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Chair Massage Techniques

An overview of the various types of chair massage techniques...

Chair massage techniques are unique. Many massage therapists try to use traditional Swedish massage techniques when doing chair massage, but this kind of approach doesn’t translate well to seated massage.

Swedish massage techniques largely consist of gliding strokes and this method is doesn’t work well because chair massage is done over the clothing and no oils are used.

There are essentially six types of chair massage techniques:



    • Compression techniques: These are what you may think of as acupressure techniques and are the most commonly used chair massage techniques. The creator of the chair massage concept was trained in Amma massage, an ancient system of acupressure techniques and this style of massage is often used in chair massage technique training. These can be hard on the thumbs as they are typically used, especially since many trainers lack adequate knowledge in the application of these techniques. However, at Relax to the Max, students are taught to do these techniques safely with a great deal of emphasis on the biomechanics of the movements. As well, the thumbs are used very seldom used in the Relax to the Max chair massage techniques as other contact points are often used, including fists, the heels of the hands, knuckles, elbows and forearms.
    • Squeezing techniques: With these types of massage techniques, the practitioner squeezes the muscles between two contact points. These are often performed on large muscle groups and muscles that are not firmly attached to underlying structures. It is critical when doing these techniques to accurately identify the edges of the muscles and this is a big focus on training when learning to do these chair massage techniques at Relax to the Max.
    • Kneading techniques: These are circular movements. Like the other chair massage techniques we’ve already discussed, there are ways to do these techniques that put minimal stress on the body. Whereas most schools teach students how to do this with the thumbs, Relax to the Max utilizes unique contact points like the elbows and pisiforms when doing these techniques to save your thumbs and to reduce the amount of effort.
    • Percussion: These stimulating techniques are what many people refer to as karate chops. When applied properly these percussive chair massage techniques feel great. Customers often report that this is the favorite part of their seated massage experience.
    • Friction techniques: This is an adaptation of traditional Swedish style movements and are used occasionally in the chair.
    • Gliding techniques: Although not performed frequently, there are times when these can be used effectively. At Relax to the Max you learn when these kinds of chair massage techniques are indicated.


If you are going to learn chair massage techniques, be sure to get adequate training from specialists who know what they are doing. Relax to the Max is the only massage school in North America that specializes in chair massage techniques and is a first choice for chair massage training by professionals from around the world.


Explore the links on the left hand side of this page to find out more about the Relax to the Max chair massage training program.


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