The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#32 - MEDICA & RSNA Special Issue

{MEDICA} Massage in a Virtual World

Medisana's virtual reality massage chair (Courtesy of Medisana)

Medisana‘s virtual reality massage chair was a highlight of the 2017 MEDICA trade fair. The innovative product is aimed at individual consumers and healthcare professionals.


According to Medisana, virtual reality (VR) dates back to the first flight simulator in 1920. A century later, the technology is found in many healthcare applications, from pain reduction to surgical planning using real-world interactions. And that’s exactly what the VR massage chair is based on.

“It combines a massage chair with a VR system, creating a state of deeper immersion. It incorporates visual and audio media such as 360° videos of cities or beautiful environments, as well as fantastic, never-before-seen computer-generated views,” explained Anja Schimmelpfennig, Medisana marketing director. The main goal is to let the user dive into a virtual world, isolating him/her from surrounding sources of stress and anxiety.

Medisana provides both the chair and the headset, into which the user places his/her smartphone. A free app delivers the visual and audio contents. It instructs the massage chair to execute a program individually designed for each VR experience. The app communicates with the chair via a wireless Bluetooth interface.

Combining massage and virtual reality (Courtesy of Medisana)

The chair provides different types of massage—Shiatsu and tapping in both the back and the seat, and rolling and vibration massage in the seat. There is also an optional heat function.

A New Level of Massage Intensity

“This combination of multiple technologies supported by an online platform is definitely something never seen before,” emphasized Schimmelpfennig. She even suggested this constitutes a “revolution” in massage. “By successfully separating the user from outside influences, it enhances the positive, relaxing and recreational potential of a massage.”

This could offer consumers more ways to reach a new level of massage intensity. “We believe that we can dramatically enhance the user experience of today’s standard massage devices,” added Schimmelpfennig.

While the product is mainly intended for individual consumers, the technology provides a way to implement VR and massage in the healthcare environment. Medisana claimed that the numerous possible applications could help treat “patients suffering from stress and anxiety, […] patients with dementia or undergoing radiation and chemo therapy, and many other purposes.”

Read more about Massage chairs on MedicalExpo website.

About the Author

Journalist for 12 years, Dimitri Dubuisson is based in Brussels and covers mainly medical, health and social topics.

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