for your body. Take good care and you’ll soon learn what that looks like for you.