For some, the chair massage is a mystical unicorn in the wilderness of the healthcare industry. Does it really work? Where are chair massages available? How do I sit in the chair, and where do my arms go?
The question of whether it works has a simple answer. I believe a massage with a knowledgeable, communicative therapist, of any length of time, can uplift someone’s spirits and make someone’s day. Like anything else regarding health, it is not a silver bullet, especially when dealing with chronic issues. But I can attest to the immediate relief and comfort it provides for countless individuals. As far as where in Austin chair massages are available, I’ve compiled a list of six local, vetted businesses.
(And once you’re in the chair, the therapist will tell you where to put your arms.)
Disclosure: I’m currently employed by Seize the Day. All opinions are my own.
1/ Seize the Day Chair Massage Services
Seize the Day’s massage method is based on consistency, so customers know what they’re getting every time. All of the therapists are trained to learn a specific sequence based mostly on acupressure techniques, but they also incorporate Swedish, traction, and stretching.
Tom Darilek, who owns Seize the Day, was in the Austin massage scene in the early 1990s. At that time, “Chair massage was provided by a loose network of licensed massage associates doing events for large companies on a who-knew-who basis.” In 1995, Darilek started Seize the Day with the idea of coordinating this network by putting an ad in the phone book. “We had no personal computers as of yet–no Internet and no email,” Darilek said. “But I did have a combo word-processor/printer.”
Much has changed since that pre-Internet era, but Seize the Day’s massage sequence has stood the test of time. Prepare to leave the chair with heightened focus and renewed energy.
Walk in or mobile? Seize the Day accepts walk-ins at Barton Springs Car Wash. The local business also has a location at The Finish Line Car Wash, but here you must use one of The Finish Line’s services to be able to receive a massage. The team is also available to book for company parties, conventions, and other events.
500 S. Lamar Blvd. and 2900 Bee Cave Road — Website
2/ Knot Anymore
Rebecca Kahn worked at a company where weekly chair massage was an employee benefit. She saw the positive effects regular massage had for her workplace. In 2000, she founded Knot Anymore with the intention of bringing those benefits to businesses on a large scale.
I’ve always known Knot Anymore for its chair massage booth at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The business had been there since 2002, in partnership with the City of Austin, to pilot chair massage as a service for airport guests. After 16 years of service, City Council voted to replace Knot Anymore with a multinational conglomerate. Many people were sad to see their local favorite pushed out of its home.
Thankfully, Knot Anymore found an artisanal coffeehouse to operate from. While we hope someday, somehow, its position can be reinstated at the airport, we’re glad there’s somewhere we can find them (and we don’t have to get on a plane to do so!).
Walk in or mobile? Walk-ins are accepted at Caffe Tèo. So after your massage, grab some delicious gelato! You can also book the Knot Anymore team for the workplace, conventions, and other business events.
1206 W. 38th St. — Website
3/ Zen Well
All of Zen Well’s services are based on the Thai massage modality, and chair massage is no exception. Thai massage is a style that primarily takes place on a floor mat instead of on a table, and uses stretches and acupressure work to relax the client. Because it uses leverage of the client’s own body and maximizes the effect of gravity, this work can be very deep. But it can also be gentle and relaxing if that’s what you prefer.
The chair massage is customized for each client. Obviously, it uses a chair, and not a floor mat in the traditional Thai style. But the same principles of stretching, compression, and point work apply. Traditional Thai massage is also available at Zen Well, along with a variety of other relaxing spa treatments.
Walk in or mobile? Chair massage is available in the studio. Appointments are preferred.
3421 W. William Cannon Dr. #139 — Website
Myo is more than just a spa. It’s also a movement and yoga studio that specializes in pain management, and focuses on functional strength and mobility. The average massage therapist at Myo has 13 years of experience or more, each specializing in a different modality. The local business offers chair massage among a host of other services, including acupuncture, lymphatic drainage, Cranio-sacral, and Thai massage.
Myo Massage was founded in 2006 by Catherine Collette and Levi Cory, who are both massage therapists and are still active in practice.
Walk in or mobile? Chair massage is available in the studio by appointment only. The team is also available to book for conventions, parties, business events, and athletic events.
4616 Triangle Ave., #407 — Website
5/ A Healer’s Touch
“Being able to help others make it through another day or another month means the world to me,” said Tabitha Sands, the one-woman show who owns and operates A Healer’s Touch. “Life will always have ups and downs, but massage makes the downs easier to get through.” Sands graduated from Lauterstein-Conway Massage school in 2011.
Sands has studied a variety of modalities, including Mindbody acupressure and Reiki, and has incorporated them into her chair massage technique.
Walk in or mobile? A Healer’s Touch is solely a mobile-based business. Contact Sands for more information.
6/ Austin Chair Massage
Meera Hoffman is the powerhouse business owner and massage therapist who founded both Austin Chair Massage and Serenity Wellness. Austin Chair Massage, founded in 2012, came first. “It started out of a dream to foster more opportunities for my fellow massage therapists, so that they in turn could help others by reducing stress and relieving tension,” Hoffman said.
As Austin Chair massage grew, it expanded services to include table massage, yoga, and meditation. With this evolving vision, Serenity Wellness sprang into being. Currently, Serenity Wellness is the umbrella under which Austin Chair Massage operates.
“We’re helping empower our community to live happier, healthier lives. And that is a mission that deeply resonates with me,” Hoffman said. “It is such a gift to serve in this way.”
Walk in or mobile? Therapists are available to book for parties, business events, and special events like festivals.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you had a chair massage in Austin lately?