More than 250 cases of injuries caused by massage equipment were reported over the past five years, with 60 percent of victims aged over 60, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan said.
The center said Thursday the number is showing an increasing trend, warning that the use of such equipment by people with weak bones, back pain or skin disorders could lead to accidents such as fractured bones or internal bleeding due to the strong pressure exerted by the devices.
Out of 253 cases reported between April 2010 and December last year, 83 cases, the largest number, were caused by massage chairs, including one case in which a person sustained a fractured rib after getting caught between the arms of the chair, it said.
Another 49 cases were caused by foot massage devices and 22 by bed-type equipment, according to the center, which said 70 percent of the cases involved women.
It said 38 cases led to injuries that needed treatment for more than a month, including damages to the spinal cord, and 46 cases took place when users tried the devices displayed at retailers or at hotels and public baths.
The center said people under medical treatment should check with doctors and equipment manufacturers about whether they can use such devices, and asked makers to carefully explain the use of such devices.