Updated: July 24th, 2020
The benefits of heat therapy and vibrating massages are well documented, from back pain relief, improved blood circulation, to stress relief.
In this guide, we unveil the very best heated massage office chairs and chair pads in 2020 for you to get all the benefits of heat and vibrating massage therapy at the fraction of the cost of a full blown massage chair or visit to a therapist.
Best Heated Massage Office Chairs
- Belmint Shiatsu Folding Chair – Best Overall Massage Office Chair
- Sharper Image Massage Chair – Best Budget Alternative
- Nouhaus Massage Chair – Most affordable real massage chair
- Synca Wellness Massage Chair – Most comprehensive massages
Massage Options: Shiatsu, Compression, Percussion, Vibration, and Heat
Starting off our list is both ours and Amazon’s Choice for one of the best massage office chairs, the Belmint Folding Massage Chair. It shines for providing a near full blown massage experience in a compact and affordable package.
One of the first things most people notice when sitting on the Belmint massage chair is just how strong the massages are. Compare that to many massage office chairs that merely offer a weak vibrating massage, and it’s like day and night. One owner says the Belmint completely melts away the tension around his neck and back each time he uses it.
Unlike many budget chairs that focus on just one area of the body, the Belmint covers pretty much your entire torso. Using a combination of shiatsu, percussion, vibration and heat, the chair delivers deep issue massaging to the most common areas of your body that need some TLC during work, which is the neck, lower back and your bottom.
As an office chair, the Belmint will not be the most comfortable choice for long term sitting. The backrest does recline around 15 degrees, which is a good start. However, the lack of height adjustment means it may not work with your desk without additional adjustments. Look into an external seat cushion for that purpose.
At the end of the day, if what you value the most is a good massage in an office chair, the Belmint is your best bet. The comprehensive and deep upper body massages it provides is light years away from so called standard massaging office or gaming chairs that merely provide those annoying vibrations.
- Most comprehensive array of massages in its class
- Folds up for easy moving from room to room
- Backrest reclines around 15 degrees
- Comes with a USB charger for your devices
- Seat not height adjustable
- Seat itself only offer vibration massages
Massage Options: Shiatsu, heat and vibration
If you’re on a tighter budget, the Sharper Image Massage Chair is an excellent alternative to the Belmint above. It lacks some of the other types of massage modes found in the Belmint, though for what it offers, the Sharper Image does them really well.
The Sharper Image can massage the neck, upper and lower back using 6 massage nodes and 3 levels of intensities. Compare this to 8 massage nodes on the Belmint for a more comprehensive massage. There is optional heat as well, though only in the backrest. The seat itself offers vibrational massages.
Like the Belmint, the backrest on this chair reclines around 20 degrees back. The remote control is built into the armrest, making it impossible to lose it. The chair also comes with a USB port for charging your devices as you enjoy your massage.
For those wishing to use the Sharper Image Massage Chair at the desk, you’ll run into the same limitations with the Belmint in that the chair height isn’t adjustable. Again, a seat cushion may help to elevate you enough to comfortably interact with the desk.
The Shaper Image Chair may not offer as many massage modes or coverage as the Belmint, but at $100 less, it’s one of the best budget massage office chairs for the money.
- Offers strong shiatsu massage along with vibration and heat
- Affordable, less than $190 at time of review
- Foldable and extremely compact
- Remote control built into armrest
- Armrests aren’t adjustable
- Chair height not adjustable
Massage Options: Heat, Kneading, Rolling and Compression
If you’re looking for a true masseuse like experience while you work and don’t mind paying extra for it, I highly recommend the Nouhaus Massage Chair. Coming in at around $700 (check latest price), it combines the best of a full blown massage chair with the portability and cost savings of a regular massage office chair.
A series of rollers and air bags are positioned in all of the areas of the upper body that could benefit from kneading and heat to melt away the knots and tension. This includes the neck region, entire back, your waist, and glutes. One person who bought the chair for her dad says it’s hard to get him off of it. Another owner who had previously owned two other massage chairs says the Nouhaus beats both in terms of the quality of the massages while costing less.
