Naked, are you safer with a stranger or a robot?

By Christian Mackin  /  Mar 6, 2019

People generally believe Massage therapy relieves pain and stress and that it’s a far better alternative to prescription drugs or surgery but it still doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Why is that?

I think it’s because, among other things like economics and convenience, massage has a reputation for sexual misconduct that people don’t want to associate with. Nobody wants the jokes to be about them or worse; nobody wants to get assaulted.

I also think for people with body image issues, the last thing that will relieve their stress is having a stranger rubbing the imperfections they have the most insecurities about.

In 2013 an offroad vehicle accident left me with a broken neck and back. Doctors replaced the crushed parts of my spine with titanium to prevent paralysis and prescribed physical therapy to help me recover.

During therapy, I imagined a massage robot that people can talk to in their natural language and normal voice and now thanks to the engineers at IBM, we can do just that with Watson. You can tell the robot what you want in the same way you talk to a therapist.

Watson also stores user profile data and is amassing thousands of lifetimes of experience in its neural network, cataloging what humans like and learning what doctors and therapists prescribe. Designing and engineering a life-size massage robot was more than just connecting motors and gears; it was creating a machine with artificial intelligence and rethinking our relationship with robots for the future.

Deep learning algorithms and AI is what brings life to the robot we call Alex who will soon be able to recognize pain and stress patterns and provide relief in a way no human therapist can.

Massage therapy is supposed to relax you and reduce pain, but that is not always what happens. There are good massages and bad massages. I believe a robot can deliver a perfect massage every time and a robot will never get tired, never judge and never need a tip.

We have questioned every aspect of the human massage experience to create a robot that biomimics a therapist. It has been engineered to deliver a therapeutic experience that is different than anything people have felt before but in a way that they always wished was possible. It’s remarkable how human a robot can make you feel.

I created this robot to transform how we find relief from the stress and pain of life and so that everyone can make massage therapy a significant part of their overall wellness program.

Just for the feel of it, I invite you to come and be touch by a robot.

About the Author


Founder and CEO of Massage Robotics since 2016.
Serial Entrepreneur, Product Designer, Mechanical Engineer.

View more posts by Christian Mackin.