Multiple studies have proven the many health benefits of massage therapy. One research shows that just 10 minutes of receiving a massage can alleviate the physical and mental effects of stress, helping you maintain your general well-being.
Luckily, you don’t have to go to a spa just to get a massage. A massage chair can give you the therapeutic benefits you want in your own home. Even a value-priced chair can relieve the tension in your muscles. But premium massage chairs have robust features that offer immediate relaxation and other convenience benefits.
The key is to choose the right the massage chair – one that matches your lifestyle and health needs. OSIM shares this guide on what to look for in a massage chair to make sure that you’re making the most out of your investment.
Basic Massage Chair Features
1. Massage Rollers
Rollers are the mechanism that imitates the pressing and rolling motions of a massage. Massage chairs normally offer three kinds of rollers: 2D, 3D and 4D. These roller mechanisms are designed to penetrate the muscle at different depths.
2D Massage Rollers
These rollers offer the least intense pressure. A 2D massage system works only on your surface muscles and doesn’t reach the deeper ones. It’s ideal for casual users who just want to wind down after a long day at work.
3D Massage Rollers
A 3D massage system is the most common roller mechanism. The rollers work deep in your back and shoulder muscles, perfect for alleviating muscle pain and soreness. Compared to 2D rollers, 3D ones protrude more from the track to reach areas that an average massage chair neglects, such as the upper neck and shoulders.
4D Massage Rollers
These rollers have the most intense muscle penetration, offering deep tissue massages that achieve almost immediate pain relief. A 4D massage system is ideal for people who experience chronic muscle soreness and have physically demanding jobs.
2. Massage Track
The massage track is where the rollers are mounted, so it determines the areas that the rollers can reach. Here are the two common types of massage tracks:
The S-track is the earliest track design. It follows the curvature of your spine, so most of the massage pressure is focused on different areas of your back. This is ideal for those who frequently experience neck and upper back pain.
An L-track has a curved shape similar to an S-track. The difference is that the bottom part of an L-track is longer, reaching the hamstrings and glutes. If you frequently experience pain and soreness in your thigh muscles, an L-track massage chair is perfect for you.
Newer massage chairs have started combining the S- and L-track design. These models offer a full-body massage experience, alleviating pain in your neck and glutes.
3. Airbag Massage
Massage chairs often have two massage modes: roller-based and airbag-based. Airbags are small pouches of pressurized air often located in the sides and legs of the massage chair. The compression massage provided by the airbags stimulate your lymphatic system and blood flow, removing toxins from your body.
You can adjust the intensity of the airbag massage, just like with rollers. Plus, you can concentrate the pressure on just one part of your body, such as your back or legs.
4. Foot and Calf Massage
Most massage chairs have foot and calf ports. Typically, airbags are used for calves, while dual rollers are used for the feet. Value-priced chairs offer a simple vibration-style massage for the feet. There are also premium chairs that are equipped with a foot reflexology feature, which achieves a deeper massage for your soles.
If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, a massage chair with a leg port can alleviate the pain in your calf muscles.
5. Heated Massage
Heat helps loosen up your muscles, making them more pliant to the rolling and pressing movements of the chair. This way, the rollers and airbags can penetrate deeper into your tissues, delivering a more relaxing massage.
Together, heat and massage improve your muscle flexibility and mobility. This helps prevent injuries and reduce the intensity of your muscle pain the next time you perform a strenuous activity.
Most massage chairs have a recline feature, but only the premium ones offer the Zero Gravity option. The Zero Gravity setting is inspired by NASA’s neutral body posture specifications. It raises your legs above your heart, emulating the feeling of weightlessness that astronauts feel in space. This position lifts the pressure on your joints, which helps achieve a deeper, more relaxing full-body massage.
Additional Massage Chair Features
High-end massage chairs have additional features that can elevate your relaxation or make the chair more convenient to use. Here are some of the popular additions:
Massage chairs are bulky, which is a downside if you have limited space at home. Luckily, some chairs come in a space-saving design. These recline fully in just a few inches, so you don’t need five feet of space to get a massage.
Hideaway ottomans are also a space-saving feature. For example, you can easily tuck the foldable leg port away when you’re not using it.
Memory slots allow you to program your favourite massage options, saving them for later reuse. Most chairs offer three memory slots, allowing three different kinds of massage combinations. Some higher-priced massage chairs have five to eight memory slots, ideal for family use.
MP3 support in massage chairs comes in three ways: SSD card insertion, USB port or Bluetooth compatibility. The third option is the most convenient one but also the most expensive.
How to Choose a Massage Chair
Your budget should be your first point of consideration. Determine your budget first then shop around for a massage chair with the best features. Of course, you should also consider your lifestyle and your available space at home.
For instance, if you have chronic back pain but your flat can’t accommodate a full-body massage chair, you can opt for an upper body massager instead.
If you need assistance on choosing the right massage chair, OSIM is here to guide you. Tell us what you’re looking for and your preferred price points and we’ll recommend high-quality massagers for you.