The neck massage function on the Nouhaus is one of the best we’ve seen in any massage chair. Kneading the neck at 35 times per minute, it effectively dissolves any tightness in just a few minutes. To increase the intensity, you can even remove the cover to really get a deep tissue massage.
The Nouhaus Massage Chair stands around 20″ tall from the ground to the seat. This offers enough height to actually pair with a standard 29″ high desk when you wish to get a professional grade massage while working on your computer. In fact, one owner does exactly that, sitting in the Nouhau chair for up to 14 hours a day whilst computing.
Now to the downsides. It’s a shame the backrest doesn’t recline on the Nouhaus massage chair. The chair’s compact dimensions also means a person taller than 6’1″ will probably feel cramped in it.
The Nouhaus is a professional grade massage chair that is also compact enough to double as a regular office chair when you want to work and have your massage too.
- Best in class neck massages
- Stylish and compact enough to use as an executive office chair
- Comes with an Ottoman to support your legs
- Has a massage function for the hip and waist
- Pricey compared to massage office chairs
- Doesn’t recline
- Compact size not comfortable for larger people
Massage Options: Heat, Kneading, Tapping, and Rolling
Last but certainly not least is the Synca Wellness Heated Massage Chair. If offers the most complete set of massages out of all the chairs here, with a SL Track and air compression technology that comes closest to simulating real massages. It’s also extremely compact to boot.
The SL Track Technology starts with the trapezius muscle of the neck and ends at the hamstring muscle under the thigh, spanning 34 inches. Aside from allowing you to choose between tapping, kneading, and rolling techniques, it comes with a body scanner which customizes the massage according to your back curvature and length.
To keep your lower core muscles limber, the Synca CirC uses air technology to gently move your hips from side to side. This works well with the heat therapy located in the lumbar area to relax tense muscles. Using the remote control, you can personalize all these features and even target a specific problem area.
The Synca CirC works for people with heights between 4’9″ to 6’2″ and has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds. I like turning off the lights when I’m relaxing with the CirC, since it has lights at the sides of the headrest to simulate a soft candle glow. Aside from having a 1-year warranty, one satisfied buyer mentioned how thoroughly impressed he was with the company’s customer service. After sending a short mail about a creaking noise, the company sent a replacement, no questions asked.
I don’t really have any complaints about the Synca CirC. Instead, I wish the company would adjust the massage to include the neck as well.
Overall, the Synca CirC is one of the most luxurious heated massage chairs we’ve reviewed at the sub $1,000 price point. Just like with the Giantex Massage Chair, I recommend getting an ottoman to pair with this chair for a more relaxing experience.
- SL track covers both the back and lower body
- Scans the body and adjusts to your physique
- Has air massage technology for the hips
- Offers dim lighting
- Company has excellent customer service
- Expensive, costs around $900
- Heating function focused on the lumbar area
- Doesn’t have a neck massager
Best Heated Massage Chair Pads
If you’re not ready to ditch your current office chair for the added heat and massaging functions, all is not lost. There are many heated massage pads you can simply throw on top of your existing chair. Some are evenly highly flexible, allowing you to lay them on your couch or even completely flat on the bed for you to experience the benefits of a massage anywhere.
Best Massage Chair Pads at a Glance
Here are our picks for the top 4 best heated massage chair pads and mats in 2020:
- Snailax Shiatsu Massage Chair Pad – Best overall massage chair pad
- Comfier Massage Chair Pad – Best budget alternative
- Naipo Shiatsu Neck Massager – Best dedicated neck massager
- Snailax Heated Massage Mat – Best massage chair mat
Massage Options: Shiatsu, heat and vibration
Let’s start with the very best massage chair pad currently on the market, the Shiatsu Massage Chair Pad. Though it’s the most expensive one on our list, it is also the only massage pad that actually massages your neck, and combines heat, vibration, and deep tissue roller massages to soothe everywhere from your neck, back, to thigh regions.
The neck and back massage each has 4 shiatsu balls which you can power up with the heating function. On top of a spot massage, the shiatsu balls for the back can go up and down in either a rolling or kneading motion. One happy buyer said that it’s worth every penny since it eliminated his back spasms by boosting his blood circulation.
