Massage Chairs and Massage Tables: What’s the Difference?

chair massage vs table massage

When many of us imagine massage therapy, the first things that come to mind are its beneficial effects: total relaxation, comfort, and freedom from stress, to name but three. But the therapy itself takes many varied forms, employing diverse tools and techniques to get the message across. This article focusses on two of the most important tools in the massage armory: massage chairs and massage tables. Both of these objects give you a refreshing massage and alleviate assorted pains and health conditions. However, the burning question is, would either of these solutions be any better than the other for your situation? Read on, and find out.


Useful for

Specific areas and conditions

Full-body massage

Massage Types

Some specific types

Just about any type

Use of massage lotions



Space Required

Less space than a massage table

More space than a massage chair


Depends on the model

Depends on the model

Suitable location

Anywhere – even in public

Private – at a spa or at home


Between 10 and 20 minutes

At least an hour


Around 10 to 20 dollars

Around 100 dollars or more

Convenience for All


Not for the elderly


Massage chair offers a relaxing massage that focuses on relieving and easing up tensed muscles in certain areas of your body including shoulders, back, arms etc. Whereas a massage table is designed to give you a complete body massage that caters to pains and stress in various muscles of your body. A massage table proves much more relieving in terms of de-stressing your body after a tiring work routine.

Massage Type

Someone stretched out on a massage table can receive any kind of massage therapy. It could be acupressure, hot stone, shiatsu deep massage, whatever you like. But the massage chair restricts the type and style of massage you can give to the person in the chair. For one thing, the chair-bound client would be clothed, so some massage techniques would be out of the question. The seated subject usually gets a combination of kneading, stretching, tapping, and pressure massage. Chair massage focuses on the shoulders, back, arms, and neck. However, with the latest advances in automation, chairs are now capable of catering to lower body parts as well.

Massage Products

You can’t use massage products like oils and creams on massage-chair clients because they are usually fully clothed. On a massage table, however, the parts being massaged are exposed. So, the therapist can spread oils and creams all over your body with every soothing stroke. That’s not to say they don’t have their drawbacks though. The skin rarely absorbs massage oils and creams completely, thus leaving you a little sticky. Moreover, these products can be extremely irritating to people with sensitive skin.

Use of Space

In most cases, a massage chair occupies less space than a massage table. So, if space is an issue, a massage chair is probably your best bet.


Most massage chairs and massage tables are portable. The top brands offer products that you can easily disassemble or fold up for ease of transportation.


To make the most of a massage on a massage table, you need to get undressed. That being so, tabletop massage therapy needs to take place somewhere private—at home, for example, or in a spa or dedicated massage room. For the client’s complete comfort and privacy, the therapist needs to know that windows and doors can be properly secured. Conversely, you don’t need to undress for a chair massage, so massage chairs can easily be used in public places.


For a quick relaxing massage. a massage chair is an ideal option with massage duration around 10-20 minutes. A full-body massage on a massage table, on the other hand, is likely to last at least one hour. So, for a full-body massage, you need to take time out from your busy schedule or delay it until a weekend or day off. Whereas you can fit in a quick refreshing massage-chair session in the evening or at night after a long day’s hard work.


A chair massage can cost anywhere between $10 and $20. Whereas a full-body massage on a massage table would come to around $100, possibly more. The price of a full-body massage would also be affected by the duration, which would depend on the type of massage.


Massage chairs are convenient and safe for individuals of any age to use, even the elderly and people with certain injuries. However, some chairs come with a minimum height requirement. Anyone can climb into a massage chair and get a relaxing massage based on their personal preferences. Access to massage therapy on a massage table, however, is not necessarily easy for everybody. Some people will have difficulty climbing up onto the table, and others may have problems lying down.


Although massage chairs and massage tables are both tools for delivering massage therapy, they differ in several ways. Which of them would be better for you will depend on your circumstances—physical and financial. Some of you may not have the time for a spa massage. So, a quick session at home in a massage chair would probably be perfect for you. Others may want to treat themselves to an extended full-body massage, with oils and all the little extras. These tools are differently targeted, and personal taste will play a big part in your choice. It’s up to you!


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google