The newest 2021 massage chairs offer a variety of features, including zero-gravity, wall-hugging, shiatsu massage, reclining, Japanese design or origin, heated, full-body and, 4D, to name a few. The seamless union of this multitude of features inside a single gloriously designed machine will make you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and just pretty amazing overall.
The most recent models from the best massage chair brands offer a mix of designs, technology, massage style options, and programs. The right massage chair is capable of providing a professional and therapeutic massage experience in the comfort of your own home, without the need to make an appointment days in advance and drive to a massage therapist.
In-Home Massage Therapy
A premium massage chair offers a fantastic massage while saving you time and money, by making treatment available 24/7 without ever leaving your home. Massage chairs also make it possible for people who are uncomfortable with human massage therapists to receive the benefits of massage in a 100% comfortable, stranger-free setting.
The best massage chairs are attractive, capable, and long-lasting. The perfect chair will provide long-term health benefits to the whole family for years to come.
Massage Chair Features
Massage chairs offer a range of functions, and no one chair can “do it all” for everyone. But as you continue to explore the massage chair market, there are some main features you’ll find that stand out. Furniture For Life Comfort Consultants can assist you in selecting a chair based on the chair features that will get you the results you crave to experience. Whether pain relief or deep mediation, the perfect chair for you is waiting. Reach out to chat with our comfort consultants or contact us if you would like our massage chair experts to help you in your search.
Here are some things to consider in the meantime:
High-end massage chairs present a wide variety of techniques that mimic sensations you would expect to feel from a professional masseuse. These include touch, tapping, rolling, kneading, stretching, reflexology, and acupressure, intended to simulate Shiatsu, Swedish, Deep-tissue, and other massage modalities. Many massaging chairs offer these automatic, pre-programmed options for these therapeutic massage experiences.
Massage Chair Mechanics & Mechanisms:
Massage chairs today do more than just work on your back. You can find massage chairs that provide leg & foot massage, neck traction, hip and iliotibial band massage, forearm, hand, and even fingertip massage.
Massage Chair’s Motors
These massages are delivered by synchronized motor-driven back massage assemblies (often called “massage engines”) a system of air cells, and actuators responsible for the movements of the backrest and footrest of the massage chair. Recent innovations include additional mechanical massagers that focus on the neck and occiput (back section of the skull) and mechanical roller arrays that target the forearms.
Massaging Rollers & Air Bags
Mechanical rollers can operate at different speeds and different intensities, allowing the user to control and tailor the massage experience. Air cells—inflatable bladders located strategically in different parts of the chair— inflate and deflate, simulating the compressing touch of an expert masseuse or body technician. When air cells and rollers are properly programmed to work in tandem, you experience the height of what is possible from a massage chair.
Heated Massage Chair Therapy:
Importantly, most high-quality massage chairs offer the option of heat applied to the low back, and in some cases, the cervical spine or the seat, and even fingers, soles, and calves. The heated massage chairs we offer generate heat through infrared warming elements installed either in chair padding, massage rollers, or both.
Moreover, the addition of infrared heat makes your massage significantly more effective by helping your muscles relax. Your body also generates heat as blood moves toward the surface of the skin with a well-choreographed heated massage session. This is a virtuous circle in which infrared heat provided by your massage chair enhances the effects of the natural heat that you feel on the surface of your skin, and the mechanical action of massage stimulates circulation.
Sitting upright during a massage is typical of a chair you might find in a shopping mall. Even though that no doubt feels good, studies have shown that a recliner option available in most contemporary massage chairs boosts the health benefits that a chair can provide and your own sense of relaxation.
High-end massage chairs feature a variety of recline options, including zero-gravity. The concept of zero-gravity derives from NASA Skylab missions, during which the “neutral posture” of the human body in microgravity— the weightlessness that astronauts feel in space—was a subject of research. A True Zero-Gravity® massage chair places your body in a gravity-neutral position, lowering your heart rate, reducing tension, promoting healthy circulation, and lowering blood pressure.
The benefits of a massage chair’s reclining position differ for L-Track, S-track, and what the engineers at OHCO have trademarked “MaxTrack” designs. An L-track massage chair achieves zero-gravity with the benefits described above. An S-track massage chair cannot offer zero gravity recline, but it can lie flat (or nearly flat) and provide superior stretching for the user. A MaxTrack™ chair can do it all: stretch you, place your body in zero gravity, and recline you to a nearly flat position.
Okay, so maybe you think “attractive design” and massage chairs are oxymorons, and you wouldn’t be alone. But we challenge you to think again and take a look at the chairs on Furniture For Life. The industry has changed, and OHCO has now brought a chair lineup designed by one of the greatest designers in the world. ‘Times they are a-changin’, and we think you’ll LOVE what you see!
If you are shopping for a massage chair that will double as a lounger in your living room or den, you’re going to want something attractive. Not a vintage Buick or Barcalounger with some extra, protruding ugly bits parked in the corner.
Today’s massage chairs are designed by engineers with the eyes of an artist, like Ken Okuyama. The creative genius behind the world’s most iconic automotive styles for Ferrari and Pininfarina. Some chairs are touted as “works of art,” and indeed, they are beautiful. Many feature genuine top-grain leather upholstery, some with real black walnut trim.
The exceptional craftsmanship in premium massage chairs will last a lifetime. Best of all, you can find something that looks as beautiful as it feels.