Since blood circulation in the lower body is just as important, the seat of the Snailax Massage Chair Pad has 2 vibrating massage nodes with 2 intensity levels to choose from.
The neck and back massagers have removable flaps which you can wash to prevent microbial growth. As for the warranty, it comes with a 2-year warranty which you can extend to five years by paying extra. Also, the company is very prompt in helping people who are having issues with the product they received.
I was quite disappointed though that the seat of the Snailax doesn’t heat up, only vibrates. Some people also complain that the strength of the back massage is too much for them. In such cases, placing a thin pillow helps lessen the intensity.
All in all, I still highly recommend the Snailax Shiatsu Massage Chair Pad if you want to enjoy an almost full body massage – including the neck- without buying an entire massage chair. Just use the two elastic straps with Velcro fasteners to place it firmly on any chair and you’re good to go.
- Only Massage Pad that massages your neck as well.
- Has 10 massage nodes in total
- Seat vibration massage comes with two intensity levels
- Has excellent customer service
- Seat doesn’t have heating
- Shiatsu intensity might be too much for much
- Expensive at $150 compared to other massage pads on the list
Massage Options: Shiatsu, heat and vibration
For those of you who don’t care much for neck massages, check out the Comfier Heated Massage Chair Pad, which is available for under $85 at time of writing. It has similar features (minus the neck massages) to the Snailax pad above, but at half the price. A robust strap allows the pad to be attached to your sofa, couch, or office chair securely.
To start with, the Comfier Massage Chair Pad has 4 shiatsu nodes which travels the length of your back for a rolling or kneading massage. Of course, if you want, you can just do a spot massage by using the remote control to move the nodes. This feature is also very useful in personalizing the pad to suit the exact area of your body that needs some treatment.
Once you’ve chosen a massage function, turn on the heating system to help you relax after a tiring day. There is also 3 modes of vibration to really loosen up those tight knots in your back after a long day of work.
The Comfier comes with a couple of really sensible features. First is an optional flap that can go over the entire backrest when you want to further dial down the intensity of the shiatsu massage past the lowest setting. The remote control is also extremely intuitive. I really appreciate the “Demo” mode button that quickly shows you all the different functionalities of the chair.
About the only real drawback of the Comfier massage pad is that it only extends up to your shoulders. There is no neck massage.
Still, for the value that you get at below $85, the Comfier Massage Chair Pad is a very good deal. Various massage functions and heating, all for a reasonable price.
- 4 Shiatsu nodes massage your entire back wit
- Comes with optional heat and vibration
- Backrest flap over backrest to lessen intensity of massage
- Can be laid flat
- Seat itself only has vibration massage
- Doesn’t include a neck massager
- Shiatsu can be too intense for some
Massage Options: Shiatsu, kneading, heat
Looking for a truly portable device that delivers targeted deep tissue massage to your neck (and other areas) whether you’re sitting in your office chair, the couch,, or even laying down on your bed? The Naipo Neck Massager delivers one of the best shiatsu massages in a portable form factor that is also extremely inexpensive, at less than $40 at time of writing.
Underneath the Naipo neck massager are 4 massage nodes that deliver deep shiatsu style massaging to the applied area. The nodes can rotate in both directions to provide a more balanced massage.
In addition to kneading, the Naipo also supports heating in conjunction, up to 120 F.
The intense shiatsu and heating works so well, one user that rarely leaves a review online said he felt compelled to do so after using the Naipo neck massager. The product far exceeded his expectations, and he’s already planning to get a second one.
While the Naipo is primarily seen as a neck massager, its portable size means it can be used anywhere on the body to break up tension and encourage better blood circulation. Other common areas to apply the device are the shoulders, lower back, and legs. There are no awkward straps to contend with- simply apply body weight to the Naipo to start a session.
Thanks to a strap behind the device, the Naipo works well with most office chairs that come with a tapered headrest. You can also simply rest your body weight on the device when it’s behind your neck or lower back. The device even comes with a car adapter to massage your neck as a passenger.
For what it does, there is very little to complain about the Naipo neckk massager. The compact size, powerful massage nodes and wallet friendly price makes this an easy choice if you’re looking for highly targeted tension relief.
