Types of Massage Techniques in your Massage Chair

A massage chair can be a godsend to many suffering common ailments such as muscle tension, body aches, insomnia, stress or lethargy. A modern massage chair is capable of performing a multitude of functions to improve one’s general well being and refresh the senses. Have you ever wondered how a massage chair works? What are the various massage techniques incorporated in a modern massage chair that can alleviate the daily stresses on our bodies? If you are shopping for or shortlisting a suitable massage chair, you might be mind-boggled by the array of choices and technical terms. How will you know which are the best massage techniques for you? Read on as we uncover the purposes that massage techniques serve and the terminologies they use.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu means “finger pressure” and this massage technique has its origins in Japan. Firm pressure is applied on specific meridian points to release blocked energies that cause disharmonies in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, the vital energy of a person is known as qi. Hence, when qi stagnates, it impairs the general well-being of a person. The main objective of this massage technique is to get rid of the qi stagnation that manifests as illnesses and lethargies. According to the Shiatsu Association, this technique can strengthen the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself from a cellular level. This finger pressure technique is similar to finger press or acupressure. 

Benefits of Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage is a relaxing experience that relieves stress and stimulates circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal systems. It is especially helpful in easing aches caused by sprains, arthritis and chronic neck and back pain.

Best for

  1. People with stress-induced insomnia 
  2. Desk-bound professions

Kneading Massage

Kneading Massage

Kneading massage is a technique that compresses tight muscle tissues and underlying bones in a rotational motion. During the process, tissues are lifted, rolled and squeezed in a compressive manner. This push-and-pull movement applies deep pressure on the body and allows the underlying muscle fibres to be mobilised and stretched. In addition, the soothing heat created by the motion promotes blood circulation and relieves muscle tension.

Benefits of Kneading Massage

Kneading massage eases knots and tight muscles brought about by poor posture or by spending long periods in an immobile position such as being desk bound. A distinct advantage of kneading massage is the ability to improve suppleness and elasticity of the muscles, enabling frequent users more flexibility by reducing muscle tension. It also stimulates the nervous system and refreshes the senses. 

Best for

  1. Individuals suffering from body aches or muscle tension.
  2. Stress induced tension and insomnia.

Rolling Massage


Rolling massage is a massage technique that fundamentally uses continuous unidirectional forward strokes on target areas. The press and glide motion causes the skin and muscles to roll forward to relieve pressure especially on the back and lumbar area. The friction produced from the motion can also cause an increase in temperature, thereby enhancing circulation. Deep pressure rolling motion can relax the nervous system, bringing the body into a calm and harmonious state. This technique is similar to Chinese massage techniques such as guasha, tuina or rubbing massage. 

Benefits of Rolling Massage

Rolling massage helps promote circulation and ease muscle stiffness by stretching restricted joints and tissues. Frequent application of this technique is believed to strengthen the immune system.

Best for

  1. Boosting the immune system.
  2. Desk-bound professions and sports people.

Tapping Massage

Tapping Massage

Tapping Massage encompasses rhythmic percussion strokes applied using alternating strikes at a rapid pace. The mechanical tapping action is usually more intense and targeted than human hands. Strokes delivered deeply penetrates into the muscles, providing quick pain relief on sore areas. As the mind follows the rhythm, one can be fully immersed in the relaxing experience. The tapping massage is similar to cupping, knocking, percussion, rhythm and chopping functions across different brands.

Benefits of Tapping Massage

Tapping massage can increase the local blood circulation and loosen tight knots in the underlying tissues. It also lifts one’s energy levels through the rapid rhythm. This technique is especially useful as part of a warm up routine prior to playing sports.

Best for

  1. Active individuals
  2. Fatigue relief

Compression Massage

Compression Massage

Compression massage loosens up tight spots by applying deep compressive pressure to the muscles. It is a popular, non-invasive sports recovery technique, which helps to speed up the healing process. The objective of this technique is to promote blood circulation and lymphatic circulation throughout the body. Compression massage is simulated in most massage chair models via well-positioned airbags that provide compressive pressure when inflated.

Benefits of Compression Massage

Compression massage can ease muscle soreness by exerting pressure on specific problem areas. This technique can also improve circulation and is good for relieving fatigue.

Best for

  1. Calves and feet areas, limbs
  2. People with limited mobility

Massage Chair Technology and Massage Terminologies

Most massage chairs in the market incorporate the five primary massage techniques. Terminologies used by various brands may differ, but many of these have similar terms and are often used interchangeably. It is also common for massage chairs to incorporate two different massage techniques to create an added dimension to the otherwise mechanical motion of the massage rollers. For instance, by combining shiatsu and tapping massage techniques, a new function can be added to the array of choices to suit user preferences.

Massage TechniquesInterchangeable terms

Shiatsu (Finger pressure)

Finger pressure on meridian points

Shiatsu massage icon

  1. Finger Press
  2. Acupressure


Compressing of soft tissue in a rotational motion

Kneading massage icon

  1. Deep tissue kneading
  2. Swinging


Continuous unidirectional forward strokes

Rolling massage icon

  1. Guasha
  2. Rubbing
  3. Tuina


Rhythmic strokes applied using alternating hands at rapid pace

Tapping massage icon

  1. Cupping
  2. Knocking
  3. Percussion
  4. Rhythm
  5. Chopping


Applying of deep pressure

AIr compression massage icon

  1. Air pressure
  2. Airbag compression

Final thought

With better understanding of the various massage techniques, you can now make more informed decisions in your massage chair purchase.  If still unsure, you may Whatsapp our massage chair specialist for advice on Miuvo’s massage chair at +65 8088 9467.  If you already own a massage chair, now you can now unlock more value in your purchase!

MiuDeluxe, Miuvo’s full feature massage chair has Seven of massage techniques which include Kneading, Shiatsu, Tapping, Guasha, Cupping, Dual 3D Massage (Shiatsu + Tapping) and Air Compression.

MiuDivine, Miuvo’s full function massage chair has four massage techniques which include Tappping, Rolling, Shiatsu and Knocking.

MiuDelight, Miuvo’s multi-color massage chair has four massage techniques which include Shiatsu, Tapping, Swing and Rolling Tuina Massage.

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