stylized image of ballet dancer in an article about luxury massage chair shiatsu choreography

The role of shiatsu choreography in massage chair design

Massage chair choreography can be traced back to the early 1950s when a Japanese inventor named Nobuo Fujimoto created the first massage chair. While state-of-the-art at the time, the chair’s mechanical massage didn’t appeal to the majority. But as the benefits of massage became more widely recognized over the years, the demand for more sophisticated massage chairs grew.

In the 1990s, a new generation of massage chairs emerged, incorporating realistic choreography guided by professional massage therapists. Advancing technology made it possible to develop a more immersive and realistic massage experience with the press of a button.

Choreography is the art of designing and arranging movements

Choreography is the art of designing and arranging movements in a dance or performance, often with a specific order and pattern. It involves selecting and organizing steps, gestures and other movements to create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing performance. While choreography is commonly associated with dance and theater, it also applies to massage chairs. Luxury massage chair brands like OHCO have adapted choreography to refer to how the chair’s rollers, air cells and other components “dance” across the body to emulate the nuanced movements and pressure of an authentic shiatsu massage,(or any other style of massage, for that matter)., Massage chair choreography can even go beyond this by massaging different body parts simultaneously in ways that a human massage therapist can’t.

Massage chair choreography: the fusion of art and science

Massage chair choreography combines ancient healing techniques and state-of-the-art engineering to program motors, sensors and other components to mimic a massage therapist’s touch and technique. Some Japanese massage chairs, such as OHCO’s M.8 NEO, have sensors that scan the body and target specific pressure points and muscles for greater precision and a shiatsu massage experience tailored to the user’s needs. 

Translating human touch to code for a revolutionary massage experience

The only way for a massage chair to deliver a truly authentic and rejuvenating shiatsu experience is for the engineering team to work with certified shiatsu experts. They must understand the techniques the shiatsu masters employ to address each area of the body then painstakingly recreate the style and movements. The team at OHCO achieved this by working closely with revered Japanese shiatsu sensei, Akira Okabayashi.

Learn more about our massage choreography partnership with the esteemed sensei.

The rollers in the chair imitate the circular finger movements used in shiatsu massage and move up and down the length of the back, neck, and shoulders using kneading, tapping and rolling motions to deliver deep pressure, therapeutic massage. Body scanning technology like OHCO’s Back Autoscan detects the body’s contours and specific shiatsu points (or acupoints), and adjusts the rollers accordingly.

Air cells are an addition to the arsenal of features essential to reproducing shiatsu techniques with precision and accuracy. Air cells are small pockets placed strategically throughout the chair that inflate and deflate to position the body properly so that the massage rollers can create recreate accurately apply pressure  to muscles and shiatsu points for a rejuvenating deep tissue massage.

Other massage techniques commonly incorporated into the massage chair experience include reflexology, heat therapy and stretching techniques. Reflexology targets specific areas of the feet, while heat therapy and stretching help increase flexibility and range of motion in the muscles.

The professional choreography of touch and movement is what helps OHCO transcend from a mechanical approximation to a complete, immersive and realistic massage experience. Thanks to advancements in technology and design, modern luxury massage chairs like those made by OHCO offer a fully customized massage that feels like the real thing, generating bliss with a simple push of a button.