- Cheap, costs under $40
- Delivers both deep tissue and heat massages
- Comes with strap to attach to headrest of office chairs
- Massage is very intense, only one mode
Massage Options: Vibration
Last, but not the least, we have another product from Snailax, the Heated Massage Mat. Designed for use on almost any surface, this is the best massage mat you can get for heated vibrating massages anywhere you go.
Unlike the first Snailax product which spans the neck to the thighs, the Snailax Heated Massage Mat is 69 inches long, starting from the shoulders and going all the way past the legs. Though it isn’t as intense as shiatsu massagers, you can choose between 3 vibration levels and 5 massage modes. Of course, there’s also an option to only massage zones like the shoulders, mid-back, lumbar, and legs and thighs.
Each of the zone I’ve mentioned comes with their own heating pad. You can turn off the massage function and use this Snailax unit for thermotherapy. Of course, just in case you fall asleep, there’s a 30-minute auto timer to prevent overheating.
Though it’s long, you can bring the Snailax Heated Massage Mat wherever you go since it’s foldable. Plus, I like that the cover is super plush, making it very comfortable to sleep on. Unfortunately, it isn’t removable, so it can’t be washed. What one user does is to wipe it with a damp cloth and to let it air dry after.
My only complaint is that there was a mild plastic smell upon opening this Snailax product. Though it is mild for me, it might be stronger for more sensitive people. Good news is that this smell goes away after a few days. I also wished that there was an included neck massager.
Overall, I highly recommend the Snailax Heated Massage Mat to anyone who wants to get a full-body vibration massage anytime you want. At its $80 price point, quality and functions, it’s one of the best investments you can make.
- Full-body massager
- Can be laid flat
- Heat function can be used on its own
- Heat function spans the entire body
- Has 3 vibrations strengths and 5 massage modes
- Has a mild plastic smell upon opening
- Intensity might be too mild for some
- No neck massager
Benefits of Heat Therapy Explained
Did you know that heat therapy has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians? Thermal baths and hot air caverns that are close to volcanoes are some of the common examples. Even Hippocrates said, “Give me the power to produce fever, and I will cure all disease.”
Today, heat therapy, or thermotherapy, is popular for providing pain relief, improving muscle flexibility, and boosting post workout healing. Plus, it is both non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical.
Here are some of the proven benefits of heat therapy, which as mentioned are found in the massage chairs in our list above.
Migraine and Headache Relief
There are many factors that cause migraine and headache. But, if the cause of your headache is tension, applying heat therapy on your neck and shoulder to loosen the tense muscles can help.
Applying heat to the problem area can reduce the pain signals that are transmitted to the brain, reducing pain. There are several studies that back this claim.
- According to a 2010 study, thermotherapy reduces muscle spasms while increasing tissue temperature, blood flow, metabolism and connective tissue extensibility. This makes thermotherapy a good self-management pain relief option for people suffering from musculoskeletal diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.
- The Physical Rehabilitation of the Injured Athlete, which was published in 2012, stated that thermotherapy reduces peripheral nerve conduction velocity while inhibiting nerve receptors. This is why the application of heat for pain relief is a popular choice for athletes.
- A clinical trial on 87 patients in 2014 found that heat therapy is very effective in minimizing low back pain when used with pharmacologic treatment such as analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. The study also said that thermotherapy is a good supplementary treatment since it is affordable, accessible, and has little side effects.
- The previous study is backed by a research presented in the 2005 Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine. It stated that the combination of exercise and thermotherapy can reduce acute low back pain while also boosting functionality.
Better Muscle and Ligament Flexibility
Based on a 2013 research, heat therapy can increase muscle and ligament flexibility while cryotherapy has the opposite effect.
Having flexible muscles and ligaments means reducing your chances of getting injured during physical activities. It also prevents cramps, improves posture, increases strength, and boosts the overall wellness of the body and mind.
Reduces Exercise-Induced Pain and Boosts Healing
Preventative heat therapy is even more effective than minimal stretching in reducing post workout low back pain. This is because the application of heat makes the muscle tissues more flexible and less prone to the micro-tears caused by working out.
