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Massage & massage chair despite a pacemaker?

People with pacemakers don't have it easy.


Many household appliances such as microwaves, washing machines or even mobile phones have built-in magnets and emit magnetic fields when they are used, which can have a negative effect on people with pacemakers - you might think.

But what effect do they actually have? massage chair on a pacemaker?

In fact, modern pacemakers have become safer and more resistant to magnetic fields from year to year.

Most conventional household appliances such as the microwave oven or washing machine mentioned above no longer cause any problems.

Nevertheless, there are certain devices that people with pacemakers should keep a few centimeters away from or even avoid.

But why actually?

Find out more below now!


First of all, what is a pacemaker?

Only a few centimeters in size, a cardiac pacemaker (abbreviated: HMS) is an “active implant”.

An “active implant” is a device that is inserted into the body and replaces some or all of the body's functions that have failed, and is powered by an electrical power source such as a battery.

Pacemakers are usually implanted under the skin or in the chest muscle, just below one of the two collarbones, and connect directly to the heart.

The bodily function in which the pacemaker is used is to monitor and stimulate heartbeat activity.

This means: If the heart beats too slowly, the HMS gives it an electromagnetic pulse - a light shock, so to speak - and thus forces the heart to keep its natural rhythmic beat.

A rhythmically beating heart ensures that oxygen and blood are pumped through the body at a steady rate.

If the heart beats too slowly or is impaired when it is working properly due to illness or injury, cardiac arrest and death can result from the interruption of blood flow.

A pacemaker is therefore vital for people with such an illness or injury, and people who have an HMS implant depend on its proper and permanent function.

However, strong magnetic fields can disrupt or even significantly impair this vital function.

Interesting: This is how a pacemaker is implanted

How do magnetic fields affect HMS function?

An HMS consists roughly of an electrode, a battery, a logic unit, a pulse generator and an ECG measuring unit.

The lead is the connection between the heart and the pacemaker.

These are used to transmit electrical impulses, which are emitted with every heartbeat, to the ECG measuring unit.

The measuring unit summarizes the impulses in an electrocardiogram (ECG) and the logic unit, based on the measured values, determines when an electromagnetic pulse should be generated by the impulse generator and how strong it must be.

Magnets generate electromagnetic fields that affect the flow of electricity.

These fields are invisible and permeate everything, including the human body.

Electrical impulses, which are generated during a heartbeat, are also current flows and can therefore be influenced by magnetic fields.

In short: strong magnetic fields can distort electrical impulses conducted from the heart via the lead and the HMS, or add entirely new electrical signals.

As a result, the ECG created by the measuring unit is falsified and the logic unit gives the pulse generator the wrong pulse or, in the worst case, stops it.  

In this way, electromagnetic fields can interfere with the pacemaker generating the right pulse at the right moment.

What are the risks these days?

Pacemakers have been around for over 70 years.

Since 2002, the number of people with HMS in Germany alone has more than doubled.

At the same time, technology has become more accessible and practical by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years.

Modern electrical devices such as mobile phones or massage devices are available in almost every household and all have built-in magnets that generate magnetic fields when used.

Nevertheless, despite the increase in HMS patients and magnetic fields in everyday life, cases of HMS malfunctions have decreased in recent years.

Modern HMS implants are high-tech.

In the meantime, in addition to the components mentioned above, a data memory and a programming unit have also been built into the HMS.

As a result, the HMS is not solely dependent on the measured ECG values ​​to generate the correct pulse, but can use clever programming to recognize when a new ECG has been influenced by a magnetic field using previously measured and stored data.

In such a case, the HMS switches to an automatic standard mode and forces the heart to beat at a regular rate until the wearer is again outside the interfering magnetic field.

The transition to such a mode is usually not even noticed by the HMS carrier.

The magnetic field in question thus has no noticeable impact on the well-being of the wearer.

Another important advance is the design of the lead, the most sensitive part of the pacemaker.

A process that is becoming more modern and progressive every year. There are now models on the market that have two electrodes and halve the risk of interference from magnetic fields.

Modern pacemakers with bipolar electrodes can withstand magnetic fields with a frequency of up to 650 Hz without interference.

Most electrical devices in everyday life are therefore harmless as long as they are not too close or directly to the pacemaker when they are used.

Basically, the closer the source of the magnetic field is to the pacemaker, the stronger this field and the higher the risk of interference.

Electrical devices in Germany are therefore subject to strict regulations and specifications with regard to the permitted strength of the generated magnetic field.

Not least because extremely strong magnetic fields pose a health risk even for people without a pacemaker.

Where is the connection to massage chairs?

Like every other modern electrical device, massage chairs also have built-in magnets.

In addition, various additional features such as surround sound speakers, mounted tablets and more create their own small magnetic fields.

Someone who uses a massage chair lies in these various magnetic fields - often for more than half an hour.

For the average user, massage chairs are completely harmless.

But how dangerous can that be for HMS carriers?

Knowledge is power. In this case: knowledge is caution.

In most cases, the wellness devices are also harmless for HMS wearers.

While massage chairs are electrically powered, most are designed so that the motor - the source of the magnetic field - is located deeper in the internal gears and not directly under the seat upholstery.

The smaller magnetic fields generated by the various luxury features are not strong enough to cause interference with the HMS.

When assessing the risk, a lot also depends on the HMS type of the carrier.

The sensitivity of a pacemaker is often individually adjusted by the cardiologist as needed.

Some wearers need to use the features of your HMS more often than others and are more susceptible to magnetic interference - even when wearers have the same model implanted.

It is absolutely important for a wearer to know what type of HMS is implanted and how sensitive it has been set.

Every HMS wearer should have a pacemaker ID card that contains important information and should check with his/her cardiologist about the tolerable limits of the personal pacemaker.

It is also advisable to have a magnetic field measuring device with you to measure the strength of existing magnetic fields.


Basically, you should be able to use a massage chair with a modern pacemaker. 

Nevertheless, the following applies: All information presented here is not intended as a substitute or alternative to information from doctors or therapists.

Please consult your doctor whether you can use your HMS with a massage chair.




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