In Part 1, I discussed the headband airbag massage of the Osaki OS-7075R, mechanical foot rollers, the dreamwave technology and cervical traction device of the Inada Sogno, and the heated jade rollers of the Panasonic MA70. Here are the last 5 cool things you’ll see when shopping for a massage chair:
6. Foot and Calf Paddles
Most chairs utilize airbags to massage the feet and calves. Airbags are OK, as they provide a compression massage that can enhance circulation. But, most of the airbags have very little motion other than direct compression. In other words, the airbags compress directly onto the muscles without much wave-like movement to enhance returning blood flow to the heart. Human Touch then came out with “paddles” in lieu of airbags. The paddles are a stiff rubber-like material that compresses in a more firm and thorough way. It actually feels like rollers massaging your calves and feet. I had heard the term “paddles” years ago when someone at Human Touch was describing their foot and calf massage, but I didn’t really know what that meant until I visited Human Touch in November and was taken on a tour of the testing area.
Then I finally saw what the paddles really were…the firm rubber material. Now, if you’ve sat on an HT-9500x or a ZeroG 4.0, you know what I mean when I say that this technology feels like rollers. It is so much better than airbag compression, plus the paddles work in a wave-like motion to truly encourage circulation in the legs back to the heart. I absolutely love the paddle technology of the Human Touch chairs.
So, if foot and calf airbags don’t turn your crank too much, try out the Human Touch technology. I am sure you, too, will love it.
7. Anterior Shoulder Airbags
Shoulder airbags have come into massage chair vogue recently, but most of the airbags have been compressing the outside of the shoulders (where the deltoid muscles are located). This is OK and can also serve to “pin in” the user so that the rollers can seem more intense when they come up to the mid and upper back, but the massage benefit is minimal at best. Inada came out with airbags that inflate out over the front of the shoulder joints in their Doctor’s Choice 3A massage chair.
The idea behind these airbags was not to actually massage the shoulder joints but to pin the shoulders back (into a proper posture – reversing the slumping shoulders). You see, it was designed to correct the slumping posture. Very cool. Well, now we see a variation of that feature in the Osaki OS-7075R and the Infinity IT-8500. As a chiropractor, you can imagine that I love the posture correction aspect of this feature.
8. Thera-Elliptical Kneading
This was introduced by Inada in their Yume model. Whereas all other massage chairs have airbag compression (or paddle massage), the Yume has an actual kneading motion occurring on your calve muscles. It is pretty intense and very therapeutic. You see, the walls of the calf wells move up and down your calves while the airbags are doing their compression thing. The result is a feeling like someone is using their palms on your calves and massaging up and down those muscles. A great feature that we’ve not seen anywhere else.
Again, Inada innovates in their Yume model with a chair that actually produces a rocking motion. It feels like you are in a rocking chair and it is a very soothing experience. I had one client express to me, while he was sitting in the chair, that it reminded him of his grandmother rocking him as a child. It was a very cathartic, and even emotional, experience for him. Some feel a little motion sickness the first time in it, but that passes very quickly.
10. Rotating Foot and Calf Ottomans
When looking for a massage chair, many people want a chair that doesn’t look like a massage chair but can double as a normal-looking recliner. Not easy to do, especially with gaudy foot and calf massagers sticking out of the ottoman. Well, Human Touch innovated a retractable ottoman in their HT-1650 (now the HT-9500x) and now they have it in their Immersion Seating line (like the ZeroG 4.0). Panasonic’s top of the line MA70 chair has a rotating ottoman…not retracting under the seat like the Human Touch chairs, but rotating under to hide the calf and foot wells. The MA70 goes a long way to make their chair double for a recliner. It is a very well engineered and designed chair.
This feature appeases the person who wants the massage features of the ottoman, but doesn’t want the ottoman to stick out like a sore thumb when it is not in use.
Well, I hope you find these features as cool as I do. Feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions about these or any other features. I am always at your disposal.
Dr. Alan Weidner
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