It’s a question that comes up a lot. In a head to head comparison, massage chair vs real massage, which one’s better? Which one delivers the best result?

Simple question, but it has a more complex answer than you might expect.

Massage Chair vs Real Massage Pros & Cons

Human Touch

First, let’s talk about the huge advantages of getting a massage from a human therapist.

The big thing here is training, the ability to make on the fly judgments and decisions, and a deep understanding of the musculoskeletal system of the human body.

No amount of 3D Body Scanning technology or clever coding can replicate that precisely. A massage, rendered by a talented therapist can leave you feeling both boneless and weightless.

Hand Massage

Think about the most popular features of massage chairs, and the words they use when marketing their products:

  • “Closely mimics the feeling of human hands”
  • “Zero-gravity seating that leaves you feeling weightless”

These are common refrains in the industry for a reason. That reason is simple.

The manufacturers of massage chairs know who and what their competition is, and the reality is that you could spend ten thousand bucks on a top-end massage chair, and it still wouldn’t precisely replicate the feeling of human hands or the skills a well-trained therapist brings to the massage table.

If what you’re looking for is the best massage you can get, then you want a massage from a human being. There are a number of chairs on the market today that deliver an excellent massage, and offer tons of great features with real therapeutic benefits. They still can’t compete with a human being, though.


Human Touch Novitas Brown Color Side View

Having said all that, now let’s flip the script and look at the “massage chair vs real massage” question from the other side.

Despite the fact that machines can’t compete with human hands, they do have certain advantages, and those advantages are (or can be) compelling. Most of these center around issues of convenience.

You don’t have to make an appointment to use your chair. You don’t have to travel anywhere or rearrange your day. There are no office hours to contend with. If you wake up at 3 am and decide you want a massage, you won’t get any complaints from the chair. It’s ready to go to work, anytime you need it.


It’s true that massage chairs have fixed feature sets, and once you settle on a particular model that best fits your needs, you’re stuck with whatever features it offers.

In this regard, though, you find some common ground when considering massage chair vs massage therapist. After all, the therapist is limited by the equipment he or she has to work with, and the process of switching from one to another can be quite time-consuming.


But what about the cost? Money’s almost always an issue, no matter who you are or how much you make, so which is more cost-effective?

Therapist Doing Shoulder masssage

A lot of that depends on how often you want or need the services of a massage therapist. Theirs is a skilled trade, they get paid by the hour, and the good ones are worth every penny. Unfortunately, their prices can also make enjoying a massage on a regular basis an impossibility for many people.

While it’s true that a massage chair represents a bigger upfront investment, in the long run, they wind up being cheaper than a human therapist by a wide margin. Again, though, it’s a trade-off. Even though the long-term costs are less, the initial costs are greater, so it’s a matter of how your life and your budget are structured.

Massage Chair vs Massage Therapist Conclusion

In the end then, when finding your own answer to the “massage chair vs real massage” question, what it comes down to is your life and lifestyle.

If you can afford a human therapist, and your schedule allows you the flexibility to set and keep appointments, they offer the superior experience.

If you’re on a budget, and would prefer a solution that maximizes convenience over quality, then massage chairs are a great fit, and don’t misunderstand us here – we are not saying that massage chairs render bad massages, they don’t! They’re just not quite as good as actual human hands.