Massage Choreography: Seldom Mentioned, Incredibly Important
It takes a long time to design a massage chair. All the internal mechanisms and supporting frameworks are the domain of engineers in Japan and China. Circuit boards have to be designed. The massage mechanism— the very heart of the chair’s functionality—is a very complicated technical piece of machinery.
The better-run factories are good at hardware design. They see this as the most significant challenge of bringing a massage chair to market. The best massage chair brands know that hardware is only 50% of the challenge of building a massage chair.
Where does the other half of the effort go? To planning, programming, and testing how a chair FEELS by finding the very best methods to get the most from the hardware and feature sets created by the mechanical engineers.
How much does it matter? If you ask us, it’s as important as any other aspect of a massage chair. We’ll need you to trust us here. Know that we make this claim with full confidence. No one else will tell you this, but here’s what we assert:
There are massage chairs that were built before 2010 that are BETTER AT MASSAGE than many of the “high-tech” models you find in the market today. Why? Because some older models were more carefully PROGRAMMED, and this program design more than makes up for a feature set that might not look as sexy on a comparison chart.
We operate under the assumption that of all the things a massage chair does, the most important to YOU is the quality of just one thing: the MASSAGE it provides. Are we onto something here?
Similarly, choreography is THE SECRET SAUCE. The very best brands understand this and invest a significant amount of time, energy, and money in this crucial step of the massage chair development process. Our Comfort Consultants are experts at guiding you in this area, which happens to be the LEAST MENTIONED AND MOST IMPORTANT thing you should consider when deciding to purchase a massage chair.
Benefits of a Massage Chair
Massage chairs are designed to provide a whole-body wellness experience. The best ones strive to mimic the massages offered by professionally certified massage therapists.
Owning the right premium massage chair will make its health benefits available to you 24/7 for years to come. If you think carefully about the math of it all amortized over years of service. The upfront massage chair cost aides in making an economical and convenient choice. (This is before you add the gas money to and from a massage clinic and the time you waste sitting in a car getting there.) We recommend that you turn that drive time into massage time.
The primary benefit of a massage chair is that it induces relaxation. Throughout the days and weeks, with the stress of our daily lives, our bodies accumulate significant tension and soreness. Often, we feel tired and stiff, which can lead to irritability and added stress. A massage chair can provide immediate relief and more subtle, long-lasting health benefits. We’ll also mention that a relaxed body and mind will most likely make a much happier person, and there’s nothing more valuable than being happier and healthier! At least, that’s what we think.
A capable, quality massage chair will work muscle tissue and fascia, improving flexibility and mobility when used consistently over time. Reclining functions help improve circulation (both vascular and lymphatic) lower blood pressure, reduce pressure on the lumbar spine, reduce back pain, and even potentially relieve symptoms of sciatica. Massage chairs have also been proven to help alleviate depression, chronic pain, joint issues, as well as manage type II diabetes symptoms, alleviate headaches and migraines, and more.
Massage Chair Research
As you do your research, think about what you need. You’ll find that heated massage chairs, zero-gravity massage chairs, full-body massage chairs, and those that offer intriguing extras such as chromotherapy, air ionization, and blue-tooth music support may be just what your mind and body have been telling you they need.
A massage chair is a serious investment in your overall health that can deliver incredible life-enhancing benefits to you and your family.
Where Was the Massage Chair Manufactured?
Let’s break this question down into three more revealing questions that offer more informative answers:
- Where was the massage chair designed?
- Who wrote the massage programs?
- What is the country of origin?
There’s a large difference between chairs that are designed in Chinese factories versus those designed in Japanese or American factories. Not to knock them, but Chinese engineers and factory operators lack insight into the US market and what our customers demand. As a result, these chairs tend to miss the mark in many ways.
Massage Chairs Made-In-China
Most companies locate the entire process—design, engineering, and assembly of their chairs —in China. Production costs are lowest there. Additionally, their manufacturing standards have significantly improved over the years. This is why 90% of the industry gets its products fully made in China. As far as basic quality and reliability go, “Made-in-China” should no longer be seen as a negative. It’s actually more important to understand the brand’s commitment to after-sale service.
Manufacturing Quality Control
True luxury massage chair brands, however, do more of their work (design, engineering, and assembly) in Japan or the US, and only outsource less critical decisions to Chinese manufacturing partners. Quality control is essential in the making of a high-end massage chair. Chinese manufacturing and production can be done very well, but only if the manufacturer is committed to quality control for each specific part and mechanical component. Unfortunately, there are low-cost (and low QC) factories that ship a lot of products around the world. So buyers need to be careful when making a purchase. If you see a price that’s too good to be true, just know that it probably is.
Moreover, Made-In-Japan products have enjoyed a very good reputation for quality. Some brands with the best reputations complete their manufacturing processes in Japan. It’s no surprise that Made-in-Japan massage chairs tend to cost more, but keep in mind that this additional initial investment will generally pay off in better-quality massage and a longer period of trouble-free service.
Massage Chair Questions? Ask Us.
If you have other questions about the features or benefits of specific massage chairs, contact Furniture For Life. Please be sure to also explore our Massage Chair Deals promotion page and Factory Certified Used Massage Chairs page. Lastly, we are here to support you with due diligence and research in your quest for the best massage chair. Our Comfort Consultants are committed to this cause. They’ll be patient and attentive all the way through your buying journey.