Top 4 things to consider before buying a Massage Chair
Purchasing a massage chair can be a life-enhancing investment in your mind and body, but involves research and critical decision-making to make sure that money is well spent. When it comes to massage chairs, it's what's on the inside that really counts and the company behind it to make sure it runs smoothly for years to come. We've identified the 4 key things to help you in our massage chair buying decision process:
#1 MASSAGE CHAIR FEATURES
2D vs 3D vs 4D Back Mechanisms (sometimes call Robots):
- 2D: massage chair rollers move in two dimensions (X and Y axes): up and down from your neck to your back and side to side.
- 3D: massage works on X, Y, and Z axes designed to make it feel more like human hands massaging you. The rollers are able to push further out into your back with multiple intensity options.
4D: taking 3D to the next level, the rollers in a 4D massage chair protrude further out and can move up and down, side to side, and back and forth incorporating variations of massage styles and speeds, giving you more control of the strength, depth, and delivery of your massage.
- S-Track: the S in S-Track stands for "sinusoidal", which is just a fancy way to say "wave". These roller tracks follow the curve of the spine, moving up and down from the neck to the lower back.
L-Track: works the same way as an S-Track, but extends further down the body from your neck to your glutes or hamstrings.
Massage Therapy and Intensity:
- A massage chair uses airbags and numerous areas that may have motorized rollers to create therapeutic massage. The more areas with airbags and motorized rollers, the more massage coverage to the body. More expensive chairs tend to have far better coverage, utilizing more airbags and motorized rollers, thus a higher level of therapy. Massage intensity can be controlled by changing the amount of air in the compression airbags; increasing the amount of air increases intensity. In 3D and 4D chairs, you can also change the depth of the back rollers to increase or decrease back intensity. Massage chairs come with removable padding, which allows you to customize your massage intensity over time. A 3D or 4D chair gives you the best option to choose lighter or stronger intensity, when you need it.
- Many massage chairs offer different types of massage techniques that are suited for specific areas and personal expectations. A chair with a combination of massage techniques will give you the ability to customize your massage each time. These include Deep-Tissue, Shiatsu, Swedish, Kneading, Percussion, Reflexology, Kneading, and Tapping.
Massage Chair Recline Functions
- Recline: massage chairs articulate to recline the backrest and elevate the feet. These actions can be combined to create stretching movements and spinal decompression in better-designed chairs. Beware of chairs that do not allow you to work the backrest and the footrest independently. They do not cost as much, but they are less effective.
- Zero Gravity Recline: this position elevates the feet slightly above the heart for improved circulation.
- True Inversion Stretch: the chair reclines below a horizontal level, to below 180 degrees. This technique puts your body inverted with your head down and heels up to relieve pressure on the vertebrae.
Near-Flat Reclining S-Track: gives you a full-body stretch — the hips are held in place while the legs are pulled down, stretching your back.
Other Important Features to Consider:
- Manual Massage Zones: the more advanced the chair, the more manual options you will have to work on specific needs such as neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, glutes, arms, hands, legs, feet and calves.
- Heat: many chairs come with penetrating lumber heat to loosen and relax muscles. Some chairs come with multiple heat zones in the hands, back, and feet
- Reflexology Massage: Foot rollers combine with compression air cells to hit target points on the sole of your feet for benefits throughout your body. Reflexology rollers range from single to triple rollers per foot. The air cells on the top provide compression massage and intensity for the foot rollers below.
- Calf Rollers and Oscillation Massage: found only in premium chairs, these features make for the world's best foot and calf massage available today. Motorized calf rollers in the back and oscillation kneading on the sides.
- Hand Massage: uses airbags and compression to knead your forearm, wrists, and palms.
- Zero Wall Space-Saving Technology: this allows for less space to fully recline the chair. The chair slides forward as it reclines only requiring a few inches between the chair and the wall. Make sure you consider your space requirements before buying.
- Body Scanning Technology: this allows the chair to pinpoint your size and shape to provide a customized massage.
- Massage chair size minimums and maximums: be sure to check the specifications in the chair descriptions to check the chair fits your body type. Most chairs have a large height and weight range to accommodate multiple family members.
- Some cool extras: iOS and Android APP functionality, Chromotherapy, Air Ionizer, Intuitive Remote Control, Intelligent Voice Control, Bluetooth Speakers, Wireless Charging all add to the massage experience
#2 MASSAGE CHAIR PRICE
Basic? High-end? Top of the line? You will need to do some research and find a balance between your budget and the features you'd like in a massage chair. Typically, less expensive massage chairs offer basic vibration and fixed massage similar to what is available in a massaging seat topper. You are paying for the chair frame to be added on but gaining no therapeutic benefit. As you move up in price, the smoother the massage quality and the better the coverage. As you might expect, cheaper chairs are typically made of cheaper materials. Consider the longevity of the chair and how long it will last. Cheaper chairs should be considered if use will be infrequent and the precision of the massage is not important. If you are looking for frequent massages and have problem areas that are difficult or very specific, then often times you will need to invest in a higher quality massage chair.
- Certified Pre-Owned Massage Chairs are another way to get a premium massage chair at a great price. Make sure the chair has been inspected by factory-trained technicians and look into what process the chairs go through before hitting the sales floor. Some companies offer preowned warrant's as well.
#3 MASSAGE CHAIR WARRANTY, SERVICE & PARTS
It is important to know if a chair comes with a warranty. It gives you peace of mind in the event anything goes wrong with your massage chair. Make sure the warranty covers the structural frame, replacement parts, and labor. Most companies have extended warranty options available as well for an additional cost.