Brief History of Chair Massage

A Brief History of... Chair Massage

And brief it certainly is. In the early 1980's, which isn't so long ago, David Palmer (founder of the TouchPro Institute) thought of ways to make massage more acceptable to the general population. Mr. Palmer is a practitioner and teacher of chair massage as well as traditional Japanese massage, or Amma, which is a combination of deep tissue, acupressure, stretching and percussion techniques.

Having people leave their clothes on overcame the first obstacle. Then, in 1986 he invented the portable massage chair in order to make it even more convenient. With the mobility of the chair it became possible to bring massage to the people, anywhere, anytime; and the term On Site Chair Massage was born.


Chair massage practitioners are professionally trained, certified and insured. They are educated in basic musculoskeletal anatomy/physiology and massage techniques, such as Swedish, compression, deep tissue and percussion, which are adapted for use with a professional massage chair. Through proper use and combination of posture, bodyweight, and techniques, practitioners can relief muscle tension in a very short period of time.

Chair massage performed by Massage Therapists is not intended to replace treatment for injuries or medical conditions but is designed as an effective stress management method by triggering the Relaxation Response. In this calm state the body and mind are given an opportunity to re-charge and let go of stress symptoms.

Professional training and certification in chair massage is provided by a number of accredited massage schools in the USA and Canada. 

"The pressure of the hands causes the springs of life to flow"

- Tokujiro Namikoshi