#3 - Massage Chair Quality
You'll see huge price variations when you're shopping for a massage chair, and they all sound absolutely fantastic when you're doing your research, no matter what the level of quality it is.
Most look alike, but there's enormous differences in:
a) Mechanical design
b) The quality of the components used during construction, and
c) The quality of the massage itself.
The size of the chair, the quality of the fabric and the padding, and the quality of the back roller mechanism and the back rollers, all will affect the quality of your massage.
The quality of the mechanical parts and electronics, plus the quality of the installation of all of these parts, and even the quality control at the factory, all will determine how long a massage chair will last.
Like anything else - you'll get what you pay for, and there's no way around it.
The photos on this page shows the difference in the qualities of the back roller mechanisms - from an $800-, $3800-, and an $8000- massage chair.
#4 - S -Track or an L-Track - Which is a better massage chair for you?
The advantage of the S-Track design, is that the Stretch program can be more effective than that of an L-track's.
The S-track's backrest is a separate component from the seat, giving the backrest a greater range of motion.
The advantage of an L-Track massage chair, is that the back roller mechanism has a substantially longer reach, traveling under the seat and relaxing more of your muscles and connective tissues.
L-Tracks also have a Stretch program and they do accomplish the task, but depending on the model, the intensity of the stretch may not equal that of an S-track, because the backrest and seat are a single component.
Please note that recent design advancements have improved the stretching capabilities of L-tracks, which is just another reason to try it before you buy it!
#5 - 2D, 3D, 4D, 6D?
When we're talking about D's, we're referring to the method used to adjust the back roller intensity.
2D - This model adjusts the roller intensity by utilizing gravity, your body weight, and by changing the position of the backrest. The further back the chair is reclined, the more intense the roller massage will be, because more of your body weight is over the rollers.
3D - A true 3D massage chair has the ability to adjust the back rollers out and away from the roller track, using a manual adjustment on the remote.
This provides the user with the ability to physically adjust the back roller intensity, while leaving the position of the chair where you're most comfortable in.
4D - There is no difference between a true 3D massage chair, and a 4D massage chair - A few years ago roller speed adjustments, which is a standard adjustment on all massage chairs, was added to the "D's", making a 3D massage chair, a 4D.
6D - The Daiwa Supreme Hybrid is the first massage chair to tout a 6D massage, due to the 2 separate sets of roller tracks, each with their own 3D roller mechanisms.
Please note: Some companies label their 2D chairs as 3D, because of the air pressure adjustments to the air massage. Buyer beware.
Please note: A button on a remote that's labelled strength or intensity, usually only controls the roller speeds.
#6 - Space Savers
An important thing to keep in mind when shopping for the right massage chair, is the amount of space that you have for its placement.
Some chairs require as much as 20" of space behind it, to allow the chair to fully recline.
Space savers require much less, and can be placed as close as 1" to a wall, depending on the model.
#7 - Your Massage Chair Budget
If you're thinking about buying a quality massage chair, but feel that spending thousands of dollars is out of the question, calculate the monthly or annual expense of your current therapy, and how much of your time is spent driving to and from their location, and waiting.
Compare that with the expense and the convenience of doing your own in home massage therapy.
Chances are, you'll find that the purchase of a quality massage chair, will actually pay for itself.