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Why Do I Feel Sore After Using a Massage Chair For The First Time?

Sitting in a Massage Chair can be a delightful and rejuvenating experience, offering a sense of relaxation and relief. However, for some individuals, the initial encounter with a massage chair can result in unexpected discomfort. If you've found yourself sore or uneasy after your first massage chair session, don’t fret. There are several reasons for this occurrence and understanding them can help you make the most of your future sessions. 

Even with other leading factors, a massage should never hurt; it is designed to alleviate pain, not cause it. When working out our muscles with exercise, you need to push through the toughness to see results, however a massage should never feel like that. There is no need to have a session leaving you aching and not rejuvenated. A massage should always make you feel better than before, soothing tense muscles and kneading around sore areas of the body. This is why so many people use massage as a form of recovery, especially after a lot of physical labor. Just a strong massage may not be the problem, so, let’s breakdown some reasons why sitting in a massage chair for the first time may cause discomfort, along with some essential tips. 

Your Initial Soreness: 

One of the main reasons for experiencing soreness after your first massage chair session is your body's initial reaction to the intense manipulation of muscles and tissues. The chair's massaging mechanisms target deep-seated knots and tension, which might leave your muscles feeling slightly tender afterward. This is normal, and the discomfort often dissipates as your body becomes accustomed to the massage. 

Adaptation Period: 

If you've never used a massage chair before, your body might not be accustomed to the sensations it provides. Just like with any new experience, your body needs time to adjust to the rhythmic kneading and pressure. With repeated sessions, your muscles tend to relax more effectively, and the discomfort you initially felt may gradually decrease. Although it is important not to overindulge in massage, 30 minutes to an hour a day is suggested, talk to your health care provider if they recommend more or less time depending on your body’s needs.  

Hydration Matters: 

Dehydration can exacerbate the feeling of discomfort after using a massage chair, especially since massage increases blood circulation which can make you dehydrated. Proper hydration ensures that your muscles remain supple and less prone to stiffness or soreness. Make sure you're adequately hydrated before and after your massage chair sessions to help prevent any post-session discomfort.  

Muscle Warm-Up: 

Similar to any form of exercise, warming up your muscles before using a massage chair can help reduce the chances of discomfort. Perform some light stretches or even take a brisk walk to increase blood circulation and prepare your muscles for the massage experience. 




Identify Your Problem Areas: 

Before hopping into the massage chair, take a moment to identify the specific areas where you experience tension or pain. Communicating these areas to the chair's settings or your therapist, if available, can ensure a more targeted and effective massage. It is important to be mindful of how much roller intensity you are using for those targeted areas. Even though you have pain in your lower back, you should not focus the massage there on a super strong setting that can potentially make the pain worse. Be sure to start low, and with a daily massage you will feel progress being made.  

Familiarize Yourself with the Settings: 

Most modern massage chairs come equipped with a range of settings and intensity levels. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these options and start with gentler settings initially. As your body becomes accustomed, you can gradually increase the intensity for a more fulfilling experience.  

The Massage Chair for You: 

The last thing is to make sure you are using a massage chair that targets your specific needs. As most massage chairs are similar, they are still not all the same. Some chairs prioritize a strong neck and shoulder massage while others may focus on deep stretches with yoga programs. Make sure you know what your body needs before purchasing a massage chair without doing your research. You may be doing more harm than good if you are using a massage chair that does not prioritize your needs.  


The Next Steps: 

Experiencing discomfort after your first session in a massage chair is not uncommon. It's a sign that your muscles are responding to therapeutic manipulation. As your body becomes accustomed to the sensations and the chair's mechanisms, the initial discomfort should give way to a sense of relaxation and relief. Although too much intensity can cause more pain, so be sure to understand the chair’s power, settings, and programs before regular use. Remember, consistency is key—daily use of the massage chair can contribute to improved muscle flexibility, reduced tension, and an overall sense of well-being. Stay hydrated and let your body decompress and become accustomed to this new experience with an open mind.  Learn about THE BEST MASSAGE CHAIRS OF 2023 and read our 2023 MASSAGE CHAIR BUYING GUIDE.