Foot & Calf Massage – The Options!

Foot and calf massagers can be found on pretty much every massage chair nowadays. The most typical type of foot and calf massager is the open calf wells…the very thing that makes a massage chair look like a massage chair. But you can also find chairs that have just calf wells or have a flat ottoman-like surface with airbags underneath, designed to NOT look like a typical massage chair. Yet other chairs have a retractable ottoman or rotating ottoman to completely obscure the calf and feet wells. It’s all about aesthetics for these types of chairs.

But, it is the massaging mechanism in the foot and calf massaging ottoman that I want to talk about today. What is it in the massager that facilitates the massage of the feet and calves. Here is a list of the different types of foot and calf massaging mechanisms found in massage chairs today:

1. Airbags

Foot Airbags
Foot Airbags

Most chairs have a series of airbags, with separate air cells inside each airbag, along both sides of the calves and feet. You will find airbags that envelope the calves and feet, but you will also find airbags on some chairs that inflate from under the soles, pushing a rubber plate laden with nodules into the bottom of the feet to give a “reflexology” effect to the therapy. The airbag intensity can be adjusted from the remote control to accommodate the different sensitivities of each individual user.

2. Paddles

Human Touch has patented a “paddle” model for their massage chairs instead of airbags. The paddles are rubber molds shaped to fit the feet and the calves which move in a wavelike pattern to massage the legs and feet.  It is a fantastic massage; much better than the airbags, in my honest opinion.

Some of the Human Touch chairs use the paddles on both sides of the feet and calves, while other models use them only on one side. Either way provides an awesome massage experience for the user.

3. Mechanical Foot Rollers

Foot Rollers
Foot Rollers

All the rage nowadays is the use of mechanical foot rollers under the soles of the feet. Chairs can employ 1, 2, or 3 rollers and the experience for most folks is great. One can get a little tired of the rollers after a few minutes as the feet can get irritated by the incessant motion of the rollers in one spot. But, most people ask for foot rollers and love the idea of having the bottom of their feet massaged this way. At this point of the technology development, you cannot adjust the intensity of the foot roller massage, but you can put small pads or wash cloths under your feet if the rollers are too intense.

Well, there you have it! A discussion on the topic of foot and calf massage in massage chairs. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to add them in our comment section below this post.

Dr. Alan Weidner