Thermotherapy can also be used after exercising to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In fact, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, heat therapy is better than cold therapy in healing the body after an intense workout.
What cryotherapy does is constrict the blood vessels to reduce inflammation and numb the pain. On the other hand, heat therapy dilates the blood vessels so that more oxygen and nutrients can reach the injured muscles, speeding up the healing process.
Improves Mitochondrial Function
Having limited mitochondrial function or a reduced number of these micro energy centers is linked to conditions like heart disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, and type 2 diabetes. This is why regular exercise is one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle, since it can produce new mitochondria and keep the existing ones healthy.
But, what if you have a condition which prevents you from working out? Fortunately, according to a 2018 American Physiological Society study, regular heat therapy can induce better mitochondrial functions in the muscles.
Also, since it requires about two hours of exercise to actually start reaping the benefits associated to mitochondrial function and production, doing a combination of exercise and heat therapy might be better for people who can’t achieve that amount of exercise.
Reduces Back Pain for Pregnant Women
It is safe for expecting women to use heated pads to reduce back pain as long as they remember the following.
- Heated pads should not be for more than 10 minutes and never overnight.
- Prevent using pads during the first trimester since this is a delicate period that’s sensitive to body temperature changes.
- Stop using your heated pad if it is so hot that it makes you sweat.
- Do not combine the heated pad with other sources of heat.
Heating pads are even more effective in reducing back pain for pregnant women if combined with aerobic exercise and chiropractic care, according to a 2013 study.
Of course, consulting your doctor first before doing thermotherapy during pregnancy is a must. This is especially true if you have a high-risk pregnancy (i.e. bleeding or leaking amniotic fluid).
Benefits of Vibrating Massages Explained
Just like heat therapy, vibrating massages come with a lot of benefits.
When we are in pain, we instinctively massage or rub the area that hurts. This can often be seen in people who have stomach pain, headaches, or bumps.
Now, scientists are saying that vibration, a similar kind of touch, has the same effect. The vibration not only numbs the problem area, it also relaxes the muscles around it. In fact, the Ohio State University Medical Center recommends getting vibrational massage for non-pharmaceutical pain relief.
A study done by the University of Florida College of Medicine had similar results. They found that the use of vibration can reduce some types of pain for more than 40%. It even went on to say that this is good news for people with pain disorders like fibromyalgia, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome where there isn’t a known cause. In general, it is harder to inhibit pain from this type of disorders. But, their study found that vibration as pain relief for such disorders is very effective.
There is also a study published in 2017 which showed that full body vibration can reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Muscle Relaxation, Regeneration, and Increased Strength
If you often find yourself suffering back, neck, or shoulder pain due to tense muscles, you’ll be happy to know that vibration can help relax your muscles.
Even better, according to a 2015 study, the use of vibration to boost blood flow and oxygenation in the muscles is very effective. A study carried out on 2011 even recommended using vibration as part of rehabilitation programs for people with spinal cord injuries because of these benefits. Another reason why vibration is good for rehabilitation is its ability to increase the regenerative potential of muscular tissue.
Not only that, vibration also works well for disorders that result in muscle weakness. In 2014, a study was published in the Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics which described the testing of whole body vibration on children with spastic diplegia. After 12 weeks of intervention, the children showed improved muscle strength and decreased spasticity.
Mimics the Effects of Working Out
Some people, like the the elderly who are prone to falling, can’t work out due to certain limitations or significant impairments. In such cases, vibration is a good option which mimics the metabolic effects of exercise. It is able to prevent weight gain while improving functional capacity and bone health.
Increases Bone Density
Vibration can increase bone density and reduce bone density loss. This is especially important for postmenopausal women and people who are suffering from osteoarthritis. Not only is it quite effective, it has no side effects as well.
In a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research in 2016, postmenopausal women who underwent vibration therapy showed significant bone loss reduction in the lumbar spine. On top of that, it can improve balance, making it a good fall intervention.
Which Heated Massage Office Chair will You Choose?
Based on the benefits of vibration and heat therapy, it’s easy to see why people go to heated massage chairs and pads for overall wellness. There are a lot of affordable and quality options that you can choose from, as you can see from the list above.