The Different Types of Massage Chairs
Every human body is different. Each one comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as with its own unique set of aches and pains. Since human bodies are so different from each other, it makes sense that there are so many different types of massage chairs on the market today. But since the terminology describing these different types of massage chairs can become confusing for those new to the world of massage chairs, we have endeavored to break some of these words down.
Most massage chairs fall under the category of being “full-body” massage chairs. As the name implies, these chairs target the entire body including the neck, shoulders, back, legs, and, in many cases, the feet. These chairs can offer simple relaxation or go deeper, focusing on a deeper tissue massage. This all depends on the type of technology used to power it.
Rollers, or small wheel-like devices that roll over muscles mimicking human hands, are standard in many massage chairs; however, that doesn’t mean that every roller-based massage chair is the same. There are several different configurations for rollers designed to tackle different needs.
The S in S-track stands for sinusoidal. In math, this term refers to a graph that has a wave with a smooth, periodic oscillation- a wave that goes up and down in a smooth, continuous curve. In massage chairs, it refers to rollers moving in a similar way, primarily targeting the back. This wave-based path allows S-track rollers to follow the natural curve of the spine the same way a masseuse would.
An L-track roller, or an extended track roller, also has a roller that goes down the back; however, the roller continues down to the buttock and the hamstring, relieving tension there. Unlike the curved path of the S-track though, an L-track roller system usually focuses on a straight path. This can be good for those needing a more rigorous massage; however, it can be a bit harsh on the back. To avoid this problem, many manufacturers are now combining these technologies.
SL-tracks provide the best of both worlds when it comes to roller tracks. Like the S-track roller, SL-tracks move in a wave-like pattern, following the curve of the back, but they extend all the way to the hamstrings in an L pattern. This allows the chair to be gentler on the spine and provide an immersive, full-body massage experience.
Along with the track that they follow, massage chair rollers can also be classified by the dimensions that they follow. By dimensions, we mean the direction that the rollers move as they travel along their tracks. There are three classifications commonly given for roller dimensions: 2D, 3D, and 4D. 2D rollers move in two directions: up and down and side to side, and the speed can generally be increased as they travel along the body. This is utilized for a simpler massage. 3D rollers provide a deeper massage by moving in three directions, up and down, side to side, and forward and backward. This simulates a masseuse putting added pressure on a muscle while massaging. 4D rollers do all this and add the fourth dimension of speed. Although speed is something that can be adjusted on the 2D and 3D rollers, 4D rollers typically allow a greater level of customization, such as having the rollers speed up as they reach the top of the back and then slow down again as they travel back down.
Rollers are often the star of the show when it comes to massage chairs; however, they are not the only thing that makes up the massage chair experience. There are several other features and accessories that can take your relaxation and wellness to a whole new level.
Heated Massage Chairs
Heat has long been known as an effective way to help relax muscles, whether it’s through a dip in a hot tub or a nice warm shower at the end of a rough day. It’s only natural that heat would find its way into the massage world as well. Heated massage chairs and accessories often do the same things that other chairs do, but add a heated component in order to help further ease muscle tension, spasms, and pain, as well as increase blood flow and improve sleep.
We discussed this technology briefly in a previous blog. To summarize, using air in a massage chair involves equipping a chair with several airbags that inflate and deflate at the touch of a button, putting pressure on larger muscles. This type of feature on a chair is perfect for those who are needing a deeper massage, such as athletes or those recovering from injuries.
Another little-known application of the airbag technology in massage chairs is to help with muscle stretching. Body stretching programs start with putting pressure on the muscles using the airbag, then adjusting the position of the chair. As the chair begins to massage in this state, the muscles then gradually stretch, improving circulation and back posture. The benefits of stretching and good posture include reduced back pain, a decrease in the frequency of headaches, and improved performance for athletes.
Zero Gravity Chairs
For a chair to get the nickname “zero gravity,” the focus becomes less about the massage technology itself and more so on the position of the chair. Zero Gravity chairs are called that because they give you the sensation of weightlessness by reclining backward and elevating the legs to the level of your heart. This position has a number of unique benefits, including decompressing your spine which lessens pressure on spinal disks, as well as releasing tension and pain. This also helps with pinched nerves and other conditions such as myelothophy and claudication. The zero-gravity position also decreases heart pressure and helps with the oxidation of the blood.
How do I Choose?
With so many unique features, deciding on a massage chair becomes rather difficult. Ultimately, the most important deciding factor for choosing a massage chair is your own personal need and lifestyle. For some, there are specific health issues needing to be tackled, such as chronic joint pain or a muscle injury. For others, they simply want to relax at the end of the day. The different types of massage chairs out there today are designed to meet those different needs. And for someone wanting a taste of all these features, they need look no further than our luxury massage chairs and accessories.