Two principles carefully considered by top massage chair manufacturers are the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). They apply interactive and visual design principles to the devices used to control massage chair settings to create a positive, satisfying, and cohesive user experience.
Specifically the user interface is how you control your massage chair’s features and functions. The user experience is how well a device enables you to get what you need from the chair. So, while the remote control system may not be the first thing you consider when shopping for a massage chair, it can play a key role in how happy you are with the overall massage chair experience.
That may not be clear initially when you are trying different chairs at a Furniture For Life showroom, but the Comfort Consultant assisting you will point it out. The goal when using a massage chair is, of course, to feel more relaxed. It is harder to achieve that state when your massage chair remote control is confusing or frustrating. While the massage chair controller is not the product’s most important feature, it can play a key role in separating the good chairs from the great ones.
Consequently, it is helpful to learn about massage chair remotes, including what different versions can (and cannot) do and how gracefully they can do it!
Understanding Massage Chair Remote Controls
Massage chair settings (like the chairs themselves) have become highly sophisticated over the last few decades. Many top-of-the-line massage chair models come equipped with an array of options and modalities for a customizable experience.
As a result, addressing the functions in one, easy-to-navigate remote control system has been an ongoing challenge for massage chair manufacturers for some time now. Operating these high-tech furnishings requires more than a simple On/Off switch. But the controls still need to be practical and intuitive. That’s especially true since what most users want to do is turn on the chair and turn off their busy mind for a while. The last thing they need is to be forced to wrestle with a device to get their session started.
Fortunately, manufacturers have been fairly successful in creating massage chair remote controls, handsets, and touchscreens that are comprehensive yet easy to use.
Common Remote Controls for Massage Chairs
Each manufacturer decides how massage chair settings will be selected and changed on its products—whether that’s a massage chair remote, app, or some other type of massage chair controller. Below are some of the more common approaches.
Corded Remote Controls
Modern massage chairs frequently come with a corded remote control. While many new technologies today are wireless, manufacturers often prefer cords. One reason for that preference is that a corded remote control cannot get far from the chair, preventing the frustration of losing the chair’s control device.
A cordless remote control can also fall out of reach during a massage. That is problematic since you need it to stop your session or change any massage chair settings while using the chair. Most massage chairs are also equipped with a pouch or holder for the remote control, making it easy to store and reach at all times.
Light-Up Touch Screens and Navigational Buttons
Another feature you will commonly find on modern massage chair controls is illuminated touch screens and buttons. This feature allows for visibility in low-light or totally dark environments.
Many users find it maximizes their relaxation to use their chair in dim light or darkness. In these cases, it is impractical to have a massage chair remote control that cannot be seen well or at all in the dark. Soft blue light makes the screens easy to view and navigate in the dark.
Massage Chair Apps
While not standard on all models, an app that enables you to control massage chair settings from your phone is offered by some brands. Many people find this approach ideal since the familiar interface of their phone makes it simple to understand how to operate the chair. A massage chair app is also convenient for controlling features available through Bluetooth connectivity.
However, massage chair apps have drawbacks. For one thing, they require having your phone with you, and its notifications and alerts can be a source of stress when you’re wanting to “unplug.” Also, if the chair does not have a dedicated place to store your phone, it is easy for it to slip down into the chair, which can be a problem. In addition, some manufacturers don’t put as much effort into the app’s design as they do the chair’s attached remote. They may also fail to update the app to keep pace with your phone’s operating system updates. Both of these issues can result in you being unhappy with the user experience.
Massage Chair Remote Control Navigation
The display on your massage chair remote control will be unique to your model. Understanding how to navigate it to modify various standard or custom settings is crucial to enjoying your chair.
Most massage chair remotes have a digital display listing the settings. For example, you might see “Swedish massage,” “Deep tissue massage,” “Shiatsu,” etc., if your chair offers those options. Your massage chair controller may also list different body parts—upper/lower back, shoulders, arms, legs, feet, etc.
Exploring these massage chair settings lets you control your experience. You can also use the remote to manage characteristics like intensity.
Many massage chairs come with preset massage modalities for those who want to jump in quickly. Others will have recommended settings for different types of experiences. For instance, a faster-paced massage can rejuvenate early in the day, while a slower, more relaxing massage can help you unwind in the evening.
Massage Chair High-Tech Features and Terminology
Now that you understand a bit about how massage chair remote controls work, you may wonder what kind of settings they manage. Specific features will vary from one chair to the next. But one thing that is consistent across all high-end massage chairs is their wide range of massage settings.
Below are some terms you should know when navigating your massage chair remote control.
For a massage to be comfortable, it needs to fit the individual’s body. A smart massage chair can actually scan and assess the user’s body size and shape before the session begins to optimize the experience. This is an important feature, especially when multiple people will be using the chair.
A massage that is calibrated for someone who is 6 feet tall will not be the same as one for a person who is 5 feet tall. A body scan can take measurements beforehand to identify the size and contours of the user’s body and pinpoint exactly where areas like their shoulders, neck, head, and lower back begin. Based on that information, the chair can direct pressure with tremendous accuracy for each user.
Bluetooth Massage Chair
As mentioned above, many high-end massage chair models have Bluetooth capability. Bluetooth enables users to manage additional components of their massage chair experience. They can connect to their devices to play soothing music or ambient sounds, control the lighting, and more.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Massage Chairs
There is no agreed-upon definition for what it means to be an “AI massage chair.” If a manufacturer uses that term, it’s important to investigate and understand the chair’s capabilities.
Get Help With Your Choice of Massage Chair and Accessories
If you are not sure what type of massage chair and control system is right for you, we can help! Take this quiz to get started.
Then, visit a Furniture For Life showroom. We want you to be sure you love a chair before you buy it. After all, this is a significant purchase, and not just in cost. The massage chair you purchase will be an essential element in your home for many years to come. So, from functionality to aesthetic appeal, it is vital that you get the right model.
And once you have found the right chair with the right remote control, you can look forward to enjoying amazing in-home massages whenever the mood strikes you.