A Bit of History About the Founder of Modern Chair Massage

A Bit of History About the Founder of Modern Chair Massage

We talk a lot about massage as a way of bringing balance and harmony to the body. Have you ever wondered where this concept came from? The Japanese were thought to be the originators, having developed a unique form of massage called ‘Shiatsu’. This word literally can be broken up into two Japanese words, ‘finger’ and ‘pressure’; shi and atsu, respectively.

It wasn’t until JH Kellogg (yes, the inventor of Corn Flakes) brought massage to the United States in the early part of the Twentieth Century that people in North America discovered its benefits. He introduced it as a healthy benefit for the body, citing he had learned it in Sweden. Thus the ‘Swedish Massage’ became the latest rage in the U.S.

Chair Massage Started in 1982

We can thank a massage therapist named David Palmer for inventing the first seated chair massage. He called it “Chair in a Box”. The invention was more than just a massage chair, it was a whole new health-related epiphany for people who were health conscious. Fittingly, David Palmer operated out of California. He first introduced the equipment through an article in a well-known healthy magazine, where he called his technique the ‘on-site massage’. Little did he know, Palmer’s 28-lb. chair massage invention was used to start an entire movement of wellness seekers.

At  Chair Massage Chicago, our niche and specialty is dedicated to mobile chair massage. We have David Palmer to thank for that. Now chair massage therapists from all over the globe – no matter their type of practice – can reap the rewards of building a unique platform in which to introduce clients to massage therapy.

To read more about the different types of massage therapy, please read one of our earlier articles on the topic. To reach us and book a session or a mobile massage event, contact us today @312.719.0603 or chairmassage-chicago.com/contact/


ChairMassage-Chicago by TherapyPro, Inc. is a premier massage services company specializing in providing soothing chair massage services to companies in the Chicagoland area. Both our quality and skills are well displayed at our multiple spa locations in hotels and health clubs in downtown Chicago. All of our message therapists are fluent in the art of our giving seated massages as well as both licensed and insured in the state of Illinois.
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  • Melissa

    Thankyou for sharing about chair massage. I took a class on it and they never even told how it got started.. interesting! I do more table massages. Chair massage is good for a quick fix in groups. It does help people relax after 15 to 20 minutes 🙂

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