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Massage chairs could pose a fracture risk to osteoporosis sufferers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- When considering giving a massage chair as a gift to friends or family, it is important to be aware that for people suffering from osteoporosis, the devices may pose an increased risk of bone fractures, according to a local physician.

Du Si-de (杜思德), the superintendent of Changhua Christian Hospital, Lukang branch, said that both men and women can suffer from osteoporosis, and the mortality rate for conditions related to the disease is higher for men than women. There are around 590,000 men at risk of suffering from osteoporosis in Taiwan due to low bone density, Du added.

Although massages can be relaxing, there is still risk that people may be injured in the process, Du stated.

Recently a 60-year-old man suffered from partial paralysis because of a massage, doctors said. There were also contributing factors such as the man's smoking habit and low bone density, explained Chen Jian-min (陳建民), a doctor at Changhua Christian Hospital. Although the surgery was successful and the man recovered, he never regained his former mobility.

Chen also warned that if a massage or spa water is too strong, osteoporosis patients may suffer from fractures or even paralysis in rare cases.

Massage chairs can help to alleviate sprains and tense muscles, but overuse may lead to strokes for people who suffer from heart disease and hypertension, according to Tian An-ran (田安然), a traditional Chinese-medicine doctor.

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