By Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The backaches of the future may have a new remedy -- developers say a robot masseuse is now treating patients in Singapore.
It is used alongside a doctor and massage therapist and, the developers said, "provides a massage that is described by patients as almost indistinguishable from a professional masseuse."
The device was developed by AiTreat, a technology startup company launched at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Use of the robot began Oct. 9 at the NovaHealth Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic in Singapore.
Emma has sensors that measure tendon and muscle stiffness and can calculate the optimal massage and track a patient's recovery over a course of treatments, according to the developers.
They said the device could offer a low-cost option for chronic pain management.
"By using Emma to do the labor-intensive massages, we can now offer a longer therapy session for patients while reducing the cost of treatment," AiTreat founder Albert Zhang said in a university news release. "The human therapist is then free to focus on other areas, such as the neck and limb joints, which Emma can't massage at the moment."