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September 20, 2017 Amelia Wilcox

How Much Weight Can a Massage Chair Take? [video]

If you’re wondering how much weight your massage chair can take, you’re not alone. As a massage therapist, you always want to keep your clients safe, and keep your tools in good working order.

In this article, we’ll show you how to determine the total weight your massage chair is able to safely take, plus some tips on what to look for when buying a massage chair.

Working Weight vs. Static Weight: Knowing Your Massage Chair Weight Limit

Static weight is the total weight of a perfectly still human.

Working weight refers to the effective weight a massage chair can take given the ever-changing pressure applied while in use.

The difference between the two? Working weight is double the amount of static weight.

In other words, when it comes to a chair massage, a client will effectively “weigh more” when they’re being jostled around (even slightly) on the chair than they will when they are sitting still — such as when getting on and off the chair, and while the therapist uses massage techniques in which they’re repeatedly applying pressure and then remove it.

So a 150-pound client will put 300 pounds of pressure on your chair when you’re giving a deeper massage or if they’re jostling the chair around.



According to Web MD, the national weight average in adults is 191 for men and 163 for women. So as a massage therapist, you won’t be able to use vigorous or deep pressure for the vast majority of your clients while still maintaining the integrity of your chair.

Keeping Your Chair in Good Working Order

If you don’t use your favorite techniques in order to save your chair, you won’t impress your clients and thus your business will suffer.

But if you ignore the working weight restrictions and use all your favorite techniques, and apply as much pressure as the client wants (and you know they like pressure!) you risk injuring your client and/or breaking your chair rendering it unusable.

So what are your options?

Using Your Chair Weight Limit Safely

No matter how big or small your client is, it is always important to instruct them to sit in your chair carefully.

I typically say something like: “Sit on the seat first, and then place one knee at a time on the shin pads.”

If your client is significantly larger than your chair’s working weight another good idea is to instruct them to place their feet flat on the floor instead of using the shin pads at all. That way they will be distributing some of their weight away from your chair, and it will likely be a more comfortable position anyway.

How can your client get more pressure when you don’t know if your chair can take more working weight? 

Easy — you can leave that up to your client.

Just ask them to press their feed into the floor when they want more pressure. That will transfer the pressure up their body to create resistance where you are working.

Also, by doing this they are lifting even more of their weight away from your chair and getting all the benefits of the pressure they want.


chair massage weight limit

Things to Know When Buying a Massage Chair

Like anything, repetitive use of your massage chair over time causes deterioration, even when you’re careful. Replacing it with a cheap or used chair just isn’t worth it. You will end up spending more in the long run.

Buying a Used Massage Chair

First of all, I would never recommend buying a used massage chair. There is too much at risk for your and your clients if the chair should break.

However, if you are in a position where you must use an older massage chair, here are some things to ask about:

  • Original purchase date
  • Any repairs it’s had
  • How much use it got from original owner (hours per week)
  • How many owners it’s had

Buying a New Massage Chair

Buying a new chair will always be your best bet for getting a high quality product. But there are still some things to check for:

  • Does it come from a reputable company?
  • What do consumer reviews say?
  • What kind of warranty does it come with
  • How many joints does it have?
    • The joints are the weakest part of the chair, because the more it adjusts, the more potential it has for breaking


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)