Here are some great email questions with my responses. I hope this helps someone out there!
Customer Question #1
We are in the market for a chair. Which chair would be best for counteracting [my wife's] poor posture once she's home and able to use the massage chair? Specifically Dowager's hump.
My Response #1
Pretty much all massage chairs will work on the Dowager Hump (accentuated mid back spinal curve) because the thoracic spine curves INTO the roller track. As a matter of fact, I'd say I've never heard of a chair that didn't work the thoracic spine well! But, if you want to work on reversing a forward head carriage in conjunction with a Dowager Hump, the full-body stretch programs are typically better. The greater the recline of the chair back, the greater the pull on the stretch and, in my opinion, the greater the effect on reversing a slumping posture. So, that is why the Infinity Smart Chair x3 offers such a great stretch program (arguably the best stretch program in the industry). But, after having said all that, any massage chair will work on the Dowager Hump and, to some degree, the forward head carriage and slumping shoulders. An effective stretch program just accentuates the correction. Other chairs that offer good full body stretches include the Ogawa Touch 3D, the DreamWave Classic, the Luraco iRobotics 7 Plus, the Infinity IT-8500x3, and the Titan Executive, to name a few.
Customer Question #2
My new massage chair does not have any memory function which means that I have to change the settings every time I use the chair. I thought memory function was found on every chair. I was also told that L-track chairs don't have zero gravity. Is that true?
My Response #2
The memory function is not on many chairs. Most of the chinese-made chairs don't have it. I think it will become more common in the future, but for now there isn't much in that department.
Strictly speaking, zero gravity is a 30 degree tilt of the seat with an approximate 120 degree articulation between the seat and the chair back. So, in those terms, the L-tracks are not true zero gravity chairs. Having said that, the L-shape of the track comes close to a zero gravity position but the seat tilts higher and the articulation between seat and chair back is typically less than 120 degrees. The S-track chairs are not limited by the L-track configuration, so they can offer you a more true zero gravity position. Most chairs have a zero gravity option, whether it's S-track or L-track, and whether it is truly zero gravity, but by the above definition the zero gravity option is not exact. The J-track chairs, i.e. Infinity Presidential and Infinity Overture, have a different L-track configuration that is perhaps more closely configured to a true zero gravity position.
Also, the S-track allows for a far better stretch program than any L-track or J-track can offer. So, there is a trade-off. You can have true zero gravity positioning and an excellent stretch program of the S-track chairs or have the butt rollers of the L-track without the benefit of an optimal stretch or a true zero gravity positioning.
Customer Question #3
I broke my L4 into 3 pieces years ago and am now suffer with degenerative discs and sciatic problems. Would an L track be better than one that lays down 180 degrees? Which would give the most stretch?
My Response #3
Any chair will massage the L4 area. The L-track will reach beyond that and massage the sacrum area as well as the glutes and piriformis muscles, but that won't have a lot to do with your L4 area. The stretch program of some S-track chairs may feel wonderful for you, but the stretch of an L-track chair is typically weaker and may leave you wanting.
So, for your situation, a regular S-track or an L-track would be fine for massaging the L4 area, but the stretch program would be superior on an S-track, which I think you will more fully appreciate (see My Response #1 above for S-track chairs with good stretch programs).
Dr. Alan Weidner
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