Can a Shiatsu Massage Chair Do THIS?

(But first, a small confession. I did buy one of these for my husband... actually a cushion that is placed on a chair with little whirling thingys that dig into the back muscles. I did this so he could get some degree of relief, without relying on me to have time to work on him. Just wanted to mention that to show I'm not TOTALLY at odds with machinery.)

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It slices, it dices, it juliennes, whatever that is.. Ahem. Back to my rant.

Thanks to the wonders of Google alerts, I come across many MANY reviews, ads, testimonials for shiatsu massage chairs. Almost all of them will tell you that a massage chair does everything an actual shiatsu practitioner can do, and, as one ad states:

"It's like having a live-in massage therapist who doesn't bill by the hour!"

Indeed.

I suppose some chairs are way better than others, and I will concede that it's really nice to be able to relieve some serious stuckness and pain just by relaxing into a piece of furniture in your own home.

I guess I'm just taking some small personal offense at the suggestion that a chair can be just as good as caring human touch.

Is it all about the convenience and money-savings?

Shiatsu, as I understand it, is more about the connection between people. The communication. The listening part, especially. The part where I take in your story, both the words and the vibrations, and I hold it gently, offering back what I hear, so you can be clearly aware of where you are.

Shiatsu is about reading the body like a well-loved book... dog-eared, and worn around the edges, but full of intrigue and drama, love and loss, pain and delight.

Shiatsu is about finding those places where you carry your wordly 'stuff', and those places that you keep locked away and hidden, all the while inviting your body to make peace and balance between them. Even if just for today. To remind you what it feels like to be really in your body. To breathe. To feel. To let go.

Shiatsu is about challenging your boundaries, just a little, and with respect... encouraging movement just beyond what you believe to be your limits, opening up new possibilities. It's about illuminating a different perspective on how to view your life situation, and learning a new language to describe it.

If a chair can do all that, then by all means, go for it. (And please, do be sure to give me the number of the company who makes it.)

I know massage chairs do have their place. In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing them in more situations: long airline flights, passenger seats of teen drivers, hair salons, dentist offices, the DMV... anyplace where people are subjected to sitting anxiously for long periods of time.

And I also understand that with ever-improving innovations,  chairs can replicate a lot of the releasing and massaging techniques that a practitioner's hands can employ... offering immense and immediate relief from muscle aches and pains, stress... improving circulation, lymph flow, skin tone, and more.

At least on the back side of your body. (Yay! Score another one for the humans!)

I guess I really don't expect to be replaced by machinery, no matter how efficient or computerized ... I mean, would you really want a robot digging into your hara?