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August 8, 2017 Amelia Wilcox

How Long Should a Chair Massage Be?

I was meeting with a potential client yesterday and they asked me a question that is one of the most common questions we hear hundreds of times a year from companies looking to start a chair massage program. How long should a chair massage be? 

Should they give their employees five minutes of chair massage? Fifteen? Thirty? Here at Nivati we provide anywhere from 5 minutes to 60 minutes, but there are pros and cons to the different chair massage durations.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences of sessions lasting 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60 minutes so you can make an informed decision.

How long should chair massage be?


60 minutes of table massage heaven.

You may scoff, but there are companies that really do this. I know for a fact that MindBody and Google offer full body one hour massage sessions to their employees. This is an awesome option if your company can afford it. Not just the massage expense, but also the hour the employee won’t be working.

Sixty minute massages can be given in a chair, and we have done it from time to time, but most people prefer to be on a table for an hour long session. And most of those prefer full body—which means getting naked. Many companies have policies against undressing at work, so full body might not be a good fit for you if you have regulations against being in the buff.

We also see this used a lot as an option for special occasions, employee incentives, or employee appreciation gifts. If you can do it, an hour is sure a mighty nice way to go.


How long should a chair massage be?

30 minutes of corporate massage bliss.

This is a great fit for smaller offices that want to do something nice for their team at a lower cost than a gift certificate to the Olive Garden. Thirty minute massages can be given comfortably in a chair or on a table, fully clothed or undressed.

Massage therapists can address much more of the body in a 30 minute chair massage than they can get to in 15 minutes. So if your employees have neck issues and some lower back pain, this is the way to go.

 Related: Chair Massage vs. Table Massage: What’s Best for the Office?


20 minutes, the corporate chair massage standard.

The most common length of time for a chair massage is undoubtedly 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is a good fit for many organizations because most employees get 20-minute breaks at various times throughout the day. If you are a company who prefers for their employees to utilize the massage program on their own time instead of company time, then this is a good option for you.

Twenty minute chair massages are also great for Massage Wellness Programs because they are an easily manageable time blocks for scheduling regular massages. Plus a massage therapist can effectively address most of the back and neck in 20 minutes, and even get in some solid detailed bodywork in 1-2 areas.


15 minute chair massage sessions at work.

A 15-minute session is a great way to get some focused massage work while not taking up too much time. It’s plenty of time for an overall therapeutic massage as well as some specific work in trouble areas such as the upper back, shoulders, and neck.

When employees are using massage therapy as a way of avoiding workplace injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, a 15-minute massage session is an effective time frame to work out strained muscles and tendons.


how long should a chair massage be?

10 minutes in a massage chair can change things.

A ten minute chair massage isn’t a good fit if you are wanting to lower Worker’s Compensation claims or decrease health care costs, but it’s great if your company has a small budget and you need to get more people into the chair without overspending.

Ten minute massages are tougher to schedule though, because if an employee is held up on a call or running a couple minutes late, they effectively miss most (if not all) of their appointment. Here at Nivati, we offer our online scheduling platform for any massage programs with chair massage durations 15 minutes or longer. So if you go with 10 minutes and still want things to be scheduled out, that is something you would need to do in house.

 Related: How Much Space is Needed for Chair Massage? 


5 minutes of chair massage can be just enough.

We typically see this option used in businesses like call centers where employees need to stay at their workstations and the company just wants to provide a nice 5 minute break. The massage therapist will go from desk to desk and give a shoulder and neck massage right there in the employee’s chair.

This is also a great option for chair massage at trade shows, expos, conventions, golf tournaments or any other event where you want to push as many people through the chair as possible in a short amount of time without the hassle of sign ups or scheduling. Many companies hire massage therapists to do massage at their booth or tent just to attract potential clients and get leads. This option is the perfect fit for that kind of an event.

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)